Auckland Baptist Tramping Club


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Friday

Thirteen cars and one campervan with a total of 31 people arrived at the Cambridge Top Ten Holiday Park during the day and evening of Friday 23 October. Our main accommodation there was Sara Lodge which slept 24 of us in two bunkrooms. Each bunkroom had six sets of bunks, well spaced apart, each with its own cubbyhole and power points for charging phones! It was noted how well the bunks were secured as there was no movement from climbing in and out or turning over! Even the sliding door to the kitchen was soundless so the usual banging and creaking as in huts didnít occur. Each bunk was supplied with a clean sheet and pillow and a duvet. In between the two bunkrooms was a large kitchen fitted out with crockery, cutlery and cooking equipment for 24 people. A large fridge, stove and dishwasher made cooking and cleaning up for a large number easy. On the large covered deck were tables and plenty of seating for us to gather for meals, devotions and relaxation time. Sara Lodge was only a year old, very well designed for a large number and I would highly recommend it for future trips in the area.  Six people shared 4 cabins while one slept in his campervan.

Saturday

Leaving Cambridge at 8.15am it was a 30 minute drive to Tari Road, Pukeatua where we parked right in front of Maungatautari Mountain, also known as Sanctuary Mountain. It has a 47km predator-proof fence around its perimeter resulting in luxurious bush and plenty of native birdlife. A smaller, more concentrated conservation area is the Southern Enclosure, which provides 5 kilometres of paths and a high tower to climb to view the treetops. Unfortunately the tower was closed for maintenance during our visit. With Phillip and Katrina joining us from Tauranga our group of 33 prayed, then set off in four groups.  Hua and Barbara, recovering from injuries, spent time exploring the Southern Enclosure ($25 per person entry fee). Phillip, Katrina and Ali walked the Wairere Traverse Track to the Pukeatua Saddle, then diverged onto the old rugged Te Tonga track to Maungatautari Peak, (the trig) 797masl. Seventeen others split into two groups led by Phil Norton and Paul Ungemuth to walk to the Pukeatua Saddle, 3.5km.  Here some enjoyed the views of Lake Arapuni from the picnic table while others did the 10 minute steep climb up to the Rocky Outcrop, one of the three peaks of the mountain. The second highest peak, Pukeatua Peak is reached on the other side of the saddle by a 20 minute steep rugged climb.  Eleven others, led by Ian Marshall, reached the highest peak, Maungatautari via the Wairere Traverse Track, meeting up with Phillip, Katrina and Ali at the trig. The Wairere Traverse Track is a gravelled quad bike track, undulating and curving to the top with some steep sections. Near the summit, steps lead to a boardwalk which winds gently to the trig. Returning back down the mountain some visited the Visitorís Centre and bought icecreams before driving back to Cambridge.

That evening after dinner on our wide deck Paul shared a devotions about work. Being Labour Weekend Paul reflected on the importance of work in our lives. All work whether paid, routine or voluntary can be used to bless others.

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Sunday

Another calm settled day and we left at 8.15am for a 35 minute drive to the carpark in Whites Road near Putararu. After prayer we set off along the Te Waihou Walkway for a one and a half hour walk to the Blue Spring. The track meanders next to the Waihou River through wetlands, rolling pastoral land and native bush. The river slowly becomes clearer and bluer as we reach the Spring. The water here, coming from the Mamaku Plateau, is so pure and clean that it produces a beautiful blue colour while being virtually clear. It supplies about 60% of NZís bottled water. We spotted trout. After lunch and a group photo at the Spring, we walked back the same way to the carpark, Barbara and Hua returning to their car at Leslie Road, a 15 minute walk away.  Some cars stopped at Tirau on the way back for refreshments and some window shopping.

Ali led us in a devotions after dinner on the deck. From her experience of counselling people through the difficulties of lockdown, Ali gave us tips for dealing with anxiety and building resilience, such as staying connected with others and practising thankfulness, even for the smallest things. After a small meditation Phil led us in prayer.
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Monday

We packed up our cars and headed to the Hamilton Gardens. We enjoyed a few hours wandering through several specially designed gardens from other countries and other times.  A very gentle way to finish 3 days of very different walks, each special in their own way. Cars headed back to Auckland from early afternoon, most arriving back by late afternoon. A very enjoyable weekend enjoying pleasant weather on our walks, beautiful countryside and wonderful fellowship with one another.
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COSTS:
Accommodation: $122 per person for 3 nights (Sara Lodge was $3000 for 3 nights. Lodge and cabin costs were split evenly between all participants.
Food: $15 per person
Travel: To pay drivers: Auckland to Cambridge Holiday Park: $13 each way;                                         Holiday Park to Maungatautari Mountain: $3 each way; Holiday Park to Whites Rd carpark: $4 each way