Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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Our group of 9 stayed at Cactus Jacks backpackers in Rotorua on Friday night. On Saturday we went to Whirinaki Forest Holidays in Te Whaiti to pick up Gary Aldridge who drove us to the end of Plateau Rd. This took an hour, going down very dusty and bumpy forestry roads. There are no decent maps of these roads and it was essential to have Gary's local knowledge.

Our tramp started at around 10:30am (in brilliant sunshine) and we headed off to the caves we where we enjoyed some exploring...often crawling on our hands and knees. We then had lunch and devotions, after which we headed off to Upper Whirinaki Hut via the Taumutu Track. this section required a lot of time in the river so we got very wet feet. Although Gary had told us that we wouldn't need our tents because there would not be any one else at the huts, most of us kept them which was very fortunate because there were four other people at the hut and some of us needed to camp outside.
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The next morning as we headed for Upper Te Hoe Hut we noticed a map posted on the old, and only, sign post anywhere near the hut. It indicated that the first part of the Upper Whirinaki track had been re- aligned due to erosion. The map was very unclear and there were no notices or track markers any where near the hut to indicate any other track. We asked the hunters at the hut and they assured us there were no other tracks at the back of the hut. After wasting an hour looking for the new track we eventually found it...immediately to the back of the hut.

We followed this track for about 2km until it re-joined the upper Whirinaki track which basically followed the river to its source. This required getting our feet wet again.

Just before we started the serious climbing (approx.300m) we had lunch and devotions. The sky was getting cloudier and the temperature dropped as we got higher. Some of us found the climbing hard going so we had a discussion when we got to Fridge Junction (at the top) about alternatives to going on to the hut. The consensus was to go on, but in two groups, so that the faster ones could get the fire and hot drinks ready.

As we descended down to the hut we encountered wet and windy weather as well as a very overgrown track which, in parts, was severely damaged by major tree falls. One of team fell off the track due to serious track erosion, but fortunately was not hurt but severely 'shaken'.

We all arrived at Upper Te Hoe hut well before dark and soon had a hot drink and raging fire going.
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The next morning as we headed for Upper Te Hoe Hut we noticed a map posted on the old, and only, sign post anywhere near the hut. It indicated that the first part of the Upper Whirinaki track had been re- aligned due to erosion. The map was very unclear and there were no notices or track markers any where near the hut to indicate any other track. We asked the hunters at the hut and they assur

The next morning we were greeted by sunny skies and no wind. We made good progress, getting back to Fridge Junction by 10am. Judging by the time given on the track sign, we knew we would make it back in time for our pickup at the Pukahunui Road end.

This track proved to be extremely overgrown and eroded as well. A new hazard awaited us near to the end of the track. A section of the track was marked off with thin red cord, but no signs indicated why. The first three people got through without event, but the rest were violently attacked by wasps.

By 12 o'clock we were out at the roadside awaiting our pickup who was due at 1pm. While nursing our wounds and having lunch, Gary arrived and we were soon on our way home.
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COST:  $160  travel, food, accommodation