Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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Base map: NZTopoOnline, extracted November 2004, Crown Copyright Reserved  

Seventeen people enjoyed an interesting trip the Club had done only once before - not long after the Cub came into existence 25 years ago - the Karamu Walkway in the west Waikato, now set to become part of the Te Araroa trail being established that would run the entire length of New Zealandís two main islands.

We set out from The Bracken at 8am as usual, meeting up at Whatawhata at 9:30am with two people coming across from Tauranga. Included in our group was the birthday boy, all togged up in shirt and tie!

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It was 11:45am when we set off on our walk, having had to place cars at the finish of the walkway, and the birthday boy trading his tie for a red T-shirt and his jandals for boots. A group of hens sent us off from our starting point on the Raglan road with their loud cock-a-doodle-doos. A climb through the native bush of the Four Brothers Scenic Reserve brought us to open hilltop farmland that would make up the greater part of our dayís tramping. We could look out to the flat country of Hamilton to the east and Raglan and Mt Karioi to the west.
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The walkway followed a farm track along the main dividing ridge between the Waikato River and the west coast catchments.
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As we progressed a strong cold westerly wind blew in with passing showers, enough to make us put on our parkas. We found a sheltered spot beside a shed close to the Old Mountain Road for our lunch stop.
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Phillip shared a few Bible verses, including Philippians 3:12 and Hebrews 10:36, about having to maintain our movement forward in the Christian life in order to maintain our balance and not fall over. An illustration was given from a Club tramp some years ago in the Waitawheta area of the Kaimai Ranges, when a tramper fell over after slowing down at a stream - becoming idle can lead to a major fall, we need balance in our Christian living.

The track carried on across Old Mountain Road and into country dominated by limestone bluffs and outcrops, climbing to go along a clifftop before dropping down into the lee of a hill for a brief respite from the cold wind.
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We were back into the biting wind as we crossed a spectacular basin dotted with limestone and a young pine plantation.
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Once out of the cold wind, we had a rest stop before continuing along past limestone outcrops and climbing up a narrow gully to the top.
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What a surprise to be greeted with a panoramic view of the Waikato basin from Hamilton on our extreme left to Mts Pirongia and Kakepuku on the extreme right.
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We could see we had a steep drop before leaving the farm country to enter native bush once more. The track through the forest was a wide farm track, steep in places as we made our final descent.
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The track came out to open farm land once more, and after a group-up stop we carried on rapidly losing altitude. Mt Pirongia stood out in the distance ahead.
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A swingbridge followed by having to go around a freshly-ploughed paddock brought us to trampís end about 3:45pm.
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Three car loads went on to the Waingaro Hot Springs afterwards while one car load went straight back to Auckland.
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Those who soaked their dayís workout away in the thermal waters of Waingaro stopped at the Autobahn cafe at Bombay for dinner and a birthday shout of icecreams.

COST: travel $22 (going straight home to Auckland) or $25 (with Waingaro hot pools);
hot pools $6.