Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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We parked our car on the grass verge at the end of Barton's Rd at about 11:30am and started walking up the farm road until we came to a gate we where the three of us signed into a log book our intentions. After passing through the gate the 400m climb began. This was tough work in the hot summer sun but at least we had a cool breeze. About an hour later we reached the top of the hill and had a great view over both the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty.

We sat in the paddock for lunch and then climbed over the fence into the bush where the track began. Immediately we got a taste of what we were to expect for the next 2 hours...climbing over and under trees, untangling ourselves from the supplejack, pushing through dense bush. Although markers were present they were inconsistent shapes, colours and spacing. At one stage we couldn't find the next marker for about 30 minutes.

Eventually we reached Mangamuka Hut and discovered a couple of people setting up camp in the grossly overgrown grass which was about a meter high. Three hunters were staying in the hut. Not unexpectedly, due to our long dry summer, the nearby stream was only just trickling. We replenished our water supplies just in case.
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As the day was getting on, we set off again towards the Old North/South track where we were hoping to camp for the night. For about 5 minutes we passed through a very boggy section.  This track was much better than the previous one and was marked with the standard orange triangles even though it was not a DoC track. After about an hour and a half we reached the junction and went down to the Ngamuwahine River to look for a camp site. There was more water here even though the river was very low. When we couldn't find a suitable camp site close at hand, we filled up every container we had and went a further 20 minutes north to the Ngamuwahine Shelter.

It was 7pm when we reached the vacant campsite. After a very welcome meal, we played cards in the peaceful summer evening, surrounded by giant Rimu and Tawa. We bathed in a full moon as we drifted off to sleep in the deep forest, listening to the sounds of the night.
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After a late breakfast we broke camp and set off for the Leyland O'Brien Track which would be an hour and a half away. We stopped at the Nagamuwahine River for a hot cuppa and a reflection based on some poetry about God's grace.

Even though the old North/South track is no longer maintained by DoC, it was in reasonably good condition and was obviously used a lot. The Leyland O'Brien Tramway was in good condition and we occasionally came across a number of people using it. The track crossed three rivers which, although low, had plenty of water. We would spend a lot of time just relaxing around these rivers, enjoying the surroundings.

Eventually we got to Hurunui Hut at 2pm and had some lunch. The couple we met camping at Mangamuka Hut the day before were occupying this hut and a couple of young women were also stopping here for lunch before they headed for Mangamuka Hut.

We said our goodbyes and headed back into the bush for what seemed like the hardest section of our trip. There was a very long section of cutty grass on this route, which not only is difficult to navigate, but sliced you up into small pieces. Our hands were all bloodied after about 20 minutes of this and were glad to get back into the bush.

Eventually we broke out onto the farm and after a brief rest continued on the last section of our trip arriving back at the car around 5:30 pm.

We really enjoyed the camaraderie of a threesome and the very relaxed atmosphere when decision making.

COST: food $5.50;  travel $38;  use of Club equipment $1.50