A brief account of recent trips is given below. Use the links in the account for the full report of a tramp or for all the 2018 trip reports, or older trip reports, use these links:
For recent trips see our Facebook page for photos of the tramps
In February we were back to our normal schedule of two Sunday/weekend tramps and one mid week tramp a month.
Early February we made an extra long weekend, from Saturday through to Waitangi Day, to visit the WhirinakiForest staying at a camp near Te Whaiti Road at the northern end of the forest. . From the camp we did day walks which included the Whirinaki Waterfall loop, the H Tree Loop walk and the Arohaki Lagoon walk .All who went enjoyed the scenery, the facilities, the bird life and the walks.
Mid February saw us head to Khyber Pass, near the RuahineRange behind Tikokino. We drove to the end of Mill Road, walked the DOC track to the river bed, then pushed through the buddelia and lupin to the edge of the TukitukiRiver and headed downstream. The water was warm and, maybe because of the long hot summer we have had, there was much more algal growth, the water was more turbid and rocks more slippery than when we were last there in January 2014. It was still enjoyable though, much better than climbing up hills with temperatures in the high 20s.
At Khyber Pass the TukitukiRiver passes through a 50 metre long by 6 metre wide chasm which we arrived at around noon and after a walk through it we settled down for lunch. The day was hot, the water warm and a swim was had by some to cool off in a good pool just downstream of the pass. After lunch we made our way back upstream and had a quick immersion just prior to leaving the river and returning to the truck.
The mid week tramp was also a water tramp. This time we visited the EskRiver, walking down it from Ellis Wallis Road on a hot summer's day.
There have been tramps every weekend in January. The first was a day walk from Blackhead Beach northwards, passing the Aromoana settlement to the point a bit further along. The king tide put paid to investigating the rock pools in the Te Angi Angi Marine Reserve but we did see a good range of seabirds and enjoyed the hot sunny weather
On our return to town we detoured to Mount Herbert Road in Waipukurau and did the short walk to view the new walking/cycling bridge over the TukitukiRiver.
Our second tramp was also away from the bush and was across farmland to the south- east of Havelock North. We started the day driving part way up Kahuranaki to the farm track that takes one down to a fisherman's bach beside the Maraetotara Stream. We started walking just short of the bach through a paddock of kale to get to the Maraetotara Stream.
We followed the Maraetotara Stream, initially through trees then through farmland, down to Mokapeka crossing it a couple of times (plus a number of electric fences). Since 2002 there has been a lot of effort by the local land-owners, the HB Regional Council and the Maraetotara Tree Trust removing willows, fencing and revegetating the riparian strips with natives to improve water quality and to make a corridor for wild life and currently about 50% of the stream banks have been planted. Our day ended with a lovely cup of tea and scones provided by our hostess at Mokapeka.
For the third weekend in January we travelled to the western side of LakeTaupo to walk in to Waihaha Hut for Saturday night. We again were treated to hot sunny weather and enjoyed the walk in through a variety of forest types from scrubby reverted farm land through to lush beech and podocarp forest around Waihaha Hut.
The WaihahaRiver is an important feature of this tramp: at Highway 32 it is a placid slow moving river but half way to the hut it cascades down through a convoluted pathway that it has worn through the volcanic rocks of the area - very picturesque.
The walk in to the hut took just over 3 hours so we had time to explore beyond the hut in the afternoon and in the following morning prior to returning to our cars. We were treated to a great variety of bird life in the area, including a tom tit whose role in life was to remove any insect attracted to the hut's windows, 5 kaka on Sunday morning and the calls of Long Tailed cuckoo and Kakariki. We met 14 others visiting the hut over the weekend 2 cyclists on Saturday and another 2 on Sunday, two groups of day walkers on Saturday and two more walking in on Sunday plus another couple who stayed night with us at the hut.
The last tramp in January (again hot and sunny) was to Ferny Ridge in our own KawekaRange.
Ferny Ridge is the last ridge in the KawekaRange overlooking Puketitiri before you hit farmland.
We started our tramp in the saddle not far past the Lotkow Road turnoff and followed a hunters track which sidled around and then down to one of the headwaters of the Anawhenua Stream. We did lose the track in places so at times it was a bit of a bush bash.
From the stream we climbed north up a ridge that lead to high point 895, eventually finding the
track again. There are good views in all directions up there and after a good look around we followed the track (all the way this time) back to the saddle where our truck was parked