Te Iringa, Kaipo Junction, Oamaru Hut, Poronui Station, Saturday November 7, 2015
We started from the Clements Mill Road, Te Iringa Track car park and headed into the bush at around 9:30am. Our first small stream crossing was followed by a gradual but short uphill to the ridge line (330m). From the ridge out west, we could see Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe, both covered in snow.
We all caught up at the old Te Iringa Hut site for the morning tea stop. A tent was pitched there, but no-one was about. We suspected that the occupants were hunters and would not be too far away.
The track then climbs another 60m and we were as close to Te Iringa we were going to get, among many huge old native beech trees and mountain cabbage trees. The Kaweka Ranges, also with a recent covering of snow, could also be seen directly south.The track descends down to Tikitiki Stream and we took a few minutes to find the route on the opposite side. A small scramble up the river bank using the rope, and then the track continues on along but above the stream until the swing bridge is reached. We lunched on the other side, enjoying the dappled shade of big beech trees.
From the swing bridge, the track south to Oamaru Hut follows the Kaipo River with an occassional sidle above it. We regrouped just 20 minutes from the hut, alongside the river. The track soon left the river, crossing the tussock river flat before reaching Oamaru Hut. It sits on a small shelf overlooking the confluence of the Kaipo. Mohaka and Oamaru Rivers.
This hut has had a makeover by a deerstalkers group which is maintaining it on behalf of DoC. Gossy had a swim in the Oamaru River, while we enjoyed a rest on the verandah. Not much rest, though, as we still had a long way to go, but some of us could not pass up the inviting river and had to have a cool-down dip too. Boots and all.Before we went far, Geoff received some treatment to his ankle from nurse Amy. He had accidentally rolled earlier on the day’s tramp. Bandaged up, and after taking some painkillers, he was able to hobble in a bit more comfort.
The track which joins Poronui Access Route has been re-routed and we reached the start of the station track at 4 pm.
The gum trees which used to line the farmway have been harvested, with heavy machinery still about. But it is a long way out, and a boring trudge along this access road. We had passed the lodge, and were on the bottom end of Taharua Road, when a ute went by. We begged for a lift and the driver quickly agreed. We turned back to go and pick up the boys, who were pleased to accept the offer.
So we covered the last few kms in some style, reaching the Poronui Gate at 6 pm. We estimated that it would have been 6.30 at least if we had not received the ride.
Relieved that we had returned, Sue and Denise (who had driven the van from Clements Mill Road to the Poronui Gate) were pleased to see us.
Trampers: Denise Payne and Sue Marshall (kindly moved the van for us) after walking in as far as Te Iringa hutsite; Amy Hutchinson, Alison Greer, John Dobbs, Simon Hill, Juliet Gillick, Geoff Donkin, Jude Paton, Rachael Cowie, Murray Goss and reporter Julia Mackie