Makino Hut, Kaweka FP, Sat/Sun 29-30 June 2019. Map: BJ37
Banner Pix: The view from Te Puia Lodge of the Mohaka River
An intense winter high had brought cold, frosty, settled weather to the majority of New Zealand, Hawke’s Bay included. Six hardy trampers braved the chilly morning, carefully driving the icy Puketitiri Road and arriving at Middle Hill car park where the car temperature read –5 degrees.Our destination was Makino Hut for the night, a cosy six-bunker about two and a half hours along Makino Ridge. Our party split up, four using the Middle Hill route to attack the dreaded Three Gorges which connects Middle Hill to the Makino track. Jenny and Brian drove on down to the Gums car park, walked into Te Puia then up the 700 metre climb to Makino. Juliet, the two Fionas and I set out through a winter wonderland of heavy frost, beautiful but cold. Unfortunately, Fiona B slipped and twisted a knee and decided to turn back and come up the shorter Makino Ridge track. Juliet kindly accompanied her but on their arrival back at the car park met a local couple whose car had a flat battery and were waiting for help to come. They kindly offered to give Fiona a ride back to Napier.
Makino Hut now became a three-pronged attack with Juliet coming up the ridge track alone, while Fiona C and I were left to tackle the Three Gorges. We made good time as it wasn’t a day to stop and linger; there was a cold breeze on the top ridges then frost in the valleys, quite weird! Amazingly, we met Juliet at the Makino turn-off and all arrived at the hut within five minutes of each other.
Jenny and Brian had arrived at Te Puia to find the hut in the shade (as it is in mid-winter), freezing cold with very heavy frost all around. They also spotted the blue ducks that have made this stretch of water their home.
We spent a short time collecting and sawing firewood, Brian got the fire going and we settled in for the remainder of the afternoon.
Night comes early in mid-winter, and after exhausting all topics of conversation, each retreated to their bunk.But wait! What’s that? Voices and torchlight; oh no, people. How many would there be?
Enter Henry and Gabriel, two young blokes who had decided late to come out for the night. They were pretty surprised to see us too! Henry was fairly tired and it wasn’t long before he hopped into bed and promptly fell asleep, while Gabriel kept us entertained for at least another hour with his constant chatter and the cooking of his dinner.
After an otherwise uneventful night, we woke to a morning not quite as cold as Saturday had been, had breakfast and packed up. We left the boys to tidy the hut and after a group photoshot, departed round 8.30am. A straightforward trip back along Makino Ridge arriving at the car park round 10.30am. After de-icing the car windscreen, I drove Juliet down to the Gums to retrieve her car, also very iced over. We returned to the sunny car park where the others were having a brew, and then it was back along the icy road to Napier, arriving home just after midday.
Makino Hut makes an enjoyable winter destination, with options as to how to get there and a good pot belly fire.
Trampers: Juliet Gillick, Jenny Burns, Fiona Chiverell, Brian Hight, Fiona Bryant and reporter Alison Greer