Rangiwahia Hut, Ruahine Forest Park, 26-27 August 2017. Map: BL36
Rangi Hut sits on the edge of a gently sloping tussock ridge, giving those who take the two-hour tramp fabulous views over the western side of the lower North Island. It’s a very popular hut, due to the easy nature of the track and only a couple of hours drive from Palmerston North.
For us, it was a bit over three hours driving, over the Saddle Road, through Kimbolton and Apiti, onto Renfrew Rd and finally through farm gates to the well-established car park. There are two levels of parking; the top layer had at least 12 cars and the bottom had four plus our three vehicles.
Were they full of weekend trampers or just day walkers?After a little discussion, Julia went off up the Deadmans track, an alternative longer route to the hut, while the rest took the main route to check out the bunk situation. It’s a well-maintained track, climbing and zigzagging up past an old slip, over a beautiful oriental curved bridge, one of a few in the country. The last steepest climb onto the ridge now has many steps but it’s not long before you emerge onto the flat tussock ridge – and there is the hut.
There were lots of people round having lunch and enjoying the sunshine and views, and we soon discovered that only two hunters were staying overnight; the rest were day trippers. Hooray, all 11 of us would have a bed!
After lunch, four set off up the wide tussock ridge to the signpost on the tops, to take in the views. Mts Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe seemed to be so close and, looking East, the craggy snow-covered top of Te Hekenga, across to Otumore and the Ngamoko Range, Tunupo and all the way south as far as the eye could see.We had a pleasant evening, the new log fire keeping everyone warm and cosy.
Up early next morning, another glorious day although a little more breeze than the day before. Five left the hut early, tramping the Deadmans track in reverse to what Julia had done, retracing our steps back up to the tops and over the high point Mangahuia 1583m. The wind was cold, so hasty photos were taken; another quick look around then down into the relative warmth of the bush, a quick snack, then steeply down, arriving at the car park not long after the remainder of the party came down the main track.
A very enjoyable weekend with great weather and good company.Julia’s tramp report: The Deadmans track is a great loop track to Rangiwahia Hut. In need of a good work-out (tramping is the easy way to get tramp fit), I headed up to the high point Mangahuia and then gazed across to the next high point, and the snow on Te Hekenga. On reaching the junction which has the new DoC signs (I miss the old wooden signs which you could sit on), it was time to take a 15-minute lunch break. A great place to enjoy the views. I was joined by a group of day trippers who asked about the track around, and decided to tramp it.
Downhill from here, and I reached the hut walking the track in four hours. A very warm hut due to the wood burner being lit, and lots of us staying the night. Every bunk was used that night. I can understand why a booking system would be required during the summer months.
The return journey, back up to the junction and then the high point, was also pleasant in clear but cool weather. A stop to check out the Ngamoko Range and high points using map and compass. The walk through the mountain cedar is especially enjoyable. Met Janet Wilson and her husband, clearing the traps on the loop, with a good haul of stoats and rats.
Back to the car park in 3hrs 15 mins. A great weekend.
Trampers: Dorothy Sole, Ted Angove, Paul Exeter, Tony Pluymers, Bruce Hodgson, Marie Deroles, Juliet Gillick, Sue Marshall, Geoff Donkin and reporters Alison Greer and Julia Mackie