Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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We left The Bracken pronto at 6:15pm in two vans; three cars also left Auckland independently. We had one break at Te Kuiti for the 6 hour journey to New Plymouth.
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We checked into the Egmont Eco Leisure Park behind the Egmont Eco Lodge YHA/BBH at New Plymouth.


The two harder groups packed up first thing and were away to Mt Taranaki to do their respective tramps on the northern slopes of the mountain.

We set out mid-morning on our New Plymouth city day walk, starting with a portion of the Huatoki Walkway following the Huatoki Stream.
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Base map: NZTopoOnline, extracted October 2005, Crown Copyright Reserved  

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As we came out of the walkway onto one of the city's main streets, we had our first view of Mt Taranaki resplendent in its coat of snow. We stopped for a quick look at a boot sale nearby.
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We came to the entrance of Pukekura Park and there to met us were Helena and a friend  They would be joining us for the rest of the day. Our walk through this very popular place began with the lower lake.
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We had a break at the park's main lake near the kiosk, and once more we saw Mt Taranaki.
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The enclosed fernery nearby made for a lovely side trip.
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We made our way along the side of the main lake, crossing the red Japanese bridge halfway along the lake.
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From there we climbed up to Brooklands Park and had a look at a brand new Chinese garden complete with a large and fancy gazebo.
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We dropped down through flower gardens to the TSB Bowl of Brooklands, home to heaps of well-attended outdoor concerts and shows over the summer months.
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Beyond the bowl we walked through a lovely patch of bush climbing up to List St.
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We stopped to buy our lunch at a bakery on SH3 before entering the Te Henui Walkway and eating it on the track beside the stream.
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The walkway climbed up to Timandra St, and followed a grassed right-of-way to a now-disused farm. We could look down into the Te Henui valley, and a little later see Mt Taranaki once more.
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We then crossed the Te Henui cemetery.
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The walkway then followed the stream down to the coast to join up with the Coastal Walkway.
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Some of us did a walk to Fitzroy Beach nearby for another view of Mt Taranaki.
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We then carried on along the Coastal Walkway, a broad track wide enough for a car most of the way, enjoying the views of the coast and the Tasman Sea.
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We came to the Wind Wand which had been commissioned as the central focus of the walkway. It is a 45m wand of carbon and glass that is strong and flexible, and can bend over 20 metres according to the strength and direction of the wind.
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It was time for afternoon tea, and we adjourned to a nearby cafe.
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Some of us carried on along the walkway while the others chose to stay back in town. We carried on past the aquatic centre, whose outdoor slides once graced the Parnell Baths in Auckland.
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The walkway finished at Ngamotu Beach, and for our efforts we were rewarded with an ice cream from Mr. Whippy.
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After a soak in the pools at the aquatic centre, we returned to the city’s main street. A few of us went to see The World’s Fastest Indian at the local cinema, and everyone sat down for dinner, either at the Crowded House Bar and Cafe, or the Chinese smorgasbord restaurant beside the movie theatres.
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As we dined, we saw several groups of people go past, each wheeling a barrow. This turned out to be a wheelbarrow rally run by the local Baptist youth group, in which contestants had to answer questions similar to a car rally while wheeling a barrow with one of their team riding in it.
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The journey afterwards back to the wentilillos at the Egmont Eco Leisure Park was a pleasant half hour night walk.


After breakfast Linda S shared a few thoughts on reality, which is defined as the state of quality of being real rather than imaginary. God’s view of reality is the seen plus the unseen. There are three ways to check our reality (1) the Word of God (2) what other people tell us (3) our feelings, which are constantly changing. John 8:32 says you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. The unseen part of our reality is the eternal life we have in Jesus. Colossians 3:2 - set our mind on things above, not on this earth.

While Geoff and Rosemary went to the central Presbyterian church service to see some friends, the rest of us piled into the two vans for the drive to Pukeiti Rhododendron Gardens. It was our intention to do the three-hour Pukeiti Hill tramp on the property, and we had to get permission from the owners to do this as some of the tracks were closed, needing maintenance after recent storms. Permission was granted subject to us tramping at our own risk, a normal condition that applies to all Club trips. Before we set out on the tramp we had a stroll through part of the gardens, admiring the lovely rhododendrons and other plants in flower.

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Base map: NZTopoOnline, extracted October 2005, Crown Copyright Reserved  

The White Walk to the swingbridge was one of those tracks that were blocked off. Over the swingbridge was the site of the hauler that, in the 1930s, hauled logs of felled native timber out to be milled, and the junction with the Summit Track. It was a steady climb along the wide Summit Track, but near the top we had to climb over a large tree that had fallen completely across the track.

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This came out to the Summit Road, a narrow sealed road that climbed up to the summit of Pukeiti Hill. We had lovely views out to the coast and to New Plymouth from a fancy stone lookout.
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John was able to make cellphone contact with Nelson’s group tramping on Mt Taranaki. We were all able to join in the conversation with the phone on its loudspeaking setting.

We came down the Summit Road and onto the Jubilee Track, another track that was blocked off. This wide track dropped down the side of the hill more steeply to join up with the old Pukeiti tramline at the bottom. We had a look at a couple of holes in the ground where ochre was dug out to make paint in the days of logging.
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Our intention was to follow the old tramline back to the Loop Track, but we changed our minds after finding it too boggy and overgrown. So we went the other way, passing through an old cutting and crossing a stream, to come to the start of the Conservation Track.
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This bulldozed track led through native bush to join up with the Loop Track, but we had overshot this and came to the Puketiwhiti Stream before realising we had done this.
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It was a steady climb along the Loop Track back to the hauler site, before we returned to the Pukeiti Gardens. Those who chose not to do the tramp spent extra time looking at the gardens, and siestaing under the shade.
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There was time to have a quick wander around the gardens once more before we left in our vehicles at 3pm for Lake Mangamahoe.
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As we drove from Pukeiti towards New Plymouth we could see Mts Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe amongst the clouds in the distance.
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Lake Mangamahoe is located 9km south of New Plymouth, and is famous for its views of Mt Taranaki. We were to have walked the track that went around this man-made hydro lake, but it was closed at the far end and we were able to visit the lookout and do a loop walk. The lookout was about 15 minutes walk from the carpark at the south end of the lake.
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Some of us decided to stay put or stroll back to the carpark, while the rest of us did the loop track, taking in two grunts, a patch of redwood forest, the lake edge and views of Mt Taranaki whose top was covered in cloud.
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Afterwards we drove in the vehicles further up the lake to a lovely spot where we could see the mountain across the water.
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We went back into town for dinner at the Chinese smorgasbord next to the cinemas. All-you-can-eat (on one plate) self-service for only $7-50, with desserts for only $4.
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Afterwards we drove out to the base of Paritutu, the large rock at the west end of New Plymouth, to enjoy the sunset across the Tasman Sea. Mt Taranaki was a lovely sight, as was a flock of birds flying around.
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Three of us decided to climb part of Paritutu, but only got as far as the end of a large flight of quite-new wooden stairs built into the rock, as darkness was falling.
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We stopped briefly outside a house where Linda paid a quick visit to see a cousin, before returning to the city to see the Wind Wand at night, a glowing red ball at the end of the long stalk, thence to the lodge for showers and the wentilillo.


The morning was at leisure while Geoff and Andrew took the vans around to Mt Taranaki to pick up the two harder groups. Linda was picked up by her cousin for a tiki tour that included Bell Block; Rima and Nini walked into town to see the shops; others were happy to curl up with a book; and John and Helena did a drive to Oakura Beach west of New Plymouth for a pleasant walk, accompanied by Helena’s dog Punga who tramped the reservoirs of the Waitakere Ranges just two weeks before.
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Nelson’s group was the first to arrive back at Egmont Eco Lodge about 10:30am; the other group led by Stuart came about midday.

There was a frantic hunt for the key to the trailer, which had been given to one of the group to mind but had got mislaid. The one who had mislaid the key had visions of forking out large moneys as it would be his responsibility, and emptied all his luggage on the lawn in vain. Meanwhile a group of ladies who had already boarded one of the vans began to pray, and at that moment the manager who was cleaning the lodge found the key on the floor of one of the dorms. What a relief - we were soon packing the trailer ready to head home. What a wonderful God we have!

We stopped at Te Kuiti for lunch break, and arrived back at The Bracken about 6:30pm bringing to a close a wonderful weekend had by everyone, whether carrying a pack over metre-deep Mt Taranaki snow or enjoying the beauties of the city’s outdoor attraction.

COSTS: Accommodation $81; travel $55; breakfasts $3.