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.
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.
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Even though the old North/South track is no longer maintained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.
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