Mangamate Hut, Whirinaki FP, Sat/Sun 23/24 March 2019
Banner Pix: The weekenders before leaving Mangamate Hut
Nine trampers in two vehicles left SH5 for an hour’s drive to the Plateau car park over a very bumpy, pot-holed shingle road – not designed for cars. At 9.30, we headed off along the uphill track leading to Upper Whirinaki Hut. Everyone found the bush lawyer, onga onga, sharp branches and persistent wasps a thorough nuisance.
We made the hut in good time for a breather and morning tea. It was here that Julia related the saga of her earring, lost when she visited the hut many years ago. Ever since then she had been asking trampers to look out for it when they were at this hut, with no result. But amazingly, there it was, hanging on a nail above the door – and Julia had even brought the matching priceless pearl to be sure!
The next stage was walking through and alongside small shallow streams, deep muddy patches, through bush with lots of overhanging branches – ones to avoid. Soon we arrived at the junction for Central and Mangamate huts.
This is where Gordon met us, as he’d chosen the Central Whirinaki route via the cave turn-off. He’d already had lunch, so he carried on. Here, we ate and had a well-earned rest. The tramp continued through more streams, mud and bush, meeting more wasps and bush lawyer. Alison kept telling us that soon we would be leaving the stream. That “soon” seemed to take some time! Throughout the tramp, “soon” became the most frequently used word.
Finally the sign pointed us in the direction, advising 25 minutes to the hut. We all knew that there was an uphill track which just kept going uphill!Everyone arrived at Magamate Hut at their own pace, ranging from five to six hours. There were two very nice young trampers from Tauranga staying for the night. Four people erected tents and we all sat outside sharing stories and nibbles. Marie suddenly realised she had lost her hut shoe off her pack (blame a sharp branch sticking out). Thank goodness there was a spare at the hut, even if it wasn’t for the matching foot! She managed.
It didn’t take long for the dark clouds to arrive and rain to fall, so we all decided it was time for dinner. At 7.30pm with the rain pelting down, there was nothing else to do but go to bed. It rained all night but everyone in tents survived and were dry inside.Departure time was 8.30am in slight drizzle which didn’t come to much at all. Back through streams and mud but few wasps, we assume because of the dampness. Although it didn’t rain, it was humid. A quick bite to eat at the junction and then we chose Gordon’s route to return.
Once back at the car park, we all talked about about the long, unrelenting slog uphill that awaits towards the end of this Central Whirinaki track. After changing and refreshing ourselves, we left for the journey home at 3pm. For some of the group, it had been a very long time since they had tramped to this hut and for the rest of the group, it was their first time. And it was well worth it.
Trampers: Alison Greer, Fiona Bryant, Marie Desroles, Gordon Tapp, Julia Mackie, Sue Martin, Lynette Morgan, Mark Jenkins, and reporter Simon Hill.