Makino Hut via Middle Hill Hut and Camp Spur. Kaweka FP, Saturday/Sunday 28/29 July 2018
Banner Photo: The Ranges from the Middle Hill track.
As organiser for the day and weekend tramps, I had been keeping an eye on the weather and changed the tramps to the Kaweka Ranges. Gale force winds were forecast for the Dannevirke area, and two days of rain.
Only Simon Hill and I were up for a tramp into Makino Hut. It was initially intended to be Ballard Hut, but after discussion on the drive into the forest park, we agreed that Makino Hut via Camp Spur would be a good idea.We left the Middle Hill car park at 8.20am, and were soon on our way up the hill beyond the bridge, when I was gobsmacked to see a black cat approaching. We both froze, but before I could get my camera out, it fled. Not good news for all the kiwis in the forest park. The sighting has been reported to DoC and members of the Save our Kiwi group who are trapping and monitoring kiwi in the FP.
Simon and I made Middle Hill in good time, and after the day tramp group arrived, we headed off. It is about 30 minutes to the turn-off, and then an hour up to the bushline edge. A quick pre-lunch, and then we continued up to the tops.
A strong wind was blowing from the north-west so, after photos and a breather, we headed off down the Makino track and across the broad tops. The track then requires a few scree sidles and then Colin’s Bluff which is a small scramble down, and we are back on broad ridges again. We had decided to have our second lunch break just before entering the bush again for the final leg to the hut.If you lie flat on the ground, my theory is that the wind goes overhead. The sun was just warm enough. We had good views across to the Kaimanawa Ranges, but could not see Ruapehu.
From the bushline, the track descends gently to the Mangaturutu turn-off (1hour) and then on to Makino Hut (45mins). There are some lovely big trees still standing along this track.
We found that we had the hut to ourselves. After getting some more firewood from the surrounding bush which took a battering last August in a snow storm, we settled in and enjoyed the afternoon sun through the back window. As usual, the hut is kept very tidy.A kiwi was heard during the night, near the hut, while the wind blew up a storm.
We did not have far to walk out on Sunday morning, so a lie-in was perfectly acceptable.
The track was cleared after the August 2017 storm (our thanks to Kaiapoi and crew for a great job). The kanuka trees which were lopped of their canopy are a strange sight.Back to the roadside in 1hr 50 mins, and then a walk to our vehicle. We followed this with a treat of a dip in the Mangatutu hot pools. The misty rain became increasingly heavier as we were heading for home.
A great winter walk, and a fabulous cosy hut in the Kaweka Ranges.
Trampers: Simon Hill and reporter and photos Julia Mackie