Kumeti Roadend to Kiritaki Hut, and Fairbrother Roadend
Saturday/Sunday 16/17 July 2011
Map: BM35 Woodville
Sue and I have not been to Kiritaki Hut before, so let’s go. However, 15 minutes in Mangapuaka Stream got my boots and feet wet. At 9.15am, we were at the start of the ridge track to climb to the turn-off to Kiritaki Hut which turns south, just below Matanginui. I disturbed a deer on the way up, and saw plenty of deer sign on the track. The bush looks like a great place to hide for deer. It has been one of the coldest mornings so far this year, but the sky looks blue and clear. There are only small amounts of snowflakes near the tops. The leatherwood icicles reflect the way my feet are feeling.
At the turn-off, we get fantastic views of Mts Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe, but there is a cold wind blowing; so after a photo stop, we move on out of the wind and have an early lunch break.
A short while down the track, we get the first glimpse of Kiritaki Hut on an opposite ridge. We have a steep, greasy downhill and extra care is required. We finally reach Oruakeretaki Stream, and clamber down it for 500m before we see the sign for the track to go up to the hut. The track here is very slippery and steep. Holding onto grass, I clambered up. No stopping until I get to the hut. I did not notice the track going off to the right, which Ted spotted. He checked it out, and found that we could have avoided some of our stream travel and the gnarly bit of the track at the bottom. We will remember that next time.
On reaching the hut, I had a chat with two hunters who were doing a recce. They had come up Oruakeretaki Stream and were impressed with the hunting options in the area. Once they had departed, the billy went on and I checked out the hut with a more critical eye.
It needs some attention quickly, as the novalight roof has holes in both sheets, and the water on the floor and damp in the hut was not good. The bench tops and walls were also in a dirty and sorry state. Yuk. Covering the bench top with newspaper and giving the walls a wipe dealt with some of the visible issues. The hut is in a lovely spot, and the grass area is a good place to sit in the summer, I’m told. The club has come through on day trips in summer; however, we are now basking in winter sunshine.
A hot cuppa is called for before Ted and I collect firewood, although there is not much that is dry around. He has carried in some redwood kindling. A great idea, and well worth it.
I check out the track above the hut, and from afar the ridge track that the Manawatu Tramping and Ski Club members have hacked. It is not a marked track, and care is needed when navigating this track, we are advised. It would be the one way of getting here without getting boots wet. The afternoon and evening pass and we are in bed by 7pm.
The next morning, we decide to walk out via the Oruakeretaki Stream, taking the hunters’ track from the hut. This will cut out a small amount of stream travel. We reach the stream, and negotiate some tricky bits downstream. At one point, there is a rope which provides assistance. The stream is very pretty, but I do not spot any of the trout which the hunters had mentioned the previous day. They are swimming upstream to spawn and were a good size, too. We also pass a recently shot deer carcass. The stream has a steep gradient, and there are lots of little waterfalls. We only had our raincoats on for a brief passing shower.
Gradually the valley floor widens and the last ridges before we reach farmland are visible. We reach the end of the track, and Ted’s positive thoughts bear fruit. The farmer is getting some firewood onto his ute and after a brief chat he offers us a lift back to our car. Well done, Ted.
We finish the tramp elated, after seeing some wonderful views and bush and stream vegetation.
Trampers: Ted Angove, Sue Martin and Julia Mackie