Te Puia, Kaweka FP, Wednesday 21 October 2020. Map: BJ37
Banner photo: Just off the track is a private ‘Mohaka Hilton’
We had two vanloads, 24 trampers and perfect weather for hiking to the Te Puia Lodge, a well-advertised and popular walk in the Kaweka Ranges. As we travelled inland, green farmland greeted us, dotted with cows and small calves, sheep and later lambs and two flocks of turkeys. Many rabbits (and their burrows) were looking like a problem.
It takes one and three quarter hours to reach the end of Makahu Road, firstly through Patoka then Puketitiri. Thank you to our careful van drivers; the dirt road was narrow and we had to navigate many potholes. Luckily, it had not been raining. The ford crossing went well as did a couple of narrow bridge crossings.We dropped eight off at the Makino Hut track to walk the loop, meeting the rest of us at Te Puia Lodge.
It was good to see the Te Puia track had many pest traps set and the birdlife was nice to hear – piwakawaka, kereru and tui. The large yellow kowhai and white climbing native clematis flowers were great to see. The Mohaka River was slightly higher but the water was clear, in waterfalls and side streams too. Pumice pieces gathered to the quieter sides of the river.The walk was mostly a pleasant river stroll with many NZ Red Admiral butterflies about and the sound of the river, but it was not without some effort involved to reach our destination. There were 55 well-made wooden steps at one stage along the river path, as well as rock faces to skirt around above the river. A school group from Hastings Boys had stayed the night in tents at the hut and we passed them returning as we walked in along the river. They stopped for one cooling off dip as we called a morning tea stop.
Summer tramping has begun; it was hot so we were in tee shirts and bothered by sandflies. A fisherman at the hut had eaten trout for dinner the night before and had spoken of seeing a kayaker passing by.One keen tramper pushed on from Te Puia Lodge to the Mangatainoka Hot Springs and back – an extra three quarters of an hour each way. These pools have been recently renovated and a soak there was enjoyed.
We all headed back to the car park at the end of Makahu Road, after a very enjoyable six hours tramping.
Trampers: Alison Greer, Lynette Morgan, Kelvin Shaw, Denise Bavidge, Sue Martin, Marie Deroles, Ted Angove, Viv Bramley, Tony Pluymers, John Bennett, Murray White, Margaret Palmer, Jenny Burns, Kate Fuller, Dorothy Sole, Bruce Hodgson, Sue Gribble, Cherie Le Lievre, Gordon Tapp, Keith James, Murray Goss, Amber Cooper, Vic Bullock and reporter Gaye Gasser