Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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We met at The Bracken at 6:30am, and got away promptly. Our breakfast stop at Woodturners Cafe on SH2 just after the SH27 turnoff, where just about the whole gang showed up, including people who didn't meet at The Bracken. There was a lot of art, craft and memorabilia on display. At 8:55am we were away, and arrived at the Awakeri Springs holiday park at 11:30am and checked in to our cabins. There were the tourist cabins, each with a 2-bed room, and a kitchen-lounge that could sleep three people. We needed to bring our sleeping bags, but all eating utensils were provided. We gathered at a nearby picnic table for our lunch and one or two of us threw little bits on the ground to be gobbled up by the sparrows.

Our tramp for today was Tarawera Falls. Bryan Schroeder had organised permits for us to drive down the forestry roads from Kawerau to the falls. We began our walk at 2:20pm, going down through bus to cross the Tarawera River and go on to a vantage point for the Tarawera Falls where the water gushes out of holes in the cliff instead of a stream at the top, The track carried on uphill and upstream and we came to more views of the stream and a normal river waterfall. Returning along a loop track, we came across a few places where water gushes into holes in the ground. We got back to the carpark at 4pm. Distance 4km, maximum speed 6.5km/h, average speed including breaks 2.3km/h.

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We were back at Awakeri at 5pm. For dinner our chicken and vegies were spread out through the cabins for cooking, then brought to the picnic table for us to help ourselves to and bring back to our cabins to be eaten. Afterwards many of us went to the hot pool for a lovely soak.


Only 10 people were able to do the Edgecumbe climb, crammed into two cars, due to a glitch with the permit that had to be purchased. The group led by Bryan Schroeder had a 2 hour climb up a 4wheel drive track to the summit which had a lookout tower, crater lake, heaps of views including Kawerau and Mt Tarawera, and a large craggy rock that one could stand on if they had the courage. When they finished they went into Whakatane for lunch at a café. Being Anzac Day the group observed a minute’s silence to remember those who gave their lives in the two World Wars. Afterwards they went on to do the first part of the Nga Tupuwae o Toi Walkway as far as the Kohi Point before going back the same way.
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The rest of the group tramped the Nga Tupuwae o Toi Walkway. We drove to the start point at Whakatane, and we began with a steady climb. Once on the hilltops we had views looking back to Whakatane and the mouth of the Whakatane River, and out across the Bay of Plenty to Motuhora and White Islands. The track continued around Kohi Point, then dropped down to Otarawairere Bay. It was a well formed track with many wooden staircases to go up and down. The beach section with its rocky coastline in places can only be done at low tide. There were many more up and down stairs to negotiate before we came out at Ohope Beach and along to our well-deserved lunch break on the foreshore reserve. As John had already done the first half of this a few months ago, he chose to do a walk on his own at Ohope Beach, taking in the local reserves and walking back along the beach to meet up with the group for the second part of the track. At 1pm the group set out to do the second part of the Nga Tupuwae o Toi Walkway. This was a steady climb up through bush, with one quick view looking out to White Island, then followed a generally level course before dropping down to the end of Burma Rd. Thanks to closures on the rest of the bush track, we had roadbashing for the rest of our trip. It was great to listen to a symphony of traffic noise was we went along the main Whakatane-Ohope road. Even the road walking had its scenic beauty of bush and farm country. Most of us enjoyed icecreams at McDonald’s afterwards.  
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After dinner the drivers met in one of the cabins to discuss and decide on tramps for Monday before going on home. The options were: Ohiwa led by Paul and Ruth Ungemuth, Okere Falls via Rotorua, and straight home. Many of us enjoyed a soak in the hot pool either afterwards, or before dinner.


Breakfast was served at 7:30am, again self-service of cereal, porridge, canned peaches, jam and honey at the picnic table to be eaten in the cabins. We gathered in a circle to bid farewells and thank those involved for their excellent work. There were hugs galore as we parted our separate ways. Due to the nature of the accommodation and its lack of a suitable common space, and choices of tramps each day, we were unable to have any devotions together.

We were packed up and away by 8:45am. Peter had to rush back quickly to be in time for the plane home to Christchurch at 5pm. Those in the van went via Rotorua and a short walk at Okere Falls, before heading straight home as the van had to be returned by 5pm.

For seven of us, the Ohiwa walk was the real climax item of this weekend concert of tramps. We went there along SH2 from Awakeri via Taneatua, following the first half of the old Taneatua line now used for railcart tours. We set out at about 10am, climbing up into Onekawa Te Mahwai Regional Park. At the top the bush gave way to open farm country and the site of a Maori pa at the summit. The gate at the boundary of the farm was swing-shut self-locking, using a weight made from a concrete block attached to a long wire. There was a panoramic view of the Ohiwa harbour and the Ohope peninsula in the distance. A nearby trig was fenced off and grass overgrown, so we couldn't go up to it. From there we carried on to another pa site, then followed a gravel farm road down to Bryans Beach. We went along the ocean beach back to Ohiwa. It was 12:40pm when we got back to the carpark. Distance 5.2km, maximum speed 5.8km/h, average speed including breaks 1.3km/h.
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Five of the group had lunch at the Robert Harris cafe in central Whakatane, before heading back to Auckland. Leaving Whakatane at 2:20pm, we were lucky to escape the slow traffic that normally happens along SH2 on a holiday weekend, and were home in four hours.  

COSTS: Accommodation $53. Food $13. Transport $57.  Equip Levy & Forestry Passes $7.