Written by Sue Smart



The weekend of 18/19 August did not have a great weather forecast, but who can resist an overnight trip to Taranaki?

As usual a merry band of trampers enjoyed the pre tramp road trip with coffee and lunch stops and a lot of discussion about the varying weather forecasts before reaching the Dawson Falls Visitors Centre.

At this point in the day the rain was definitely with us and all waterproof layers and pack covers were pressed into service. We consulted with the resident ranger and headed out into the gentle rain that gave us beautiful glistening bush. The very best way to enjoy the outdoors.

It was an easy walk to the hut and soon we were enjoying the pleasures of a warm fire and hot drinks and snacks, with frequent trips outside to view the beautiful Mt. Taranaki as the afternoon cleared.

Before long it was time to get onto the important task of assembling our dinners. Everyone had something different and a few good tips were shared for next time.

After dinner we had the challenge of a quiz lead by Michiel and Anna. We did not have enough paper or pens to do it individually so we formed into two teams and what fun we had. The questions were quite difficult, but they were multichoice so there was an answer for everything. There was much competitiveness   and hilarity and we had to have 3 sessions and a sudden death play off to find the winning team. Prizes were pooled from Sunday’s snacks and shared out to the wining team.

Sunday dawned clear and bright with frost on the ground. A group of 5 had an early start to head back to the visitor center followed by a climb to Kapuni Lodge on the snowline. There was ice and quite a bit of slippery ground. We were fine for the uphill journey, but felt safer with crampons attached to our boots for the downhill journey on the ice.

The other group took a walk to the Stratford Plateau from the hut and returned to the visitor center by a different route than the one walked on Saturday.

Back at the visitor center the fine and frosty start had been replaced by cloud and we were all happy to call in at The Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge for hot drinks and tasty food. Next it was all into the van for the trip home, with a stop at Mokau mainly for curly fries to die for.

Another enjoyable weekend with big thanks to the trip leader Kathy and those who shared the driving to get us safely home.