Waiopehu Hut, Tararua FP, Wednesday and Thursday 20/21 February 2019We took two cars and drove to the Poads Road car park, off Gladstone Road, behind Levin. The weather was still and overcast. The car park has a very narrow bridge leading to it. If I hadn’t read about it beforehand, I could have mistaken it as a walking bridge .
Initially, the path was across a small farm and then a steady 800-metre climb through beautiful mossy bush. There was some mud, but not too much. We reached the hut by 4.30pm (some of us had gone ahead to put the kettle on).
The hut does not have a fire so would be very cold in winter; however, it held the warmth of early autumn. Everyone had their own cookers and produced all sorts of delicacies. Another tramper had crossed over from the Masterton side of the Tararuas, and he reported that some of the track was challenging.
The views the next morning were awesome. We could see down to Levin and across the ranges.We all agreed to do the circuit, and so passed Ralph Wood’s grave. Ralph and his friends hit bad weather in 1936 and were so frightened by the gale outside their hut, they decided to evacuate and try to return to Palmerston North. He died from hypothermia on the journey out. We continued down Gable End Ridge. I highly recommend the circuit, because Gable End Ridge has some great views. It is now on the Te Araroa track, and we met one tramper. We dropped down to the Ohau River and followed the track out. This track doesn’t drop down to the river but follows the ridge around on a narrow, but not scary, ledge.
Overall this tramp was a bit of a grunt up to the hut, followed by an easy walk out.
Trampers: Gordon Tapp, Bruce Hodgson, Marie Devoles, Lynette Morgan, Mark Jenkins, Simon Hill and reporter Hilary Heath-Caldwell