Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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After driving out of Auckland on Friday night Paul, Carl, Cathie and Murray enjoyed a cosy night in cabins at the Murupara Camping ground. The sun was shining as we headed towards the forest on Saturday morning to park the car at Jailhouse Shuttles. The shuttle dropped us off at River Road car park (Minginui Road end) by 9.30am and we set off for the first 45 minutes along the Whirinaki track at an easy pace with the river on one side and giant rimu and totara trees overhead. The turnoff along the Mangamate Stream marked a dramatic change with almost continuous river crossings - some through almost kneedeep water - as well as some careful spotting required to find the next track marker. Our lunch stop on a small river flat was very pleasant in the sun. We soon passed through the old hut site and it wasn't long before we climbed steeply out of the valley to arrive at the Mangamate Hut by 3.15.

Murray shared about the seeing God's love in the small and the big of the forest. By translating the 'flowers of the field' in the Sermon on the Mount to the 'ferns of the forest' and the 'Cedars of Lebanon' in the Psalms to the 'giant rimu in Whirinaki' he emphasised the ‘extravagant dimensions of God’s love’ (Ephesians 3:17).

All was quiet in the hut for the first hour, by which time we thought we had it to ourselves! - then suddenly another twelve trampers from the Kapiti Tramping Club arrived! Fortunately they put up some tents but the small nine-bunk hut was congested as we jockeyed for space to cook and sit.


Sunday dawned dry - after breakfast we waited until the other trampers had left, tidying the hut before heading off by 8.30. The track worked its way down into the valley then began cross-crossing upstream again before climbing steeply over a ridge to follow another valley downstream. After a couple of hours, we stopped for a snack (Val's great baked slice) at the stream junction where the track branches off to the Upper Whirinaki Hut. We continued downstream to meet the main Whirinaki Track and appreciated the benched surface and the bridges across the side streams.

Once again, we arrived at an empty hut (Central Whirinaki) by 12.50 and soon had a fire going and the billy boiled for hot soup with our lunch. It wasn't long before the hut filled up but being a lager hut (26 bunks) there was plenty of space for everyone. Paul and Cathie proved to be the card champions at 500 and the afternoon finished with interesting discussion and conversation throughout the hut. As darkness approached we prepared our dehydrated dinner (thanks Val) and had an early night ready for our tramp out on Monday.


The overnight rain had all but cleared as we left the hut at 7.30. The track followed the side of the Whirinaki River with great views through the trees sometimes from high up the bank and other times from close to water level. We made it to the car park just on 12 midday - the time we had scheduled to be picked up by the shuttle. We were driven back to our car and headed to Rotorua for a coffee stop before driving home through some very heavy rain after a satisfying long weekend tramp – a great team and some wonderful forest.
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