Tramp 1241: Five Summits trail, Pukekohe, Sept 11

Written by Adrienne. Photos by Karin

Participants: Adrienne, Chris B, Kathy T, Kathy O, Carl, Christine, Bill, Karin, Yvonne, Sue, Jane P

Nine of us travelled on the easy drive up to Pukekohe meeting Sue and Jane P at Pukekohe Hill Reserve (summit 1) where we admired the views overlooking the cityscape. From here we drove to Rosa Birch Park to start our walk.

We meandered via the outskirts of town to Belmont Rise (Summit 2) which was a bit of a let down in that there were no views; all there was, was a dead-end street with a sign telling of an old mansion which was nowhere to be seen. We found out later from a couple of young girls that that area is what the locals call “the dark side”. Apparently there have been murders there in the past.

Retracing our steps for a while, we continued on through a new subdivision admiring some of the new style housing until we entered a small gully system and followed alongside a stream. We stopped beside it for morning tea on its banks. From here the trail was marked with the occasional distinctive orange DoC markers although the trail is not a DoC trail. It is a trail put together by the Pukekohe tramping club to celebrate 50 years of their existence. It loosely joins many of the parks and reserves in the town.

We exited the gully onto a busy main road which we crossed and joined a couple of reserves and headed upwards to the top of Cape Hill (Summit 3). From here there was a great view overlooking rugby grounds, the huge Possum Bourne retirement village and in the distance, the Pukekohe racetrack.

As we descended from here we walked past the retirement village following a manmade stream. Then some more residential houses this time a bit older but not the oldest, perhaps the 80’s. It was interesting passing through the different stages of the town’s development and noting the different housing styles.

We continued walking in this area, all the while heading steadily uphill till we reached the top of ‘The Rock’ (summit 4), a lovely grassed area with views to the south and more subdivisions being developed. Here we had lunch. It was a bit windy but the breeze was appreciated as the day was warming up somewhat.

Down again and through more newish residential housing till we got out to the main road into Pukekohe and an older part of town. We headed up into the only bush area of the walk, Rooseville Park. The old established native trees, mainly totara, on the top (summit 5) were well received. However, we had soon walked through them, down again, back into town and the railway station. From here it was just a short walk back to the car via a dairy where we stopped for ice creams.

It was a lovely warm day with the sights of Pukekohe having been enjoyed by many. It was a good opportunity to see the insides of a town that many of us simply just pass by.

TRAMP 1239 Pirongia Old Hiwikiwi to Schofields Track, Aug 20-21st 2022 Anna

Written by Erica Lourie

Participants: Anna L, Michael v D, Cate H, Carl R, Ying S, Jane P & Erica L

Teenaa taatou! Ko Erica ahau. I recently joined Anna's Pirongia trip - my first tramp with HTC. It was a doozy! Beautiful, varied terrain, lots of rain and mud, some climbing and crawling. It was well organised and led and I was grateful to be able to just show up and enjoy the walk. The company was excellent! A big mihi to Anna and Michiel for their hard work, to Lorna for dropping us off, and to the whole crew for the chats, laughs, and for the support and encouragement. 10/10 Highly recommended.

Trip No. 1229

written by Kevin C & Kathy

Name of Tramp: The Pouakai Tarns, Mt Taranaki

Date: Friday 27 – Sunday 29 May 2022

Participants: Kathy O, Carl R (& Little T), Kevin C, Christine L, Keren D, Yvonne O, Adrienne VH, Cate H, Janice E, Lynne I.

Option A: Pouakai Tarns via Mangorei Road

Option B: Pouakai Crossing via The Camphouse, North Egmont to Mangorei Road.

Option A: Pouakai Tarns via Mangorei Road

 

There were as noted above, 10 keen trampers for this weekend on Mt Taranaki. With a few withdrawals and some latter additions, we had a good number for the advertised trip. There were other options offered, one of which Lynne decided to enjoy a relaxing day, doing day walks around The Camphouse. The weather offered us a variety of options, and after a bit of tallying and froing, it was myself, Carl, Keren, Yvonne and Christine that decided to do the Pouakai Tarns, and Adrienne, Janice and Cate to do the Pouakai Crossing (with the estimate of an 8-9 hour tramp, they decided to set off early). I was of the same opinion to set off at 7 am also, with the drive around to Mangorei Trailhead carpark, to take 30 minutes. As it was, we set off closer to 8 am.

I had estimated it to take our group 3-4 hours to get to Pouakai Hut (the DOC sign post estimate was 2.5 hours), and actually it took us 2 hours of steady walking (I think we had some pacesetters in front of us!). After a wee pitstop at Pouakai Hut, it was another 20-30 minutes to the Tarns, with some stunning views of Mt

 

Taranaki in front of us.

With time on our side and the aim to get the best photo shots, we tried a variety of poses. Carl did little to impress us with his world wrestler naked arms pose, but at the end, redeemed himself, by a well-timed jump shot with Yvonne O. And so, the ‘jump shot pose’ has been born....

Again, with time on our side, we had the options of doing Henry’s Peak, Pouakai Trig, or Pouakai Peak. Pouakai Peak looked the less strenuous option so I voted for that, and so off we went. It took only maybe 30 minutes to get to the peak from Pouakai Hut, and there were clear views (a “10/10”), for a few seconds, before cloud cover just appeared and managed to blur our views, of the coast and New Plymouth anyways. We set off back down, and not far from the main track, I looked over and saw 3 ladies walking down towards the Hut and guessed correctly that it was Adrienne, Cate and Janice! We called out and they waved back. We did not want to go back up to the hut, so set off for the car, we had driven two cars over to Mangorei Road that morning and would return one car and leave the car for the Pouakai-Crossers.

 

We have to mention the accommodation, The Camphouse – though I thought I had given good information in the preparation email – the feedback for future club trips is, that – “The Camphouse was very cold! Definitely ensure adequate sleeping gear is brought for the trip”. And also, we had the pleasure of sharing The Camphouse with 8 students and 2 teachers from Waiuku High School doing training for their Duke of Edinburgh medals. However, the feedback from them was that we were noisy on Friday night!

On Saturday night, there were options to stay back at The Camphouse and have dinner and snacks there or go out to dinner – Adrienne had done some research and found that ‘Simply Divine’ in the Egmont Village looked favourable – and from those that did go (about half went, half stayed back), all said they had a lovely meal and dessert.

 

We were supposed to decide on the Sunday’s plan the night before, but as plans go, we had none initially, other than maybe not getting up too early, having breakfast, cleaning up and visiting the North Egmont Visitors Centre, doing a 2 hour walk somewhere and then setting off home. And this is pretty much what we did, though the 2-hour walk was not on the mountain, but a 20 minute drive away. Lake Mangamahoe - this turned out to be a delightful walk around a dammed lake. There were beautiful views of Mt Taranaki and with the array of autumn-coloured trees, it provided spectacular calendar worthy pictures. Again, we tried some more ‘jump shot poses’!

 

An appetite had been worked up, so we stopped at Urenui at the Old Town Hall for ‘scones and tea’ pronounced with a very posh English voice! We learnt the difference between cream and clotted cream, and were impressed with the work that goes into making this clotted cream. However, we did quietly wonder whether it was from a mascarpone packet?

Anyways, thanks for the delightful company this weekend, I made some new buddies, got rid of 0.5 kilo on Saturday, and then gained it back on Sunday, the weather was fab, Mount Taranaki absolutely eye-catchingly beautiful!

 

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MOERANGI Circuit, WHIRINAKI, 4-6 June

Written by AVH, photos Kathy

Our wee group of four, Jane P, Kathy, Cate and Adrienne departed Hamilton nice and early on a very cold morning arriving at Te Whaiti just before lunch. From here we were shuttled to Okahu Road end, the start of our tramp. It was a short 7km walk into Skips hut, the first ever hut built in the Whirinaki which has beautiful views and set amongst podocarp and beech forest. We gathered firewood (to replace the dry stuff nicely laid out by previous trampers), lit the fire and had a cosy and peaceful night in.

 

Up the next morning, again a cold one, we set off for morning tea at Rogers hut (5km) which is right by the Moerangi Stream, and the intersection with the Moerangi Mountain Bike Track. Rogers was built for deer cullers in 1952, and is one of only three remaining slab-beech huts in the Urewera Range. It has been extensively weatherproofed but kept its old character, including the stained-glass window.

 

It was on this track that Jane, having worked in this field of conservation before, could not resist checking the stoat/rat boxes. Well, her efforts were well rewarded, nearly all the boxes had at least one well decomposed rat in them. Knowing exactly what she was doing, she removed the often-smelly carcasses and reset them hoping the traps would catch another rat or two before the [real] trap attendant came along. She notified DoC of her efforts.

After a nice rest at Rogers Hut, we turned onto the Moerangi Mountain Bike Track heading for the Moerangi Hut. The 9km walk to Moerangi Hut (9 bunks) was truly undulating with an overall ascent to approximately 900m. It was mostly high up beside the Stream. The rat box clearing work continued for most of the way on this track and finished a few km from the hut where we arrived late afternoon just as the day was starting to cool down. The hut was not particularly clean or tidy due to the previous night’s twelve occupants, six of whom were just leaving. We spent some time cleaning up and gathering wood again while hardy Jane pitched her tent. More people arrived and we ended up sharing a warm cosy hut with five others.

 

In the morning (cold again) we left nice and early for our approximately 13km walk out. The track was again undulating but overall was downhill to River Road.

Being a long weekend, we were expecting mountain bikers galore, but we met not one. We decided the track must be just too rough for them. But no, on our way out our driver explained how busy he had been in the summer time shuttling mostly, mountain bikers. I guess we just got lucky.

NOTE: As of 16 June 2022, this track, Skips Hut (Whangatawhia) to Rogers Hut (Te Wairoa) and the Moerangi mountain bike track is now closed. Floods have damaged the bridge at Rogers Hut (an extreme risk).

TRAMP 1229: POUAKAI CROSSING, TARANAKI, 28 May AVH

 

The PouńĀkai Crossing is an 18.4km, seven to nine hour day walk. So, the three of us, Janice, Cate and myself got up nice and early to set off at 7am. It was below zero degrees so we were totally geared up.

Starting at the Camphouse, we walked upwards following the signs to the Holly Hut on a frozen and icy track with treacherously slippery steps. The track continued steadily up through montane forest and subalpine scrub. We passed under the huge lava columns of the Dieffenbach Cliffs and crossed the long Boomerang Slip. By this time, we had stripped off several layers before heading steadily down on board walk type steps (still iced over) till we reached the junction of the Ahukawakawa Track. Then it was a long 5 minutes to the Holly Hut where we basked in the sun for morning tea.

Returning to the Ahukawakawa Track, we followed more boardwalk (nice and flat) across the Ahukawakawa Swamp till we reached a curved wooden bridge over the Stony/Hangatahua Stream marking the end of the wetland area.

 

Then began the steep climb through mountain cedar on more board walk type steps (also still frozen over), with sections still under construction, till we reached the top of the ridge and the junction of the Pouakai Track. We wandered on a little further past the hut junction till we spotted the Pouakai Tarn. We didn’t dilly dally there as we had all been there before and there was a rather chilly wind up there, so we doubled back to the Pouakai hut for a leisurely lunch on the deck. Opposite us, we spotted our other group coming down from the Trig.

 

Lunch enjoyed, we started on the next section which was a very long never-ending descent to the Mangorei Road end. It meandered down through cool forest which is locally known as an enchanted ‘Goblin forest’ containing lots of twisted kamahi trees. After finally reaching the end of the rather tedious steps (all the way down) we exited the forest but still had a couple of km’s to go on the road before reaching the true end of our day - the carpark where Carl and Kathy had left my car (with its key in a secret hiding place). We had had a long day – expecting 9hrs but we were happy to have done it in less and still smiling.