Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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Friday night, Saturday

Seventeen of us travelled in two mini-buses up to Omapere on Friday evening and spent a night at the Combined Church, thanks to local Club member Doug McKenzie. We were eager to get heads off wentilillos really early the following morning and were at the end of Signal Station Road ready to start our coastal walk by 7.30 am.   Doug met us there and took care of one of the minibuses for the weekend, whilst the other was driven by Margaret who kindly spent the weekend locally.

The day was fine and we had the wind behind us - perfect tramping weather, so, after committing ourselves to the Lord, we set off promptly, following the undulating cliff path southwards along the coast.   The path eventually joined the beach and we were able to walk on the firm sand left by the receding tide, with occasional climbs over low promontories, many covered with a wonderful carpet of the pinky-mauve of Cranesbill, of the geranium family. At one point we found the tide had not quite receded far enough so, in groups of two’s and three’s, had to wait for a suitable gap in the waves to rush across a small inlet; unfortunately one member got extremely wet when an unexpectedly high wave rushed in! We walked at a smart pace in order to reach the Waimamaku River outlet at lowest tide and were pleased to arrive exactly on time at 11 am.   Due to the sinking nature of the sand beneath the fast flowing river we found it safest to wade across where the river met the waves. We retreated into the shelter of the dunes to dry off our feet and decided to enjoy an early lunch in the sunshine - and were regaled with the reading of an amusing poem by an Alaskan poet while we ate!

We continued along the beach and eventually took a track up into the welcome shade and shelter of the pine forest.  The track ran parallel with the coast and led across a small river to a camping area. We wondered whether to camp here beside the river although there was not too much shelter from the prevailing wind. Leaving the main party to boil up a welcome billy for tea, three walked on for a further kilometre to check out the area beside the old derelict Kawerua hotel. Although there was only a small stream nearby the area was more suitable so the whole party set up the two flies in the shelter of some trees and were able to cook the evening meal out of the strong wind inside a roomy shed beside the ruined hotel.   We were glad to crawl into our sleeping bags by 8 pm.

Sunday

Another fine day and we set off along the beach at 9am. By 10.30 we reached the outlet of the Waipoua River and once again waded across safely and had our morning break in the dunes. We continued along the beach, spotting interesting shells, purple jelly fish and even a large washed-up blow fish, and eventually reached the foothills of the Maunganui Bluff. Here we turned off the beach, walked inland a short distance on the Waikara footpath before crossing the stream and stopping for a brief afternoon snack before tackling the very steep climb ahead. We set off again at 2.15 pm for what we expected would be, at the most, a two-hour climb over the first two hills to our camp in the
Waitapu valley. However, the path was so badly marked and, once into the bush, so overgrown that we struggled to find our way and consequently those who had gone ahead did not arrive until almost 6 pm. One member was suffering from exhaustion so her bag was taken on and with help she managed to arrive by 7 pm. by which time camp had been set up in a sheltered glade. As previously arranged a kind local farmer had left a supply of water for us at the edge of his property as the only water available was a muddy pool.

Monday

The following morning the unwell member was fit enough to walk out with another member along the Waitapu Road in order to meet up with the mini-buses as they were driven down to Aranga Beach. The rest of the group set out at 8 am to start the climb up Maunganui Bluff. The wind was extremely strong and the climb steep but we did well until we once again found difficulty after entering the bushline -very few markers and overgrown bush. It took nearly two hours to reach the top and have a break before setting off down to Aranga Beach. Most of the pathway was extremely muddy, rocky, steep and slippery so it was a relief to reach the relatively level section prior to reaching the beach at 11 am. There the two minibuses were awaiting us to take our packs, so after a early lunch most of the party continued down the beach to complete the walk. A few decided to take advantage of the opportunity to ride around to Kai Iwi and there awaited the intrepid victors who arrived at 1.40 pm. having completed the 46km route.

COST: Minibus and Fuel  $49, Food  $15.50, Equipment Levy  $3, Sundries and Kohas $9.50