Extended Trip - Saturday 21 February 2015 to Friday 27 February 2015 (7 days)
Saturday 21 Feb. Drive from Turangi and thru the back and beyond . We started at Holdsworth Carpark at 11am, the track is very manicured with lots of bridges all the way to Atiwhakatu Hut where we stocked up on water (we were told there was a shortage of water in the hut). We climbed 700 steep meters and were met at the bush line by howling gale force winds and the hut shortly afterwards. Total time 3.15 instead of the 5.30 that DoC advises. Being Saturday the hut was full of Wellingtonians who didn’t flinch everytime the wind shook Jumbo hut.
Sun 22nd- From Jumbo and followed Mt Holdsworth ridge in clouds most of the time. It cleared as we descended from Mt Isabelle. The decent to Mid-Waiohine Hut was traumatising for our knees. Total walking time 4.45
Mon 23rd - We left Mid-Waiohine at 8am in drizzle and climbed the 1000 ‘Tararuas steep’ meters to the ridge in clouds, no wind and at the top just a breeze. Mangahuka hut is by a nice tarn but nobody was interested to go for a swim at the end of the day.
Tue 24th- Clear morning, yeeepee!! Started from the hut at 8am. Crossed the Tararua peaks and walk the rest of the morning in a nice easy ridge. We had great views until it clouded up an hour before Kime Hut (pronounced keemee between us). By now finding the hut in the clouds is starting to be a habit. Fortunately by 7pm it cleared and everybody in the hut went to see the sunset and the great views. 4.5 hrs
Picture- Mt Hector (left) and W side of Dress Circle
Wed 25th- This day we got our money worth of ‘Tararua experience’. We left the hut with not much visibility and 80km W winds and stayed like that until we reached the bush line and Alpha hut. The famous ‘Dress Circle’ was there but we did not see it.
Thu 26th- Left Alpha hut at 7am, high clouds. The track to Totara Flats hut is very good so it took us 7h, stopping to talk to a ranger that had been dropped off by chopper by Cone hut (very historical hut) and lunch by the river. Totara Forks hut is nearly a lodge, new and in a great location. We shared the hut with a Wellingtonian and our adopted English guy that need a lift to civilization the next day.
Fri 27th- Left the hut by 6.15am and were at the car by 9.30am or so. Then, coffee and scones all round in Masterton. We also stopped at Turangi for another hydrated meal and then all the way to Thames and Auckland.
Picture: Willi, Rob and Graeme with typical Tararua pose.
Overall a great trip and gentle introduction to scary Tararuas. Thank you all for a fantastic week.
We were: Graeme McGowan (Leader), Willi Williams, Rob Worley and Alex Sancho (Scribe)