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Mount Egmont Alpine Club

News and Coming Events



 Published in the quarterly Mt Egmont Alpine Club bulletin.  

Sunday 7th AprilWaingongoro HutVia Hunters Track. Possibly leaving from the 2nd 'roundabout' - Manaia Road.
Leader: Bruce Finer 06 272 2876, 027 205 2059
Sunday 14th AprilBeach Walk Oakura to Greenwood RoadCar shuttle required. A nice piece of beach, seals often sighted, and a shipwreck to see.
Departing from the clubrooms 8.30am
Leader: Jan Fleming 06 278 4460, 027 418 2429
Sunday 28th AprilMeremere Track to Ingahape RoadAn easy to moderate local day walk, approx 5 hours, car shuttle or pickup required.
Leader: Al Barkla 06 273 4090, 027 618 9002
Wednesday 1st MayClub EveningHikmat Maaliki presenting on Patagonia and Machu Picchu. We had a little teaser from Hikmat in March, but technical problems meant we needed to reschedule. Our last chance to hear from him before he returns to the US. 7.30pm
Saturday 11th MayKawaiti Road Hurleyville
Bush block walk
Two options, follow a bulldozed track, returning on the same track, or returning via the bush, a bit longer. Moderate difficulty.
Leader: Alan Rogers
Sunday 19th MayCurtis FallsMeet at the Mountain House at 9am or clubrooms at 8.15am. Possibility of a car shuttle to make a one way trip.
Leader: Jim Finer 06 272 8138, 027 444 9190
Sunday 26th MayDurham Road hunters hutLeaving from the top of Durham Road, an easy 3 hour return trip to a hunters bivvy. A good trip for beginners, or families with kids. Possibly combined with New Plymouth Tramping club. Leaving the clubrooms at 8am or meet at the gravel pit at the main road end of Durham road to minimise carparking as no parking on the property at present.
Leader: Barry Greenbrook 06 759 2332 Keep watch here for any changes to this trip.
Saturday 1st June - Monday 3rd JuneQueens Birthday WeekendFree for private trips
Wednesday 5th June Club EveningDavid Donaldson, Bike Touring in the Himalayas. David has done a number of cycle tours in the Himalayan regions so this will be a very interesting and informative evening on an area our club has seldom heard about. 7.30pm
Sunday 9th JuneRotokare Sanctuary WalkTwo options, fitter participants can walk the Ridge track, others may opt for the lower Lake Circuit.
Contact: Jan Fleming 06 278 4460

Trip Reports

Kapuni Lodge Working Bee, Saturday 30th March 2019
Walk to Kapuni Lodge to fine-tune the water supply and trim overgrown vegetation from the track to the Lodge from the turnoff. Perfect weather as not too hot, in fact partly cloudy with a breeze - just right for heavy work out by the water tank.
The group were: Bruce (who carried a mechanical trimmer for the track vegetation and Liam Finer (who carried the new valve for the water supply), Jim Finer, Graham and Cathy Thompson, Andrew Jordan, Alan Rogers, Al Barkla and Andrea Shepherd.
Andrea and I organised and tidied shelves in the Lodge, explored the under seat cavities, cleaned the windows, scrubbed the floor and made a clothesline.
The valve was successfully installed and the replacing of the bags of dirt didn't take long at all - but there were some sore backs after that and the track trimming.
We carried down several bags of rubbish including some brooms (pity we couldn't have flown down on them) - there is now a new broom and brush and shovel. A productive trip.
kapuni lodge water working beekapuni lodge water working bee
Cathy Thompson.

Kahui Hut Walk, Sunday 17th March 2019

Graham and I were joined by Al Barkla, Justine Clark, Maryanne Whakatu and 4 members of the Butler family (Anna, Matt, Felix and Scarlett) for the drive to the top of Kahui road. There we were met by Wietze Hoogeveen and Rae Hannah as well as Andrew Jordan from New Plymouth. It was a warm but partly cloudy day and it was nice to be in the bush out of the sun. The track was in good condition and the gradient very easy. We arrived at the crossroads with the Oaonui/Kopoaiaia track in 1 ¼ hours (the sign-posted time). Here Anna, Matt and the kids left us to look at the nearby river and head back to their car. 

The 8 of us continued on to Kahui hut which was another 1 ¼ hours away. The track became very slightly steeper. On the way up the track we were passed by a group from a Wellington tramping club who had stayed the night. 

Andrew showed us a mysterious hole in the bush not far from the track. The hole was about 1 ½ metres wide and 3 metres deep with very steep sides. We were all very careful not to fall in! We explored around Kahui hut and had lunch on the deck. Kahui hut has a volcano monitoring device powered by a solar panel on the roof. It was very tidy. 

On the way back Justine's ancient boots lost their soles and time was spent taping them up – and replacing the tape as it wore through. Al offered to loan her his "boots" – pity he was barefoot as usual!

Back at the cars we were assaulted by sandflies and went our separate ways after a pleasant day out. 

Justine getting boots repairedKahui hutKahui signpost

 Cathy Thompson

Omaru Hut Walk, Saturday March 2nd 2019

There were no takers for an overnight trip to Omaru hut on the Matemateonga walkway so Graham and I headed off on a perfect March Saturday to explore the area. It took almost 1 ½ hours to drive to the start of the track at the Kohi saddle on the Upper Mangaehu road.

The track was recently cleared and the going was easy with no significant gradients. In several places the thick regrowth bush cleared and we had good views of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. In less than 1 ½ hours we were at the Omaru hut. This 8-bunk hut has a good wood burner and 2 water tanks. We had a pleasant lunch in the sun and walked out in the same time as we walked in.

Back at the car we continued along the road another 20 minutes or so to Aotuhia and the “Bridge to Somewhere”. On the way home we turned off at Makahu and come home via Puniwhakau and Tututawa. The weather stayed perfect the whole day and we enjoyed exploring an area we had often meant to visit.
Omaru hutView from bridge to somewhereVolcano view from track
Cathy Thompson

Beach Walk - Ohawe to the site of Waimate Pa, Sunday 17th February 2019

What a great day for a beach walk. Tide was low and the sun was shining.  Fifteen keen people and a dog (Molly) met up on the cliff top at Ohawe Beach and then made their way to the Waingorongoro River which was crossed and all headed at a leisurely pace to the site of the Waimate Pa which is at the mouth of the Kapuni River. After a brief run down on the history of the pa, some of the group made their way to the top after a bit of a scramble. At the top, food pits were discovered and with the top been mostly covered in flax, it was wise to tread carefully. The holes which varied in depth and width and a black back seagull was rescued from one. All had a good look around. The ones that did not venture to the top sat & snacked while Dylan & Elinor played in the rock pools. Back down and then another leisurely stroll back to the cars.
Thanks to Ross for coming back with a vehicle for those who wanted a ride. Great day for a walk along the beach.
Those who went on the walk were Jim & Marilyn Finer, Jan Fleming plus Molly, Ross Dunlop, David, Suzanne, Dylan & Elinor Finer, Cathy & Graham Thompson, Lois Sundy, Kathryn Jones, Alistair Barkla, Kirsten & Ross Corrigan (Patron).
Kathryn and LoisJim in kumara pit
climbing to pa siteAl inside pit
Jim Finer

Club Summit, Saturday 9th February 2019
6am at the Stratford Plateau saw six participants gear up in perfect conditions for our east ridge summit attempt. After a quick stop at the skifield restrooms we headed up the skifield and picked a comfortable route up onto east ridge, only seeing two other climbers. The breeze picked up a couple of times, but each time faded away to pleasant conditions. The girls led the way and made their own way up onto sharks tooth, before dropping down the chimney and finding a reasonably sheltered spot in the very different conditions we encountered on the summit. A very brisk cold wind and cloud racing through the crater meant we didn't hang around too long, and joined the masses of tourists making their way up and down the north side. We had a brief stop part way down to make repairs to Bruce's boots that had the soles both parting company from the uppers. Bev took a tumble in the rocks above Tahurangi, and suffered a sore head on the otherwise uneventful trip back to the plateau, arriving back at the cars about 3pm. Thanks to the members who helped make this day sucessful. Those on the trip: Andrea, Kathryn, Helen, Bev, Bruce and myself.
Summit 1summit 2
summit 3summit 4
Al Barkla

North Egmont, Saturday 19th January 2019

On Saturday 19th, 5 of us tramped some north egmont tracks. Having left a car at Mangaoraka car park for the return, we began at Rahiri cottage on the Waiwhakaiho track.
It was a warm day and it was pleasant walking in the bush. We heard titipounamu/rifleman frequently and sighted two. Continuing up onto Rams track to the visitors centre, we filled our drink bottles and crossed over onto Ngatoro track where we stopped for lunch. Ngatoro track is well cleared and on the edge of a large area that is heavily trapped where toutouwai/ north island robin were released. We heard several but couldn't entice any to come close enough for us to see their leg band colours.  Soon afterwards we emerged from the cool of the bush into a 28º afternoon at the carpark. An enjoyable 6 hour tramp. 
Those who came were John, Graham, Cathy, Kathryn and myself.

North Egmont CircuitNorth Egmont CircuitNorth Egmont Circuit

Andrea Shepherd

Day Walk, Sunday 13th January 2019

We kicked off our programme on Sunday 13 January with an easy day walk. 8 of us met at the Fairfield Rd end of the Walkway, plus 3 four legged friends. We walked down to the Waihi Beach reserve where half the group elected to enjoy the views while the other half walked down to the beach. We returned by the same route, a 2 hour stroll on a very warm morning. Most of the group adjourned to Flemings for hot and cold drinks, finishing off with a wine and sausages on the BBQ. This social outing was enjoyed by Marilyn and Jim Finer, Don and Judy Stockwell, Lois Sundy, Kathryn Jones, Anne Mitchell, Bev Landers, Jan Fleming and Molly, Maxi and Toffee.

Jan Fleming

Track Maintenance, November 2018

John and Helen Cooper below Hooker shelter improving the track with  DOC supplied wooden rafts. The "rafts" have to be cut to size and installed in the boggy parts.
Great work guys!


Herb Field Wander, Sunday 11th November 2018

Although a little overcast on the day, the cloud soon broke up and a mostly fine day was had. Our route was from Stratford Plateau, up the Curtis Ridge passing close to the old hut site where in 1890, Oswald Curtis built a two room hut, now long gone, then up and just past the Priests Fingers. We descended from the ridge to join the upper ski field, traversing across where we met with John, Alistair and Wietze who had opted to join us via the ski field.

 After a snack, we continued our traverse to cross over the top of the Ngarara Bluff and into the pretty valley between Ngarara and Warwicks Castle.  Although the snow had not long receded, the mountain buttercup were starting to flower and the beauty of nature’s moss carpet was enjoyed by all.  On down the valley where we soon joined the Round the Mountain track and returned via the Stratford Plateau.  Indeed, a pleasant herb field wander.

 Amanda Lockley, David Sattler, Glenys Grant, Kathryn Jones (birthday girl), Andrea Shepherd, Wietze and Rae Hoogeveen, Alistair Linn, Helen and John Cooper, Cathy and Graham Thompson, Bruce, Liam, Caleb and Jim Finer.

Curtis Hut

The following is taken from the history of the Stratford Mountain Club:

 Curtis Hut, built in 1895 by C S Curtis, T H Penn and friends, had originally been a comfortable two-roomed building partly let into a dug out bank, but disuse and general decay had made itself felt, and a large fall of earth from the bank had practically pushed the building over. In 1929 it was rebuilt as a one-roomed hut complete with open fireplace, four bunks and a table.

The first Manganui Hut was built in 1931.

The following is taken from the Mt Egmont Handbook, 1955:

Curtis Hut was built under the direction of Oswald Curtis in 1890. It collapsed on April 25, 1928. The material was sledged up by bullocks and is now incorporated in the Manganui Hut. One door, with the names of visitors on it, went to Dawson Falls hostel.

Herb field Jimherb field snow
herb field groupherb field descending
Jim Finer

Stratford Walkway, Sunday 28th October 2018

One can never tell what the weather is going to do on the day.  Four of us met at the Clubrooms with the weather looking a wee bit threatening.  Up to Stratford where it was starting to lightly drizzle.  We put our raincoats on and we crossed the main road and headed East from Colonel Malone Statue to the Swing bridge on the edge of the Stratford Demonstration Farm.  It was decided to head this way as there was more shelter from the weather.  It was very pleasant walking and we saw 3 fishermen trying their luck at trout fishing.  We had the track to ourselves.  Did we get wet? Only slightly.  After doing the loop, we stopped in at the Café at Mitre 10.  It had cooled down by this stage and a nice warm cuppa was enjoyed.   By the time we left there, the rain had set in so it was back to the cars and head for home.

Thank you Lois, Kathryn & Jim for joining me on this great walk.

Stratford walkwayStratford walkway

Marilyn Finer


Pukeiti Walk, Sunday 30th September 2018

Marilyn and Jim Finer, Graham and Cathy Thompson, Anne Mitchell, Jan Fleming, Dave and Pat McNair had a leisurely stroll through the gardens. No rain. The cafe was a good place for a "latte lunch".

Pukeiti groupClematis



Ohawe to Waihi, Sunday 26th August 2018

On Saturday, we went down to Ohawe Beach and an attempt was made to cross the river to see if it would be safe to cross but the river was still flowing too fast so it was decided that the walk would be from Ohawe to Waihi instead.

A group of sixteen plus two dogs met at Ohawe in the early afternoon. The tide was going out so it was ideal. A nice walk along viewing the cliffs and spotting a baby seal that had climbed up a slip for safety. The walk took just over the hour and two of the group turned around at Waihi and walked back.

The rest walked up to the car park at Waihi where there were cars to shuttle people back to Ohawe.

I would like to thank Alan & Irene for being our shuttle drivers and the Mitchell’s for opening up their café.

Those who joined me were Bruce, Liam, Matthew & Marilyn Finer, John Cooper, Kathryn Jones, Cathy & Graham Thompson, Jackie Shera, Anne & Mary Mitchell plus Maxi, Susanne Rawson and Tia, Alistair Barkla, Pat & David McNair.

Beach walkSealCliff

 Jim Finer


North summit climb, 6th July 2018

 Helen Cooper and I set off to the Stratford Plateau for a north climb of Egmont. Lovely sunny calm day. Some ice present on the track, nice conditions for crampons heading up the north, only came across 2 men heading down toward the lodge, became a little windy higher up, apart from becoming  rather tired the higher I got, I was very pleased to reach the summit, good views and sheltered lunch stop.

Helen suggested looking at south entrance to check conditions, looked good even to me, although in cloud, there was no wind, some firm areas, but no problem, we sidled lower down to the lower ski tow before removing the crampons, by then my toe nails were quite painful, thank you Helen, I loved having a chance to winter summit again, my first one for 2018.

Kathryn 1Kathryn 2Kathryn 3

Kathryn Jones


A North Summit Climb, 4th July 2018north summit

On wed 4th July John, Helen and myself (Andrea) left Hawera early to the Plateau for a mountain day hoping the snow and conditions would be suitable for climbing. Once above Tahurangi Lodge we geared up with crampons etc and headed up. The snow further up was the firmest I have encountered yet, another good learning experience. The day was wonderfully fine, cloud far below and much less wind than expected.

 Ours were the only footprints all day in the snow (except for those of a hare), giving that unique sense of solitude in the stunning whiteness. From the summit there was a view across to Tapuae-o-Nuku in the Inland Kaikoura Range. The wind increased during our descent and looking back we saw the sunlight on snow blowing down from the Shark's Tooth. 

A real thrill of a day, and  thankyou to John and Helen who happily share their mountain skills and knowledge.
(A note for those who haven't tried micro-spikes, they are fantastic for the icy steps/path from below the ski field most the way to Tahurangi Lodge).

Andrea Shepherd



Waiwhakaiho Track, "The Tramp that wasn't" Saturday 23rd June 2018

I cancelled the planned sunday tramp because the rain forecast for both sides of the mountain looked pretty bad for river crossings. Saturday morning looked a possibility and so the four of us able to go (Kathryn, John, Helen and myself) left Hawera soon after 7am. Assessing the weather as we drove around the mountain we decided the Plateau looked the best option. We went prepared for anything with both our tramping gear and also crampons, axes, helmets etc. Sure enough we soon found some beautiful cramponing snow and geared up.  Glenys also happened to be on the mountain and it was great to have her join us.

We had great fun. John taught me and Kathryn some new skills. Helen and Glenys tried out each others techniques, all of us enjoying the snow. The summit above us looked stunning against the backdrop of blue sky but with cloud coming around we knew it would change. It was a good chance for me to experience just how fast it can change and as the wind came at us we quickly changed our planned route and crossed below the Policeman then above Warwick Castle and onto the moss slopes.  We all thoroughly enjoyed our day and right on cue the rain began as we arrived at the cars. I'll re-schedule the Waiwhakaiho tramp for summer.

Andrea Shepherd
Photo's from Helen


Lake Mangamahoe, Sunday 10th June 2018

Nine members enjoyed this stroll on a fine but overcast Sunday morning.   Leaving the clubrooms at 9 am there was some confusion about which carpark we were starting from but we all eventually caught up with each other at the top end of the Lake, beginning with a walk up to the lookout for glorious views of the mountain looking down the Lake.   The track is a mostly an undulating ridge walk, enjoyed  a leisurely pace, reaching the road in under 2 hours.   Some walked the road to the car, while Pat and I waited for a pickup.  8 of us said goodbye to Derryn who was heading to New Plymouth, and we headed back to Egmont Village Cafe to enjoy a very nice lunch.   Those who enjoyed the walk were Pat and David McNair, Graham and Cathy Thompson, Rae and Wietze Hoogeveen, Justine, Derryn and the writer.

MangamahoeMangamahoeMangamahoe tree

Jan Fleming



Day Tramp Taihore Road, Saturday 5th May 2018Taihore Road Trip

MEAC joined with Stratford Tramping club to do an historic track in the Strathmore area.   The tramp followed the track walked by the Tarrant family from their farm to join the “main” road to Statford.   Phyllis Johnston wrote a series of books based on the memoirs of her grandmother, May Tarrant, beginning around 1910.   The first in the series, Nobody Went to Town, May was around 5 and her parents and older brothers milled the bush to eke a living farming in the Taihore Rd area.   Dave Digby was our guide and we started the walk at Popanui Rd, just before Strathmore, and followed a valley and skirted a ridge through to Taihore Rd.   A side trip was taken to see a benched track which had a logging tramway for hauling the felled timber, and to look for remains of an abattoir which weren’t found.   Great views were had as we skirted a ridge to drop down to the Taihore Rd.   After lunch at the side of the road we found our cars which had been kindly shuttled by STC member who weren’t joining the walk, at the Puniwhakau School site and drove a wee way up the road to view the house that was built by Mr Tarrant during the period covered in the book.   The walk took around 3 ½ hours at a leisurely pace, and there were 25 walkers altogether, with 8 from our club.

Jan Fleming





Club Summit, Sunday April 8th 2108

After a false start on Saturday morning for Alistair and I, we teamed up with David on Sunday morning and headed up to the Stratford Plateau. It was a leasurly start and we were up on the grass of the skifield at 8:30 and it was a bluebird cracker day very unlike the cold wind of the day before. After having a chat to a group of guys from Afghanistan who had one of them lying down flat on his back unable to descend, about easier routes for their next attempt,  we made good time straight up East ridge and enjoyed climbing the sections of rock face on our way to Sharks Tooth before tucking in down the chimney and up to the Summit for  a well earned lunch. The crater had only a couple of small sections of ice left before the early snow storm a couple of days later.  It was a good day and Alistair and I enjoyed plenty of old climbing stories from David. We ended the day with a beer and a coffee at the Mountain House. 

Al and DavidSkifieldSharkstooth
Bill McCrory, Alistair Barkla and David Sattler



Brewster Hut April 2018

 For a long time, I had looked at Mt Brewster and the hut nestled below it. I had never been in that area and it had always looked appealing and with some challenge attached to it. With an April trip, little did I realise the role that snow would play. This year, very early snow had swept up the country and dumped large deposits throughout the Southern Alps.

 Five of us, my son in law Caleb and his dad Warren, my climbing buddy from Timaru, Lex, and a friend from Mexico, arrived at the Fantail Falls carpark, off the Haast Pass Road, at 8.30am on the first fine day. All reports about the steepness of the Brewster hut track and the effort required is true. It was covered in snow in places and ice in other places. But in just over 2.5hrs it was behind us and we were at a lovely hut in a beautiful amphitheatre of mountains, that looked stunning in their fresh coat of snow. An eat and a sleep were welcome as we prepared our kit for Mt Brewster.

 The hut is very much a tourist destination, with many different nationalities arriving, some to stay, some for a day trip. It has been so popular that DOC have introduced a booking system, and we were just a week outside the booking season. There were 9 total in the hut the first night, so 3 bunks were unoccupied.

 We were up and gone at 5am the next morning heading around the skirts of Mt Armstrong and towards Brewster. It was at this stage we realised the full import of the snow dump of the previous days. We were floundering around in snow halfway up our thighs. After 2-3 hours of this we had all privately come to the same conclusion.... We were not going to get there and back in one day and that the depth and looseness of the snowpack would complicate any climbing ambitions. There was no need for any of us to be convinced, we turned around and picked a route up the closer and easier Mt Armstrong (2174m). After ploughing through gullies and over exposed rock formations for the next couple of hours we were on top of Armstrong with 360-degree views of a stunning array of peaks. The sky was clear, there was no wind, and although it was a cold morning the views were soaked in for an hour.

 The scramble down the “normal” route was interesting as the snow covered lots of traps among the rock outcrops, then slippery snowgrass lived up to its name. The deck of the hut was a sunny place for the rest of the day as we welcomed group after group of day trippers. Among them were a couple of climbers, who like us had made exactly the same decision after encountering the deep snow. Another had brought a paraglider and we spent an hour watching him waft around the mountains.

The next morning was drizzling as the following front made its way into the area. The descent was steep and full of tree roots and a real challenge in itself, with the resultant toll on muscles. The final crossing of the Haast river was bone numbingly cold. We were all satisfied with experience we had and this mountain amphitheatre. Of course, then there was discussion of the next trip on the bucket list are: Perhaps Mt Adams, or Elie de Beaumont, or .......

Armstrong flounderingArrival at Brewster HuttMore floundering

Brewster on final eveningChris and Caleb on Armstrong

Chris Barker
MTEAC member since 1969



Kapuni Lodge Track Working Bee, Saturday 21st April 2018

On Sat 21st April an enthusiastic bunch of us cleared a long section of the track from below Hillary Seat towards Kapuni Lodge. 

John, Helen and Andrea had an early start and were taking a well earned break on the seat when very welcome reinforcements arrived: Richard, his son Krzysztof, and a friend Liam. Jim, his brother Bruce and son Liam.

By lunchtime we had cleared almost to Hooker Shelter and then continued on up. Some of us finished by 2pm while Jim, Bruce and Liam continued to where the white seat once sat above Hooker Shelter.

A massive thank you to everyone who took part. We made a big difference to the track which was getting rather overgrown in places.

So focused on the task that we got no photos, so to see the evidence you'll have to head up and check it out,  enjoying no wet undergrowth to walk through. (While doing so please feel free to take clippers and continue where we left of!).

 Andrea Shepherd.



Graham at Kaupokonui hutKaupokonui Hunters Hut, 25th March 2018

We parked one car at the Park Boundary and we teamed up in Barry’s ute which we parked at the second roundabout on the Dawson Falls Road.
We quickly found the start of the hunters track situated about 100 metres up on the left.  Although the bush was wet from overnight rain, the day was fine and good time was made to the hut situated on the true right of the west branch of the Kaupokonui River.
The hut sits in a nice sunny clearing above the river where we ate lunch and set off to return back. Between the west branch and east branch of the river, there is a small lake above the track which is marked on the map.  So with GPS in hand, we bush bashed off track to find it.  15 to 20 minutes later, we achieved that goal and then picked up the track to return to the road.
Those who joined me were: Barry Greenbrook, Amanda Lockley, Werner Gut & Graham Thompson.

Jim Finer

 Pureora Forest, 9th-12th March 2018

We changed plans a little, deciding to do the complete Hauhangaroa track because the four of us, Graham, Cathy, Jenny and I had Friday free.

Amazingly we struck 4 fine days between two serious weather events. Talk about lucky!

Arriving in Pureora around lunchtime we climbed Mt Pureora, enjoying views of Lake Taupo, the hills and mountains and a glimpse of our mountain before cloud hid it.

Back down to the timber trail and we farewelled Jenny who was joining the Taranaki Mounga team who were in the northern part of the forest pre-feeding toutouwai (robins) in preparation for catching for release onto Mt Taranaki.

After all the bad press Bog Inn hut gets we were rapt to find it is a delightful real old time  totara slab hut. Full of character. And despite the heavy rain earlier in the week the only sign of the 'bog' was that the hut rocked slightly when we walked around!

Saturday we tramped to Waihaha hut, finding in the hut book that the Stratford tramping club had walked in on the Waihaha track  for lunch, hello Lois!

Sunday onto Hauhangaroa hut. With awesome views of Ruapehu, Ngaruahoe and Tongariro from the ridge.

Monday we walked out to the road end, feasting on blackberries on the way to meet Jenny.

Graham really enjoyed the variety of forest we tramped through. Cathy photographed enough brilliantly coloured fungi to satisfy her (they were stunning!) I saw and heard enough birds to keep a continual smile on my face and Jenny's team fed mealy worms to a record number of toutouwai.

We are really grateful to Jenny for doing the many hours of driving necessary.

Apart from one other tramper the first night we had the huts and tracks to ourselves. A fantastic four days that I'd be keen to repeat in a couple of years time.

For those interested, track times:

Friday 5 hours.

Sat 8 1/2 hours

Sun 6 1/4 hours and Monday 3 1/2 hours.

Pureora Andrea and GrahamPureora Bog Inn Hut

Pureora blue mushroomsPureora red mushrooms

Andrea Shepherd


Day Walk to Kapuni, with a difference - 21st January 2018

A group of people met up at Dawson Falls and from here Wietze walked up to the lodge via the track while the rest made their way up to Wilkies Pool. From here, we left the track and wandered up the Kapuni River and visited the springs at the head of the Gorge. Then up the old slip face that has re-vegetated and onto the Lodge for lunch. The kindling cracker was delivered and kindly carried up by Werner. Graham had to make some running repairs to his boot which he denso taped up the sole as it was trying to detach from the upper. A routine check of the Lodge was made and then it was back to the car park down the normal track. A pleasant stroll on an overcast day.

Those who joined me were: Wietze & Rae Hoogeveen, Werner Gut, Andrew Jordan, Jeff & Susanne Rawson, John & Helen Cooper, Andrea Shepherd, Cathy & Graham Thmpson.

Climbing up the Kapuni RiverGraham's boot

Jim Finer


Biking the Timber Trail 16th - 17th January 2018

The 85km Timber Trail is nestled in Pureora Forest, between Lake Taupo and Te Kuiti, in the Central North Island. The journey begins at Pureora Village in the north and ends at Ongarue in the south. It boasts some of the highest and longest suspension bridges in New Zealand, as it weaves its way through ancient forest, across ancestral lands of local Maori Tribes, and along part of the historic Ongarue Tramway that was formed by saw millers early last century.

Nine of us made our way to Taumaranui Holiday park (via Whangamonona Pub)  last Monday evening in preparation for an early start next day.

We met our shuttle provider Paul from Epic Shuttles who loaded our bikes onto a large trailer towed by a small bus and hauled us through to Pureora village. Meanwhile another vehicle couriered our luggage into the Timber Trail lodge. Epic supplied bikes to those who didn’t bring any.

Weather was perfect, dry with grey skies so not too hot as we climbed up and around Mt Pureora then mostly freewheeling downhill to the brand new lodge built beside the trail. The lodge provided dinner, bed, breakfast and packed lunch plus a panoramic view of the forest. It even had Wifi!

Day two was expected to be wet but the rain held off until we got home. Again it was mostly downhill with just one climb, over more swing bridges and through old tram cuttings. There were quite a few information boards depicting details of the flora and fauna as well as details of the old settlements, machinery  and mills. The final section included a spiral where the trail loops around itself with a bridge and tunnel constructed in 1923.

The timber trail is a good introduction to mountain biking with 4 having their first ride and 5 repeating.

Participating were Phil, Donna & James Cram, Jeff Rawson, Chris Young, Alistair Barkla, Alan Rogers, Cathy & Graham Thompson.

Graham Thompson



Achievement and fun in the snow.

On Monday 4 December Andrea Shepherd achieved her first summit of Mt Ruapehu with John and Helen Cooper. They drove over early in the morning to Turoa. Then it was up to the top of the Giant lift walking on several areas of snow. From here they geared up with ice axe and crampons to climb a complete snow route to the highest point, Tahurangi. Although the snow was softish they still needed their crampons, especially for the last steeper section directly below the Summit area. After a little over 4 hours they enjoyed a well deserved lunch with some rewarding views. It was great to look down onto the Crater Lake and over to surrounding peaks.

They descended a different route, initially walking along a narrow part of the Summit Ridge then dropping down to the Wahianoa Glacier. From here they traversed around to Girdlestone Col, at this stage finding the snow very soft. After drinking in the views from the Col they began descending the Mangaehuehu Glacier before traversing back around to the ski field. This was followed by an easy walk back to the carpark.

Andrea and Helen also took advantage of good snow conditions to do a climb up the South of Mt Egmont on Tuesday 12 December. They had a complete snow route from Rangitoto Flat. The snow was softish but they still needed their crampons. There were several good areas for Andrea to practise some snowcraft on the way. It was a rewarding and enjoyable day!

Andrea and John summit of RuapehuDescending the Mangaehuehu glacierAndrea at South entrance on Egmont

 Helen Cooper


Syme Hut via Tram Tracks, Sunday 3rd December 2017

Some photos from this trip up the Tram Tracks and down the mossfields.

Photogenic JimTram tracksTram tracks

Tram tracksTram tracksMountain buttercup

Cathy Thompson


Wilkies Pools Loop Track, Sunday 26th November 2017

Cathy Thompson, Kathryn Jones and Jan Fleming met Dorothy and Alistair Linn at Dawson Falls on a warm cloudy morning.   For those who haven’t seen in it, the new accessible track up to the pools, with a new swingbridge, is very impressive.   We spend some time at the pools exploring rockpools and photographing before heading back on the Wilkies Pool Loop, then onto the Ridge Walk.   3 of us returned to Dawson Falls Lodge for a coffee while Kathryn and Cathy went down to the base of the falls, meeting back at the cafe in a short time.   It was a leisurely walk on a nice day with great views of the peak in spite of the cloud.

The new bridge on the wilkies pool track

Jan Fleming


Escarpment Walk, 12th November 2017

Graham and Cathy Thompson met up with Hikmat Maaliki to check out this relatively new walkway which is part of the Te Araroa trail. We met at Pukerua Bay railway station and walked to Paekakariki. The track was very well built with 2 swing bridges and a lot of steps. We had some great views of Kapiti Island and the main highway below, but the weather wasn’t quite good enough to see the South Island clearly. We didn’t get wet and the wind stayed pretty light. There were many other groups enjoying the track. 
The 3 of us took 2 ½ hours to get to the Paekakariki railway station. Hikmat met up with his family there and Graham and I took the train back to Pukerua Bay. It was convenient having the train to get back to our car.

Hikmat & GrahamHigh above the highway

Cathy Thompson.


Waiaua Gorge and plane wreck, Sunday 29th October 2017

It was time for a walk on the West side of the mountain.  A good size group met at the top of the Ihaia Road.  From here, there was a short walk over farmland to the park boundary. The kids set a good pace out front while the wanderers made their way leisurely to the Oaonui River. As a result of the high rainfall, the track had some numerous wet and boggy areas. The bush was lovely to walk through and nearer to the edge of the river; you passed the remains of the old Oaonui Hut.

At the river, the site of the Avro Anson was explored.  There remain parts of the plane in the bush which could be seen. Some of the group then went onto the Waiaua Gorge Hut which is another 30 minutes on from the site and had their lunch and looked at the ladder that goes down to the Waiaua Gorge and river. The others had their lunch and then made their way back down to the cars where the rest joined them.
The group consisted of: Jan Fleming, Judith Mainwaring, Helen & John Cooper, Andrea Shepherd, Cathy Thompson, Hikmat, Ramsey & Remy Maaliki, Andrew & Rebecca Jordan, Jim & Marilyn Finer.
chimney oanui hutjohn cooper on chimneyladder from waiaua gorge hut becky
plane wreck 1944rimu christmas tree

Rebecca Jordan

Some history on the plane crash.

Avro Anson 4 September 1944

Despite being badly injured, Flight Sergeant Alexander Peterson pulled himself out of his plane’s wreckage and crawled seven miles down the Oaonui Stream to get help for his injured colleague. His Avro Anson trainer had crashed into the side of the mountain, near the site of old Oaonui Hut. Sgt Peterson reached a farmhouse on the Ihaia Road and a search party was sent up the mountain. The ground party could not find the plane but next morning an air search found it, dropping a smoke bomb to alert the ground team. Sgt Bruce Rough had spent the night in the wrecked plane, wrapping himself in parachutes to keep warm. The airman had a fractured wrist and was suffering shock. 
The other crew: Flight Sgt John Paterson Cummins and Sgt Maurice Roy Haycock had been killed on impact.


Climbs of Mt Egmont, good achievements for both Andrea Shepherd and Kathryn Jones!

On Tuesday 31 October Andrea Shepherd achieved her first climb of Mt Egmont. Andrea had missed out on the Club’s snowcraft weekend because of a hand operation. With John and Helen Cooper, Andrea climbed the North route from the Plateau. The snow was softish but they still needed their crampons. They observed one person trying to climb the mountain without ice axe and crampons but then having to turn back.

It had really helped that Andrea had practised snowcraft with John earlier in the month on the northern slopes up to Drinking Rock.  Because of this and having a good standard of fitness she did really well!

Earlier in the month Kathryn Jones and Helen Cooper had an enjoyable climb up The Surrey route. They started from the RTM Track going up the Organ Pipe Valley then accessing Surrey via a couloir. The snow was softish at times but hard and icy with small rime in the summit area. They enjoyed descending partly down the North then traversing around to above the Policeman and on down the ski field. This was Kathryn’s first climb of the year and a great achievement since she broke her elbow in January!

John and Andrea on summitKathryn in organ pipe valley

Helen Cooper

Awahou Tramp 8th October 2017

Our group of 8 set off from the clubrooms in showery weather. John and Helen Cooper, Cathy and Graham Thompson, Maria Cunningham, David McNair, Andrea Shepherd and our leader Jim Finer.

We drove up over lot of saddles on the Forgotten Highway to the Awahou Scenic Reserve. Andrew Jordan met us there and a car shuttle was organised.
The track starts in Taranaki but finishes in Manawatu/Whanganui. The track was in good condition but very slippery due to the recent rain. Maria was delayed at the start as she stayed to watch a group of Whitehead birds near the road. The track was mostly ridge walking with some big drop offs visible through the bush.

When we got to the McLuggage’s tunnel area the Coopers and Jim, using their local knowledge and GPS, led us down off the ridge to the tunnel entrance. The tunnel had a nicely engineered cathedral shaped roof. I was surprised how large and long it was. We all walked through using our headlamps at times. There were a lot of glow-worms on the roof. From the far side of the tunnel most of us went back the way we had come but Andrea and the Coopers bush- bashed their way back to the top of the ridge. This turned out to be a shorter route and they arrived before us.

We all had lunch together back on top of the ridge and then continued on the track back to the Forgotten Highway road. Just before the road there was a boggy area with a small but extremely muddy, steep-sided stream. Luckily our guides knew where the log crossing point was and we didn’t have to wade through!

More car shuffling and then the long drive back home. The weather turned out to be only cloudy with no real rain so the group all enjoyed a good day out.

entrance to mcluggages tunnelheading through tunnelgroup at far end of tunnel

Cathy Thompson.

Ozzies Weekend, 15th-17th September 2017

Once again we set out to have a couple of sunny days scratching the snow at Turoa, and once again we were denied by the weather. This time however we came prepared, some with bikes others just with helmets  and cash to hire bikes. So and after the obligatory morning tea at the OCR café, Jim, David, Graham & Cathy and Wietze and Rae set out on a showery afternoon to bike the Old Coach Road loop. There was plenty of wheel spinning in the mud and walking as we ascended the track then it was downhill and over the old viaduct and back to the junction and the Mangawhero walkway. It made up for the lack of skiing and was less expensive (for some).

Sunday dawned the same so it was we broke camp and took various routes home, some with a day walk first.

Shall we try again next year? May as well, got to get it right some time.

Participating were Jim & Marilyn Finer, Wietze & Rae Hoogeveen, David McNair, Jan Fleming, Hikmat, Courtney, Remy and Ramsey Maaliki,  and Cathy & Graham Thompson

Graham Thompson

Fanthams Peak, Saturday 2nd September 2017

The Fanthams peak climb is an annual climb to give recently snowcrafted members or anybody else who wants to come, some guided experience on the slopes.  This year we were set back with the weather but after a postponement, and with severely depleted numbers,  decided to go anyway into a worsening weather pattern.   

This year, Hikmat Maaliki,  plus John and Helen Cooper, and John Coplestone made the trip.

So, left Dawson Falls in mild and windless conditions, with a sweaty walk up to put on crampons at the lowest snow finger adjacent the top of the stairs.   Good steady climbing around to the south with good cramponing conditions, and into a whiteout  and decision making about where Coplestone Peak actually was.  Windchill by this time decreasing rapidly, and snow stiffening.  Climbed up the south side of the peak, then thru a fairly good whiteout to reach the - old hut site!! – oops wrong hut – adjust direction – and try to find the new Syme hut. 

Lunch inside, then decided that due to the conditions no point wandering around with only couple of meters of white mist to see, so left to try and find the way down.    Must be around here somewhere………. 

Not far down,  and out of the mist another reasonably inexperienced TAC climber appeared, and asked to join us for the way down.  We had passed him fairly close on the flat and he could hear us, but we couldn’t see him (apologies mate, can’t remember your name). 

Good snowfall on the way down,  then rain clouds below for a nice wet end for the day.

Overall an excellent day,  with excellent conditions for a new climber.  Thanks to Helen and John for the tuition and help.

Footnote - From discussions with people who had initially put names down, very good feedback received from the Snow Craft course run the previous weekend by Jeremy.  Well done !!

John Coplestone

Waitiri Road to the Daffodil Patch, Sunday 27th August

This is a favourite area for Lois and I, and we were joined by 9 others on a fine Sunday morning for this walk. An hours drive from town saw us on the Omoana Saddle. Waitiri Track is an easy barely undulating old benched road in great condition, exposed in places but with great views. It took the group two hours at an easy pace to reach the old house site. There is a proliferation of box hedging growing wild as a reminder of the long abandoned garden, and the daffodils were just showing their head, with many more yet to pop up. Probably another two weeks would have given us a better display, but nevertheless we were delighted to find them still thriving after so many years. We also noted an active predator trapping programme being undertaken by the Taranaki Kiwi Trust. The return trip took a total of 4 hours, at an easy pace. Those who enjoyed this trip were: Helen and John Cooper, Wietze and Rae Hoogeveen, Jim and Marilyn Finer, Lois Sunday, Katheryn Jones, Maria Cunningham, Julie Martin and Jan Fleming (leader).

Whanganui Markets and Westmere Walkway, Saturday 5th August 2017

I had been keen to visit the River Traders Market, held every Saturday morning near the Riverboat landing, so decided to incorporate it with a Whanganui Walk, the Westmere Walkway.   Three keen ladies joined me, Pat McNair, Lois Sundy and Kathryn Jones.   We left town at 8 a.m. and spent around 1 ½ hours at the markets, enjoying the crafts and artisan foods.   Well worth a visit, and the food market especially an asset to the locals who can pop down  on Saturday morning and buy up artisan breads, cheeses, spreads and other home made goods.
We then drive to Aramoho, to Kelvin St entrance to the walkway.   The board indicated it was steep at times and prone to be very muddy so Pat and I dropped Lois and Kathryn to enjoy the mud and we parked at a nearby bar and cafe to complete a two-bridges circuit, beginning with the railway bridge that has a walkway beside the tracks.   We didn’t think we had time to venture on to the town bridge, making it a 3 bridges circuit, so returned to the cafe and waited for Kathryn and Lois.   They arrived back very muddy, having to leave their boots at the cafe door and dine barefoot.   They reported it as an enjoyable walk with great views over Whanganui city and surrounding countryside, but very slippery and boggy in places.   After a muffin and a coffee we arrived back in Hawera around 2.30.

Jan Fleming

Lake Rotokare Sanctuary, Sunday 23rd July 2017

On Sunday 23 July, Pauline, Wietze, Rae, John, and Helen joined Jenny and Andrea at Rotokare. Not just for a walk but to experience some of what happens daily there. 

Everyone added a cleaned, newly calibrated stoat trap to their pack and those who wanted put a container of mealy worms (food for robins) in their pocket. Jenny also brought along the kiwi tracking transmitter. And Pauline her camera.

Just 10mins along the track and we were watching hihi (stitchbirds) and toutouwai (north island robins). Pauline got some awesome photos. We explored access tracks used for bird monitoring, hearing and seeing tieke (saddleback), more toutouwai and hihi and popokatea  (whitehead) as well as the more common kereru, tui, etc.

After lunch up by the predator fence we walked the trap, Jenny removing old stoat traps from boxes and replacing with the ones we'd carried. (And yep we took the old ones back ready to be cleaned next week). We saw Jim's plane fly over (some people have interesting ways of coming tramping!) Coming down another access track Jenny showed how the transmitter worked and we spent  time hunting kiwi. Back at the carpark we caught up with Pauline who had enjoyed a very pleasant day of bird photography.  

An awesome day in a very special place. And a very big thankyou to Jenny who told us so much of what is happening at Rotokare and answered everyone's questions. 

Andrea Shepherd

Airspeed Oxford Wreck, Sunday 16th July 2017

On Sunday 16 July six keen club members headed off from Mangorei Road end to find a plane wreck. Not long after starting they turned off the Mangorei Track following a route which crossed several tributaries of the Mangorei Stream. The route was marked with a variety of markers but they still needed to keep a sharp eye out for them as some weren’t easy to spot.

It took an hour and a half to reach the Airspeed Oxford wreck. The aircraft crashed on 23 October 1942 and at the time was not thought to be near the Egmont National Park. Errol Clince, a Forest Service hunter, found the wreck on 15 January 1974.

After checking out what now remains of the wreck they carried on for about 10 minutes to a spectacular waterfall on the Mangorei Stream. After a few photos followed by lunch they headed back to the Mangorei Road end. It had been a pleasant walk in the bush for Wietze and Rae Hoogeveen, Graham Thompson, Jim Finer and John and Helen Cooper.
oxford1oxford2 waterfall

Helen Cooper

Beach Walk, Sunday 2nd July 2017

This was Taryn McCrory’s trip, a walk from Waihi Beach to Ohawe Beach, but the weather was inclement and little A’ilia was unwell, so Graham Thompson met whoever turned up at the road end.   Jan, Kathryn and Lois arrived, raincoats at the ready.   Graham decided he liked the idea of a warm house and returned home.   Jan, Kathryn and Lois ventured out, with the decision to walk until it got really rocky, or rained, or both.   It actually stayed quite fine, but there were a number of quite fresh slips, some reaching almost to the water line.   Although we had selected a 2 hour window either side of low tide, it was actually quite a high tide moon, and we felt unable to distance ourselves from the cliffs as far as we wished, so when we got to a big slip that extended almost to the water mark we retreated home, having enjoyed an invigorating walk on a skittery and windy morning.

Jan Fleming

Pukeiti Rain Forest Walk, Sunday 25th June 2017

Weather forecast was for front to come through late morning at about the time 6 hardy souls meet at main gate of Pukeiti gardens. But it appeared to come through a few hours before. What to wear, everyone put on their wet weather gear. But then the sun came out just before we left and some took it off. But before we even stepped in the gate it started to rain quite heavy and wet weather gear on again. We walk through the gardens on the White track before crossing the swing bridge to the start of the tramping tracks.

Following the summit track which was flowing water and quite muddy till we reach the summit Road which we followed to summit of Pukeiti summit at 490 metres. It had stopped raining by now and views were had out to the coast on both sides. Some decided to remove rain wear before we left to walk back down the summit road to the start of the Jubilee track. No sooner were we on the Jubilee track and back on with the rain wear. Further down the Jubilee track we took the side track to the site of the paint mines where they took out oxide back in the 20s. In those days there was a tram track to this point where the cuttings were still visible.

At the junction of Jubilee and Kaitake track we stopped in the shelter there for lunch. After lunch we followed the Kaitake and Patuha track back to the garden and cars which was reach after a 3 hour walk. Those on the walk were John and Helen Cooper, Wietze Hoogeveen, Rae Hannah, Graham Thompson and Werner Gut

Werner Gut

York Road, Sunday 11th June 2017

A reasonable day saw 6 starters for this short but interesting walk following the remnants of the old Egmont Branch Railway Quarry complex. Time was taken at each interpretation board to gain an understanding of the quarrying in the national park in the early 1900s to provide metal for Taranaki roading. Much of the buildings and pipelines are still intact. We did the obligatory walk through the concrete culvert, and had a leisurely lunch in the sun at the Foot Station. Those who took part in the walk werre John and Helen Cooper, Jan Fleming, Katheryn Jones, Neil Rawson and Pauline Shaw.

New Fireplace installation at Kapuni Lodge June 2017
Kapuni Lodge fireplaceKapuni Lodge fireplace group
Thanks Bill, Helen, John, Bruce, Liam, Jim, Wietze and Rae, and Graham not in photo.

Mangamahoe MTB Park, Sunday 21st May 2017
Following a few days of  attrocious weather, Sunday the 21st dawned a beautiful fine morning and seven members met at the Mangamahoe MTB Park for a couple of hours of great riding around a selection of the parks many tracks.
Pictured at the park gate is John, Al, Tom, James, Phil, Bede and Hikmat. Thanks Phil for showing us around this great asset near New Plymouth.
Group at Mangamahoe gateJames getting airGreat day at Mangamahoe

Lake Dive Hut 6th-7th May 2017
Simon Bayliss, Andrea Shepherd and Al Barkla had a leisurely start on Saturday leaving Hawera at 10am to head up to Dawson Falls. We walked up to Kapuni Lodge where we had a bite to eat on the deck and checked out the mouse infestation in the Lodge that Jenny Rawson had been attending to. We heard reports that there was going to be a large group of Duke of Edinburgh students staying at Lake Dive that night so we headed off expecting to have to return to Kapuni Lodge to get a bunk and a decent nights sleep. However on arrival at Lake Dive there was only two people in residence so we claimed our bunks and made ourselves at home. Andrea went for a walk further along the track. More trampers turned up during the afternoon and several of us collected and cut wood as there was very little wood and no coal at the hut.
Just before dark, nine more trampers turned up so the hut was overflowing, but everyone managed to find somewhere to sleep, and a great night was had by all.
Next morning we headed back to Dawson Falls via the lower track, and were home around lunch time.
Al Barkla

Stratford Walkway Sunday 23rd April 2017

The only takers for this easy Sunday stroll were Werner Gut and Yolanda Muelmann.  I met them at Colonel Malone’s statue and proceeded first in a westerly direction following the Patea River, and then a tributary to the western extreme of the walkway which is now very well marked, no more braving electric fences crossing the farm to return to King Edward park again following the Patea River. 
We then crossed the main road to complete the Eastern Loop, which extends past the settling ponds, over the swing bridge, returning on the other side of the river.  We stopped to check for trout, often basking in pools under the bridge, but none to be seen today.   We stopped for the obligatory latte at the Inkpot café in Mitre 10, and back to the cars in under 3 hours including the café stop.  A nice walk on a lovely day with enjoyable company.

Jan Fleming

Mossfields above the Skifield, Saturday 18th March 2017

David Sattler led a club trip up to the Mossfields on Saturday 18th of March.  All day we had great weather with very occasional cloud drifting low.

We started from the Stratford car park, walked round to Tahurangi on the Round the Mountain track and then up the track to Warwick’s Castle. We went between Warwick’s Castle and Lion Rock where we had a break for morning tea and then traversed across to the upper skifield.  All the way there were delightful patches of moss, lichen, berries and flowers. Also some brilliant views of the summit, sharks tooth and Fanthams peak.

Once at the top tow we climbed below it and over to the Priests Fingers. Another break here to take in the views and then headed to Curtis ridge and back down to the carpark. The Curtis ridge track was very eroded in places – some of the washed away slots were almost as deep as I am tall.

We had a stop at the Mountain House on the way down after an awesome trip.We didn’t encounter any other people so had a very peaceful day. Thanks to David for showing us some of his favourite places.

Participants in trip: David Sattler, Cathy and Graham Thompson and Grant Upson.

Grant, Graham and David Waricks CastleAlpine plants
Alpine plantsAlpine plants
Cathy Thompson.

28th February – 3rd March 2017

Last year, John and Helen Cooper, Alistair Barkla and I decided to do the Old Ghost Road mountain biking trip. We wanted to go in late summer when the weather on the West Coast was likely to be settled. Even by booking in early November, we were lucky to get three nights’ accommodation in a row. This is a very popular trip.
I was fairly nervous about my lack of technical biking skill – fears that turned out to be well founded! Helen suggested we do the trip over four days. This would give us time to walk any gnarly sections (and walk I did!).
Helen, John and I headed down on the ferry on Sunday the 26th of February, taking all four bikes and the gear. John had put a lot of thought into how we were going to carry our gear and had fitted carriers to the bikes. To these, we would strap a 20 litre dry bag, with a five litre dry bag strapped to our handle bars. This would mean we only carried day packs on our backs.
After camping that night in Picton, we headed over to Seddonville, picking up Alistair at Westport Airport on the way. We enjoyed a good feed (I opted for the whitebait) at the Seddonville Hotel, before spending a comfortable night in the converted cloak bay of the old school – now the community-run Holiday Park.

Tuesday saw us leaving the car at Hike and Bike Shuttle around the corner in Seddonville, before ‘Bully’ transported our bikes and selves the two hours through to Lyell. We learnt a few interesting things from Bully along the way – including how to make your own insect repellent using baby oil, water and dettol. Lyell is reputed to have the biggest and best sand flies on the coast so we sprayed up large before leaving the safety of the van.
It was then I discovered why my camera felt so light – I’d left the battery behind in the charger in Hawera. Luckily Helen and Alistair had brought their cameras.
We headed up the superbly angled old dray road towards Lyell Saddle. This old road was the first part of track recovered for the Old Ghost Road and passes the remnants of gold mining settlements. There is a fascinating display about this at Lyell, which has now been developed into a DoC camping area.
The robins on the track were a real highlight, appearing every time you dismounted. Several times I had to slow down to avoid a robin playing ‘chicken’ on the road! The track wound up over 18 km through beautiful beech forest. On the way, the track passed over the ‘big slips’ where the old road disappeared in the Murchison earthquake. 
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for me to experience my first challenge – how to keep the bike down and steering in the right direction. The extra weight on the back, along with my lack of gear-changing finesse, meant that my bike kept rearing up. John was very patient and coached me through the 875 metre climb to the hut. Due to nice camber of the track, it really didn’t seem that hard, although I made hard work of it! We were pleased to make use of the ‘Lyell Saddle Bath House’ (a bucket-filled shower room) on arrival.
We were staying in one of the two private summer sleep outs. These sleep four and worked out cheaper than if we had stayed in the main hut. We were able to use the hut’s cookers to make tea.

We left early the next morning, hoping to avoid the walkers on the track. This worked well and there was no hostility between users of the track. In fact, it was a very social trip. There were more walkers than bikers, mostly New Zealanders, all having a great time.
There was a further 300 metres to climb over 12 km to Ghost Lake Hut. On the way, there were breath-taking views to the north and west over the tops and to the south and east from the hut. It’s no surprise that this is a very popular hut that is often booked out.

From Ghost Lake Hut, the hand-built track is at its most technical. The Skyline Ridge consists of large rock with big drop offs. It has a Grade five mountain bike rating. I was content to walk this four km section and enjoy the views. Alistair managed to ride the whole thing and Helen and John a fair portion of it. At the end of this section was a compulsory bike-carry at the Skyline steps – over 300 steps descending 60 metres. I was very lucky to have Alistair carry my bike down for me. It was about this time that we noted that John, Helen and I were the only ones riding hard tails as opposed to full suspension bikes. Great – another excuse for me to walk my bike during the tricky sections!
After the steps, there was a sweet downhill of 9km completing the descent of 800m to Stern Valley Hut. I was just happy to beat the trampers to the hut! We were glad to find another shower and to find that our sleep-out featured mosquito netting. Those in the main hut weren’t so lucky.

On day three, we biked along the Earnest Valley to begin another ascent up the ‘bone yard’ – a rocky section leading to Solemn Saddle. From here, there was another flowing descent down to Goat Creek and on towards Mokihinui Forks. We stopped here in the DoC hut for an early lunch before heading half an hour down the track to Specimen Point after 25km. Another superbly situated hut, this had floor to ceiling windows allowing you views over the Mokikinui river without getting eaten alive. Despite this, I was suffering from sand fly bites – many delivered in the toilet! We were pleased to have mosquito nets again in the sleep out.
The last day was spent winding high up above the Mokihinui Gorge. This cliff-hugging section was 17km. The lower gorge section followed an old track past the ‘Red Queen’ mine site.  Being the last out, I had to merely wait to be picked up by John and Helen in the car. We opted to visit the ‘Rough and Tumble’ lodge (named after the nearby stream) for a shower and delicious pizza.
John, Helen and I dropped Alistair off in Westport before heading to Greymouth. We intended to walk to Croesus/Moonlight track but persistent rain while camping in Greymouth and a deteriorating forecast meant we abandoned the West Coast. We considered doing the Dun Mountain trail in Nelson but, since we’d all done this, we opted to travel home on the Sunday ferry. All in all, we felt very lucky to have experienced settled, fine weather for the duration of our bike ride.

I can’t recommend the Old Ghost Road enough. Although it is definitely a Grade 4/5 bike ride, it is an easy walk especially if you take your time. The views are spectacular and the facilities are superb. Read more about the track here or by buying the ‘Spirit of the Stone’ book.
OGR StartOGR track
OGR viewOGR track

Maria Cunningham

Dawson Falls Area, Sunday 26th February, 2017

 An easy walk to suit all ages and explore some hidden spots that are often walked passed on the way to bigger things.

 This was the rational for this trip and yes, it was a great success.  Eighteen people joining in for a very social and pleasant tramp.

 Victoria Falls was first on the list of hidden treasures, then up the Kapuni River to Wilkies Pools and check out the new bridge.  Then onto negotiate the old and closed Konini Dell track, back to the Bubbling Springs and Dawson Falls via the Ridge Track.  Some went down to the base of the Falls while some elected to return via Kapuni Walk while the others checked out the historic Power Station and then back to the car park.

A lovely summer’s day and social out with easy walking finished with a coffee at the Tourist Lodge.  A very successful outing.

Lois Sundy, Andrea Shepherd, Kathryn Jones, Alistair Barkla, Richard Milne, Wietze & Rae Hoogeveen, Jeff & Susanne Rawson, Phil & Donna Cram, Linda & John Le Fleming, Bill, Taryn and A’ilia McCrory, Marilyn & myself

Jim Finer
Group at Dawson fallsTaryn Victoria Falls

Club Summit, Saturday 11th February 2017

Two Summits in one day. Leader Jeremy Johnston.

We all arrived at the Stratford Plateau carpark at sunrise on what turned into a great day out.

The aim was the East Ridge route to the summit with the Shark’s Tooth summit as an extra.

Jeremy led us straight up the skifield and then over to the “Policeman”. The party was unfazed by the rock hopping /scrambling involved and continued to the left of a large ice patch and up to “Pleasant Valley”.

The “Chimney” was found and then most of us took the extra scramble up to the summit of the Shark’s Tooth itself. This was a surprisingly wide area of rock considering how razor-like it appears when looking over from the Mount Taranaki summit.

The Chimney had only 1 piece of rusty wire to assist with descending but that didn’t deter anyone and we all got into the crater without problems and then made the final push to the “real” summit.

There were plenty of people on the summit and in the crater which was a surprise as the East Ridge was so quiet. We had only met a couple of other small groups on our way up.

Our group had lunch on the summit and there was plenty of time for photos and viewing the scenery on a perfect weather day.

There were a lot of people still ascending as we headed down the North side and back to the carpark.

An excellent day out thanks Jeremy.

Cathy Thompson

Those in the party were:

Jeremy Johnston, Bruce Finer, Simon Baylis, Cathy Thompson, Pauline Annabell, Brigid Annabell,  Patrick Taylor, Steve ?, Al Barkla and Andrew Jordan. We also had 3 Germans along for the trip, Katie, Hannah and Lucus.

Bruce looking back to carparkGroup on SharkstoothLooking back at sharkstooth from summit

Fanthams Peak, Sunday January 29th 2017

David Sattler led this annual trip to Fanthom’s Peak as a warmup for the club summit climb on 11th Feb.

Joining David were Cynthia and Charles Steiner, Jackie Townsend and Cathy and Graham Thompson.

In fine sunny conditions they meandered up the track taking frequent breaks to enjoy the views. After lunch at Syme hut they descended directly to Kapuni Lodge via the old track for afternoon tea. All in all a leisurely climb in extremely benign conditions experiencing Fanthom’s at its best.

 David S at Info CentreRock formationJackie TGraham T at Syme Hut
Graham Thompson

Lucy's Gully, Sunday January 22nd 2017

Graham and Cathy Thompson and Andrea Shepard joined Andrew Jordan at Lucy‘s Gully which is situated on the north side of The Kaitake’s off Upper Ahu Ahu Rd Oakura on a windy damp Sunday.

They took the Waimoku  Track up to the summit of the Kaitakes  enjoying remarkably pleasant condtions in the shelter of the coastal bush. Good views of the coast were obtained at various lookouts through the breaks in the cloud. The downhill leg was via Sefton ridge and was less steep and slippery than the uphill leg.  Arriving back at 1 pm they set off by car to Opunake for coffee just as heavy rain set in. Many thanks to Andrew Jordan who stepped up to lead this trip at short notice.
LucysTrigLucys forestTree
Graham Thompson

New Walkway to Waihi Beach return, January 15th 2017

Seven members met at the clubrooms on a drizzly and windy morning, Alistair Barkla, (barefoot), Lois Sundy, Andrea Shepherd, Marilyn Finer, Anne and Allan Mitchell and the leader Jan Fleming. We were all very impressed at the wide, sealed path, with a couple of viewing platforms to take in the views, especially of the mountain, along the way.  As we were approaching the beach the subject of morning coffee was raised, and several were regretting they hadn’t brought a thermos.  Easily solved, and after all this was one of Jan’s Latte Walks, so we ordered up the mobile cafe (Flemings campervan).  By the time we had walked down the track to the sea, and returned John Fleming had the cafe parked up and the kettle on.  After tea, coffee and chocolate chip cookies Allan took the easy option and hitched a ride back with the cafe and John and we returned to the clubrooms.  The rain held off and we all felt better for the walk.

Jan Fleming

Waihi Walkway

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