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).