Matakuhia Hut

8 May

A full van set off for the Whirinaki Forest Park, turning onto Waipunga then Pine Milling  Roads to the start of the tramp. The van went exceptionally well along the pumice roads and  DOC has placed new signposts which made navigation easy. We parked the vehicle  alongside the old Matakuhia Saddle Hut, only the concrete slab remaining.

After signing the  hut book we began a gradual descent through predominately beech forest with mountain  cabbage trees , toi toi , horopito, lancewoods, some podocarps scattered throughout. This  area was probably milled at some stage and the bush is regenerating well, especially after  the snowstorms a couple of years ago – evidence of snow damage was the mass of fallen  trees across the stream.

The track is in reasonable condition, with several areas of very boggy ground where  someone ‘s boot ended left in the mud! Alas no whio seen this trip, although the birdlife was  prolific- birds seen or heard were robins,rifleman, tomtits, warblers, tui, bellbirds, kereru,  yellowhammers,finches, waxeyes and fantails.

The hut is a basic DOC hut nestled in a grassy clearing , a pleasant spot to spend a couple of  hours on a sunny day after two to three hours easy walking time and is maintained by some  hunters. I had a wander past the hut heading towards the lower hut, initially the track was easy to  follow then it became totally overgrown. Years ago when DOC was maintaining the old Waipunga  Forest, the club made many excursions into this area, visiting both huts and three pairs of  whio were present in this catchment.

We retraced our steps, enjoying the bush, marvelling at the different fungi, as we looked  down on the Matakuhia Stream and slowly made the ascent back to the van. One of the  leaders got severe cramp about 50 metres from the van- quite spectactular, from an upright  position to a supine one – lesson to be learnt from this was to eat more and drink plenty of  WATER, of which she did neither.

Party: Anthea C, Nick W, Glenda H, Peter B, Janice L, Anne D, Daniel H, Paula K, Susan L, Karl J, Simon W and Kjelsty H.

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