Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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The Auckland Baptist Tramping Club ran a trip to Great Barrier Island at Easter from Friday, 29 March to Monday 1st April 2013 for 32 trampers. We had two groups, a pack carrying group of 11 trampers led by Philip Norton and Colin O’Gorman and 21 day walkers led by David & Marian Kilgour.

We stayed at Orama, a camp run by a Christian Trust in a picturesque setting, nestled in a valley of regenerating bush and mature trees, beside the sparkling waters of Karaka Bay.

Good Friday

We met at Bracken Avenue at 7.00am and traveled by taxi van to the wharf where our Sealink boat left at 8am and arrived at Tryphena at 12.30pm. We travelled in four station wagons to Orama, stopping at Medlands Beach for lunch, and arriving at Orama about 3.00pm. We were allocated our accommodation, some staying in bunk rooms and some in double cabins. In the evening Barbara gave an inspiring devotion on the eight shadows of the Cross: the shadows of Betrayal; Inner agony; Loneliness; Desertion; Denial; Accusation; Mockery and Death.


We divided into three groups and set out along the Kaiaraara Track via Kaiaraara Hut and the Kauri Dams, to reach the summit of Mt Hobson (Hirakimata, 627m) which has a 360 degree panoramic view of the Island, and beyond, if the weather is fine. Unfortunately we only caught tantalizing glimpses through the cloud that shrouded the higher sections of the track. This section involved climbing about 2,500 wooden steps to the summit, built to preserve the nesting places of the protected black petrel and sensitive ecosystems. This took from 3-4 hours, depending on the speed of the group. From the summit a group of 10 set off down the steep steps for another half hour to Mt Heale Hut, meeting up with the pack carrying group, and having a relaxing lunch break. From here we had views over Hauraki Gulf and Little Barrier Island. We then followed the South Fork Track back to Forest Road and Kaiaraara Hut. This was a very pleasant much gentler track which took us about 2.5 hours before the last half hour on the Forest Track back to the vehicles. A further group of 7 returned to the vehicles via the same route they came up (Kaiaraara Track) and a further group of 3 also made it to the summit at a slower pace so all returned to Orama with a sense of satisfaction at having achieving their goal. In the evening Mary Davie-Martin led a devotion on mountain top experiences and how we all have different expectations and different experiences when we reach our mountain top. Examples were given of Biblical characters and their experiences on this.

Easter Sunday

After collecting three vans from Port Fitzroy, we drove to Whangaparapara Road and walked in to the hot pools where we joined the overnighters for a very hot dip and lunch before all returning to Orama for a barbeque dinner. After dinner Ruth & Paul Ungemuth gave a devotion based on Isaiah’s prophecy of Christ’s death and resurrection.


After packing and cleaning up, we took a hill walk over to BBQ Bay. We then drove to Medlands Beach for lunch before returning the vehicles at Tryphena and boarding the 3.00pm ferry for the four and a half hour journey back to Auckland.  Many of us were delighted to see whales and lots of dolphins on this voyage making it extra special. Furthermore we were entertained by an impromptu Maori Concert and a glorious sunset over the city.
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Accommodation per person per night:
Orama Cabins $40. Orama Bunkrooms $25.
Sealink boat fares with bulk discount: Adults $108. Seniors $89.
Taxis to and from Wynyard Wharf: $10 per person.
Vans and Station Wagons on Great Barrier from Aotea Rentals: $40 per person
Food per person per day: Approximately $10.00.