TRAMP 1251 HURUNUI HUT VIA HENDERSON TRAMLINE LOOP
Participants: Kathy Old (leader), Jane T. Cath H, Rohita D, Vince H, Ian K & Kevin B.
The first “open” tramp of the year although possibly a bit too early for prospective new members as
all participants were old hands! The weather looked perfect as we arrived at the start of the track on
Old Kaimai Road and there was time to enjoy the sunshine as one the cars was shuttled to our finish
point to avoid a road walk at the end of the day.
The southern Mangatotara Forest was logged from 1936 by the Henderson Timber Company.
Podocarp and hardwood species were extracted using the bush tramline in evidence today. Steam
powered Log haulers were used to move sawn logs, from where they were cut down, to the
tramline. They would burn wood offcuts to produce steam and were later replaced by tractors,
which were used to pull the logs on tracks, the sleepers for which are still evident in places. The rimu
extracted grew at altitude and was noted as being of high quality, especially useful for building and
furniture. Extraction ceased in 1957 when all available resources had been used up.
After crossing the Rataroa Stream (we were warned it was a wet boot tramp) the track ascended the
Henderson Tramline North branch through second growth bush before nearing the crest of the
Kaimai Range, a distance of about 5 km. From here we followed the ridge until reaching Hurunui
Hut, a 3 bunk hut, which is situated in a relatively flattish clearing surrounded by bush. Time for a
deserved rest and lunch in the sun!
After retracing our steps to the the Northern Tramline route we followed the main ridge down for a
further 2.5 km to the West Branch. From here it was a pleasant downhill stroll for a further 4km to
our waiting car on Old Kaimai Road.
Despite the fact that there are no expansive views from this track, it proved to be an ideal “open
day” trip in regenerating native bush and excellent company. The ice cream on the way home wasn’t
too bad either!