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.

Good Friday

The eleven of us arrived at the start of the Forest Road Track on Whangaparapara Road at around 1:30pm. Although the literature had said it was 4 hours to Kaiaraara Hut, the sign said it was 5 hours. The track was at least 4m wide all the way and a very good surface. There were some small climbs with twists and turns. Other tracks were well signposted along the way. The weather was perfect.

After only 3 hours ( to our surprise) we arrived at the Kaiaraara Hut. There were a few other trampers at the hut plus a whole bunch of teenagers camping down by the river.


We had breakfast at 8am and departed for the summit of Mt Hobson at 9am. We had expected to meet the day trampers (from Orama) before we left but as it was raining lightly we decided to leave on our own. This track has recently been upgraded with several bridges and over 2300 steps. A very expensive track. We stopped at the old kauri dam which was being re built, at great cost, no doubt.
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We arrived at the summit at 11:30am to find it covered in cloud and difficult to see anything, so we moved on to Mt Heale Hut. While we were having our lunch some of the day trampers arrived and  joined us for a hot cuppa before heading back out into the cold wet mist and down to the start of the Kaiaraara Track where they had parked their vehicles.
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Mt Heale hut is only about twelve months old and follows DoC's current designs; spacious dining area, varnished wood panels on the interior and LED solar powered lights recessed into the ceiling. It had a wide deck around the outside which facilitated grand views out into the Gulf.
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Easter Sunday

We left at around 9am on the Sunday morning to much better weather. Part way down our descent we stopped to have our Easter Reflection which was led by the very generous Nelson Young.

Our plan for the day was to have a relaxing soak in the Kaitoke Hot Springs and then meet up with the day trampers from Orama who would transport us back to Orama for our last night on Great Barrier Is.  We weren't exactly sure when and where we would meet up with the other group, but while we were enjoying a hot, quiet soak in the river, the other group turned up and joined us.
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Costs:  $15.00 /p/n at both huts