Friday 22 April 2016 to Monday 25 April 2016 (4 days)
With Anzac Day on Monday this year, this was a chance for another great Anzac weekend staying at ATC SnowSports Lodge on Mt Ruapehu. The Lodge was fully booked by the group members for Saturday and Sunday nights, with most people arriving during the day on Friday, or late in the evening with Big Blue and the weekend’s provisions.
Friday afternoon the mountain was in cloud, so a group of us went downhill to explore the Whakapapanui Ridge and Stream, commencing at Whakapapa Village, initially an easy walking track then a cairned walk along the ridge with some good views before dropping down into the stream for a while.
Saturday provided an overcast day, so this year’s Hauhungatahi trip yet again walked up into cloud, showers, and cool temperatures - some of the party went from Erua to the top, the rest of the party turned back not that far from the top. Other trips explored the Old Coach Rd, the Wairere Stream and managed some peak bagging.
With a full Lodge the lounge and dining area was a popular place as parties returned and enjoyed the evening together. Most of the ATC Hawaiian party were there to discuss their forthcoming trip in May, and pool their ideas on how to provide a presentation on ATC and NZ on arrival in Hawaii to our sister Hawaiian club.
Sunday started slowly, waiting for the weather to clear, and then one party went to visit the Stanton memorial via following the Whakapapaiti Stream upstream, another climb was achieved, and other local walks.
Monday dawned fine and clear, so after a very efficient Lodge cleanup the bus headed off to take most of the group to the bottom of Mt Pihanga 1326m via a farm track accessed near Turangi. Margaret then successfully led the group up an old track through the bush to reach the open summit in time for a relaxed lunch break on the sheltered side of the hill looking up Lake Taupo and across to the Kaimanawas - and away from the transmitting towers on the top so as to avoid that microwave effect on brain cells and sandwiches ! Views in all directions, including back towards the central mountains.
Thanks to our drivers Jim Morrow and Sue Grant, to Margaret for getting us to Mt Pihanga, and the whole group for working so well to make a full Lodge stay an enjoyable experience. Tony Walton (scribe)