After a few last-minute pull outs, we had 16 participants, including three who had never been on an ABTC
overnight before. Before the weekend a comprehensive email was sent out to all participants to ensure
all questions were answered about what to bring and what to expect from the weekend.|
On arrival at Pureora cabins, Jill and Cathie met them as they drove in and directed them to the cabin
they were assigned to. After lunch together all four drivers for the weekend were given very specific
driving instructions for all the activities although it was stressed that these were flexible mostly
in relation to the weather. Our first trip was to the World’s biggest Totara tree (Pouakana) further
on along Highway 30. We returned and drove further into the logging area to view the forest from the
tower in the area of the 1970s protests. We stopped again on the way home to climb onto and look at an
old Historic D7 log hauler.
The second day the Moores, who had loosely aligned
themselves to us and were staying in their camper van, got a message which meant that they had to leave
for family reasons. Our group of sixteen drove to the start of the Mt Pureora climbing track in brilliant
weather. Everyone made it up to the summit and we spent some time enjoying the amazing views and our
picnic lunches. On the way down we encountered a Kiwi Conservation group who pointed out the beautiful
blue mushrooms growing beside a bridge (the Werewere kokako because it’s the same colour as the wattle
on the Kokako bird - which is also on the $50 note) . We extended the day with a trip about 5km further
on into the Geographical Centre of the North Island. That evening, Tina V gave a very well-prepared and
thoughtful devotion about three emotions of Easter. Afterwards a group played a very spirited game of
Take Two followed by Five Crowns.
The day again dawned bright and sunny. After breakfast
and tidying up we met back together for an Easter devotion led by Cathie. Easter eggs were passed out
and people were told to choose a person they didn’t know very well to give it to. Each pair went outside
and spent some time sharing with each other what Easter meant to them. The ‘coffeeaholics’ amongst the
group were amply rewarded by a visit to the cafe at Mangakino where we left one car by the lakeside.
We all then drove back to Whakamaru, left the cars in the carpark there then set out on the 12km Waikato
River Trail. We stopped about halfway for lunch then arrived back at Mangakino about 3.30pm. On our return
to the cabins, Cathie took a small group down to the Totara Loop trail a short walk away while others
showered and relaxed. Gaye, from Hamilton left to go back early as she wanted a day to get ready for
the week ahead.
On our last morning, the women in Cabin One made lunches for the
trampers then we all had breakfast together before tidying up the cabins. Three women were anxious about
getting back too late in Auckland and asked if they could travel to Ongarue and walk for an hour on the
Timber Trail track by themselves. Jocelyn and Cathie made it very clear that ABTC were not responsible
for them if they did do that, after pointing out some easier options. However they decided they wanted
to do it this way. (We met them coming off the track as we arrived at Bennett’s car park in Ongarue,
so we knew they were safe.) We were ready ahead of time so a group of those who hadn’t done it the day
before, went down to the Totara loop trail. We left in good time to drive in convoy to Ongarue. Jocelyn
opted to stay behind at Bennett’s car park, while the rest of us walked in for about an hour before meeting
some very happy trampers! We sat down on the side of the track to eat lunch and trade stories. We all
drove home via Te Kuiti and Otorohanga.
Some further points to note are that contrary to what
their website says, the Pureora cabins are not cleaned and maintained daily, nor are they fully equipped
with everything you need. Large saucepans, trays, utensils etc were all brought from Auckland. Extra
toilet paper was needed as it was not replenished, the soap dispenser in one ablution block was empty
and rubbish bins overflowed with no extra bin liners supplied. Also, the menu amounts taken from the
club’ website proved far too generous for a group of women (apart from one male!). Desserts were not
needed every night either.