Oamaru Hut, Kaimanawa Range

24 26 September 2022

Our drivers did a splendid job, arriving at the carpark beside Heli Sika about 8.30am. We disembarked, had a quick snack and a  obligatory photo shot by the Poronui Station stone gate, then trudged along the metalled road for about an hour. Once onto the grass we  followed a poled route, passed sika deer, wagyu cattle and the imposing  Lodge, before  crossing the Oamaru River and arriving at the hut shortly after 1:30 pm. We spread ourselves across both bunk rooms and Glenda, Susan and Nick wandered in both directions from the hut through open tussock country.

Saturday we waved goodbye to Glenda and Paula who had come in for the night whilst the rest of us began the wander up the picturesque Oamaru Valley towards Waitawhero Saddle. The track follows the Oamaru River across grassy river flats, then into silver beech forest. It was an undulating route, climbing in and out of stream beds, crossing a couple of tributaries before we stopped for lunch. We had passed a well set up hunters camp and soon met up with one of the hunters and his black Labrador dog- he had no luck with the deer. We returned to the hut, arriving about 2.00pm and a short while later Simon and Paul set off towards the Kaipo Swingbridge and set up camp – on the Monday they would walk out on the Te Iringa track to Clements Road.

It was a busy hut on the Sunday night with four setting up tents on the grassy clearing below the hut, a young couple slept in the covered part of the deck, a family group from Rotorua moved into the second bunkroom and three young mountain bikers slept on the floor. All were away early on Monday morning, our group retracing our route back through Poronui Station, stopping for lunch by the gums. We then drove around to the carpark on Clements Road and waited for Paul and Simon to come out.

Good long weekend, good weather, good company and a first weekend tramp for Nick. Thank you to Simon and Murry for all the driving.

Party: Glenda H and Paula K( weekend only), Murry A, Simon W, Nick W, Anne D, Jude H, Janice L Susan L and Paul D.

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