Veterans Pre-Easter Trip
Thursday 2 April 2009 to Tuesday 7 April 2009 (6 days)

The Easter Trip you have when you're not having an Easter Trip

Day 1, 2 April Departure

 After leaving Auckland, the bus people headed to the Karangahake Gorge for the Tunnel Loop Walk. Starting beside the remnants of the Crown Battery, we crossed the bridge over the river and road and entered the 1100m-long former rail tunnel. Finally emerging from the gloom, we crossed the large steel bridge over the Ohinemuri River (pictured here) and walked back along the track above the river to our starting point.
Continuing to Tauranga, we met up with the private-transport people at the Bridgeway Motel.

Day 2, 3 April Wharawhara

8.30am start and we drove north towards Katikati before turning down Hot Springs Rd where we had hoped to tramp up the Te Rereatukahia Track but found the road blocked off. Not wanting a long road bash, we returned to Wharawhara Rd and the start of that track. Crossing a stream to start off with meant wet feet but it wasn’t too bad. Met a deerstalker and his dogs coming out with a deer on his back. After a slog up a steep hill, some made it to the hut but being in the bush all the way meant no views were to be had.
We were joined at Happy Hour by an Ex-President of the ATC - Graham Macgregor, who now lives in Tauranga.

Day 3, 4 April Lindemann Loop Track

This track begins at the end of Lindemann Rd off SH2, north of Katikati. We took the anti-clockwise direction up a very good-gradient track and after approximately 2 hours there was a junction with the Wairoa Pack Track. We continued south until meeting the junction of the Lindemann Ridge Track. A few metres south from here is a kauri dam site - only an old bed log remains. A further 25 minutes on was clearing with a small shelter where we had lunch and then followed the very steep Ridge Track back down to the carpark. On this tramp we were joined by Graham.

Day 4, 5 April Mauao (Mount Maunganui)

After an extra hour in bed due to daylight saving, we were also allowed a later start and at 9.00am we set off to drive to the Mount. The wide metal track up to the summit was steep but better than the hundreds of steps we took to descend. Today we were joined by Barbara Fish. After returning to the bus we had lunch in a nearby park and then drove to the Waikareao Estuary, a unique wilderness close to the city. Boardwalks and tracks wind around the shore and mangrove tidal zones. The complete walkway is 9.5 km in length. At night we had our traditional ‘eat out’ night at the Bureta Restaurant recommended by Graham who again joined us.

Day 5, 6 April Otawa Scenic Reserve

We drove to the top of Te Puke Quarry Rd and crossed private farm land into the reserve and climbed up to Wharetetarakeho Trig with extensive coastal views. We entered the forest and followed an undulating ridgeline to Otawa Trig (2 hrs). Continued along the track which descended steeply to meet the Reservoir track at the end of Manoeka Rd and our favourite view - Big Blue.

Day 6, 7 April

We packed up under cloudy skies, but we had been so lucky with the weather (and cloud is good for driving!). The bus party had a great run back and, with a stop at Paeroa for refreshments, we were at the garage shortly after 12.30pm.

Thanks must go Peter Howard and his XYZ party who patiently waited at track ends in Big Blue to transport us to and fro. Thanks also to John Norris and Dougal Campbell for driving to Tauranga and back.
[Not to forget our thanks to Maureen and Les for their success in organising the trip and finding accommodation suited to our venerable bones - and our thanks to Barbara Tokley for investigating and selecting the varied day trips which we all enjoyed. Ed]

We were: Dougal Campbell, Sarah Wayman, Ronald Chen, Amy Chang, Cynthia Fanselow, Susan Grimsdell, John Minson, Nancy & Peter Howard, Ann and John Simpson, Anne Stone, John Norris, Barbara Tokley, Jenefer Wright and Les & Maureen Harris (scribe).