Whirinaki - Auckland Anniversary 2008
Day 1 - Road End to Central Whirinaki Hut (6hrs)
This is one of my favourite areas for tramping in New Zealand which forms part of the Te Urewera National Park. We managed to make good time making it into the forest and to the Whirinaki Falls for a spot of lunch. Here we bumped into a group from the Waikato tramping club who turned out to be our companions for the rest of the weekend.
The rest of the day was easy walking and we made it to the Central Whirinaki hut with plenty of daylight and setup out tents in such a way the snorers were at a safe distance. As evening approached we were unable to locate any native Whio (Blue Duck) as we have seen on previous visits.
Unfortunately Ish managed to get some stubborn substance in his eye that wouldn't budge no matter what we tried. Emptying our bladders (the drinking kind) into his eye.
In the dead of night we were awoken with a loud crashing like a cliff over the river collapsed. In was only in the morning we were to discover a huge tree had fallen onto the hut blocking the track. It's rotten top disintegrated as it hit the hut covering the piping and ground with dust. Without a whisp of wind that night it could have been a stray possum trying to reach just too far for near by fruits. Either way Ish's eye appeared to have cleared although his eye was still fat and couldn't open properly.
Day 2 - Central Whirinaki Hut to Mangamate Hut (6hrs)
First thing we made the call to bypass Upper Whirinaki hut due to our late start and feedback from some other trampers that there was a lot of Windfall. Instead we headed to Mangamate Hut with Winston and myself taking the 1.5 hour detour to the caves in 45 mins (no packs). Masses of cave wetas at the ready to jump on on and attack unsuspecting intruders into their domain.
After resuming course back on the main track we were quickly bogged down by a mass of windfall. This area had only been cleared the previous September but it looked like several years worth. After navigating the maze of tangled branches we found the track and the rest of the party. One of the ladies from the Waikato Tramping club had sprained her wrist in a trip all caught on film from Geoff.
This piece of track was completely different from the wide open track of the first day. It was narrow, overgrown and had many small stream crossing but very beautiful all the same. The last leg of the day was a grunt straight up onto the ridge line where the hut now lies for another lovely night.
Day 3 - Mangamate Hut to Road End (4hrs)
It was a cold morning. The hills and mountains around the hut meant that it would be a while before the sun came up. After breakfast I thought it would be nice to make a video postcard for Renate so I taught the group how to say Greeting from New Zealand (in Dutch of course).
I think I earned good brownie points for that :-) As the sun hit the hut we eventually set off for the last day of our walk down into the valley to follow the Upper Mangamate Stream back to the road end. This was probably the easiest day and nicest in terms of scenery. Even though most of the track followed the river or went through the river it was easy walking with miniature waterfalls and plenty of greenery. I think we spent more time in the river than on the tracks.
Whirinaki Lodge is a good place to stay the night before you kick off or at least have them look after your car whilst on the track. Be warned though it's $70 if you take their car to the start of the track and only about $35 if they use your car. I specifically asked the difference before hand to which my question was avoided. Oh well, its not much shared between four but its the principal and parking should never be the most expensive part of the trip.