Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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We travelled to Ohakune in 2 cars on Friday 11 June, where we met up at 2pm with "John" from Dempsey Shuttles at the premises of Canoe Safaris in 6 Tay Street. Canoe Safaris allowed us to park our cars at their premises without charge. The shuttle took us up the Ohakune Mountain Road and dropped us off at Wanganui Corner, the entrance to the Mangaturuturu Hut. The weather was cloudy but dry. We tramped into Mangaturuturu Hut, descending the Cascade Waterfall face en route. Fortunately it was dry and free of snow. The tramp took us 1 hour 25 minutes. The hut has been modernised, with a new floor and ceiling, an extension on one side of the hut which has a table and sink bench and a lot of space, and it now has solar-powered electric light! We were the only ones in the hut until about 6.30 a couple arrived in the dark from the Bruce Road. They were two police officers from New Plymouth, and were doing the Round the Mountain Track in 3 days!  


Next morning, Roger, Heather and Ali set off at 7.50 am for a visit to Lake Surprise, which proved to be 35 minutes each way. The weather was fine and still so there were some good reflections in the lake. Ted, Phil and Bev set off about 8.30 am back to the Ohakune Mountain Road. Roger, Heather and Ali also set off for the Ohakune Mountain Road on their return from Lake surprise. The ascent of the Cascade Waterfall face was uneventful, though care needed to be taken in one place where it was wet and icy as the sun had not yet got to it. On reaching the road, John from Dempsey Shuttles happened to be going down the road after delivering from cyclists to Turoa, so he gave Roger, Heather and Ali a lift down to Blyth Hut Carpark. The others had walked down the road, which took them 45 minutes, so the net result was that we all met up in the carpark.

After a billy-boil and hot cuppa, we set off for Mangaehuehu Hut, which is 3 hours 30 minutes from the road. After 45 minutes on the Round the mountain Track we came to the Blyth Hut turnoff, where we stopped for lunch.  We then carried on to Mangaehuehu Hut, 2 hours 15 minutes away. We encountered rain for the last  hour of this tramp, and arrived at the hut at 3.15 pm. There was no-one else there. We soon had a roaring fire going and settled down to drying out gear and preparing dinner.

Our peace and solitude was disturbed at 7pm when a group of 18 14-year-old students and 4 teachers from Wellington Boys College arrived in the dark after tramping for 12 hours from Waihohonu Hut. They were undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award tramp. Some were very much the worse for wear and their first thought on entering the hut (boots and all) was to grab a bunk. A general melee ensured with disgruntled leaders and general disorganisation, but eventually it settled down with some of the boys going outside in a large fly, leaders sleeping on the deck, and some boys and leaders inside both on and under the bunks. We adjourned to the only 4-bunk dormitory, while Bev and Ted remained outside in the main area. Eventually all the boys were fed and watered and silence descended about 10pm. It was totally irresponsible in my view to allow 14-year old boys to tramp for that long over this kind of territory.


The boys departed about 8.30 am for the Ohakune Mountain Road. Our party followed about 8.55 am, with Roger and Heather setting off early to try and catch the leaders of the boysí party as one of them had left a tungsten cooking set and some large crocs behind. Heather and Roger caught the leaders up at the first swing bridge, where there was the inevitable hold up due to only one being allowed to cross at a time. There was a party of 22 from the same College coming the other way! They had left Blyth Hut at 6am. The cooking set and crocs were returned to them. They allowed Roger and Heather, and eventually the others, to cross the creek ahead of them and move on. Our party had decided to get to Blyth Hut for lunch, and then go out to the Ohakune Mountain Road, as the weather forecast indicated rain all Sunday night and Roger had concerns about crossing the two rivers to get out the next day, even though there was an escape route above Blyth Hut up to the Turoa Ski Field. We had phoned Dempsey Shuttles from Mangaehuehu Hut and arranged for them to pick us up at 3pm on Sunday. En route to Blyth Hut, Ali had a fall and badly split her lip on her teeth, gashed her leg and possibly cracked her ribs. On arrival at Blyth she was somewhat worse for wear. She needed some stronger painkillers and possible a sling, so that confirmed our decision to go out. Dempsey Shuttles reliably arrived at 3pm, and soon we were back in Ohakune. Their service was excellent and they charged only $20 each way to take us up and down the Ohakune Mountain Road. We obtained accommodation for the night at a local backpackers.


We were able to travel back at a leisurely pace, arriving in Auckland around 2.30pm. As things turned out, the heavy rain that was forecast stayed further north and it would have been OK to stay at Blyth Hut, but the forecast and Aliís condition made it the right decision to exit on Sunday.
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