Middle Hill Hut, Whetu – changed to: Te Puia Lodge, Kawekas, March 26 2011
Trampers to Te Puia via the Mohaka River Track: Paul Exeter, Ted Angove, Geoff Donkin, Marc Marchal, John Marshall and reporter Sue Martin
It rained and was blowing all the way out to the Kawekas, so it didn’t look promising for our tramp to Whetu. So we decided to have a leisurely trip to Te Puia and return. This was ideal for me as I haven’t tramped for more than three months (and I believe the others all had very good excuses too!). As we pulled up in the ‘blue gums’ car park, two vans full of school kids from Taupo arrived, heading the same way. We played cat and mouse with them most of the way and often could hear them before sighting them. I have been on that route many times but learnt two new useful things this time. 1) The Terrace Bivvy, which is ideally positioned and showed signs of recent inhabitants as there were still eggs in the carton and 2) The Arches – a natural caved arch which is upstream about five minutes from the small wooden footbridge, a place where one can access water. Many of the students desperately needed some, so our Ted was able to direct them to this spot.
The Mohaka River had flooded onto the track in many places and often we were walking in thick silt. The river still looked as clear and spectacular as it always does but we didn’t spot any trout. Although the rain didn’t come to much it was a nuisance because it was very muggy inside our parkas.
When we arrived at the hut, Malcolm (a Wellington hunter who has been almost everywhere in the New Zealand bush) enjoyed chatting with us for several hours. When the school kids arrived, they busied themselves setting up. After morning tea, lunch, chats and visits to the brand new board walk, 50 metres from the hut (and sighting the new bridge to the hot pools), we decided it was time to head back. Just as we were leaving, the other very wet group arrived from Makino.
An easy, relaxing tramp doesn’t hurt us from time to time. Yes, and it’s great to be back in the bush with friends.
Trampers to Te Puia via Makino Ridge; Matt Green, Simon Hill, Jenny Burns, and reporter Alison Greer
Four hardy trampers decided to have a longer day than the rest and exited the van at the Makino Hut car park. It was a steady climb in good conditions, even though the rain coat was “on again, off again” and we reached the turn-off in good time.
The low cloud cover lifted, giving us a quick view of the Makino and Mohaka rivers as we descended carefully over the wet clay pans. As it was only 11.30 and not raining, when we arrived at the new bridge over the Makino River, lunch at the hot springs sounded nice. Hmm, no such luck! The predicted rain arrived, so it was back to Te Puia lodge where the rest of group was just leaving.
A quick lunch, then the pleasant walk along the river, being amazed by the evidence of floods in January. We arrived at the Gums car park, changed and headed home.