Pureora Forest Park.

14 – 16 th July 2023

On the meeting night it was a ladies tramp in a private vehicle, but after the Kaweka weather forecast for the weekend, our party swelled to five and taking the van. We left Pukahu @ 7.00am and stopped in Taradale to collect Susan. We then travelled over the Napier Taupo Highway with the scarred hillsides, derelict houses and huge piles of silt on the roadsides, a sobering reminder of that fateful day, February 14 th . Once past Taupo, we drove to our accommodation at the Pureora cabins, south of Barryville via SH30 .

Saturday we were up early and set off to the start of the Timber Trail- this was the last we saw of Simon and Nic! ( refer to Simon’s tale of the intrepid twosome). The three ladies wandered through part of the Totara walk, detouring to view the old tractor and sled which have been well preserved. We walked through a section which was private land that in the past had been milled extensively. A number of cyclists passed us as we continued to the turnoff to Mount Pureora, stopping briefly at the shelter for a snack. Plentiful birdlife- kakas, tuis, keruru, tomtits, grey warblers, magpies, paradise ducks, waxeyes were seen.

The track up to the top of Pureora reminded me of the track to the A Frame Hut in the Ruahines- a water course, lots of tree roots, some boardwalks and a lot of mud. As we climbed higher, we were into tussock country and very cold and windy conditions. We managed to get a great view of Mt. Titiraupenga and decided to drop back down to the shelter for a late lunch, and where Anne had left her gloves. We wandered back along the Timber Trail at a good speed as the light was beginning to fade. Due to the cabins being fully booked, the hot water quickly ran out and some had a very lukewarm shower.

Monday dawned and a request from the lads, after their 42km Saturday, to have an easy day. We set forth to the Pureora Forest Tower – a 10 minute walk to a 12- metre tower giving views of the forest canopy. We then went to visit the Poukani Totara- a 42 metre+ tree about 1800 years old, viewed two Steam tractor sites, and erred on the side of caution when attempting to visit the buried forest- a large tract of the road was under water and decidedly muddy.

Late morning we set off to Taupo and parked just past the harbour and walked along the recently beautified waterfront to a café for lunch after which we headed home.

A tale of the intrepid twosome, Simon & Nic’s long excursion. 

About 2 years ago the club had a tramp in to the Waihora Lagoon track, about a day’s tramp to the south of Bog Inn hut. Looking of the topo map and seeing Bog Inn had raised my curiosity about what it was really like. So we took the same route up to Mt. Pureora (1275M) as the others but went on ahead with the idea of ultimately trying to get to Bog Inn hut and return in a day. With tired feet and heads we did return to our cabin about 10 hours later. 

The Timber trail track used by cyclists and trampers, had started through low land forest. As it gained in elevation the gradient was moderated with plenty of switchbacks. At the start of the Toi Toi track up the North Western side of Mt. Pureora we see a DOC sign saying the track was no longer maintained. About 40 minutes later we were at the top in misty, windy conditions with just a hint that the sun was trying to break through. No view to speak off. 

We circled around the trig for a few minutes until we found the entrance to a heavily overgrown obscured track and a hidden DOC sign again saying the track was no longer maintained. This track heads down Mt.Pureora in a south easterly direction ultimately linking up with the Timber trail which has sidled around the mountain lower down. The top two thirds of the track is hard going, bush bashing and negotiating large washouts where once were wooden steps. The track has become a small stream. Back on the Timber trail we head further south for about an hour losing elevation until we see the turnoff to Bog Inn hut. Just off the timber trail are four eBikes and helmets in the bush. Who will we see? 

The closer we get to the hut the boggier it gets. but we are at the hut around 1:15pm, having left at 8am. The hut is built with rough sawn timber and dates back to early 1960’s. I see few items of gear left under the roof at the back door. A gentle rub of the walking pole across the corrugated wall brings out surprised visitors from the hut. A family of four were the owners of the eBikes and were just finishing their lunch. 

As the day goes on the weather has improved and we retrace the track back to the Timber trail after a quick lunch break. The eBikes are gone, but now at the track junction are two small groups of trampers who have been out overnight, stopped having a break. The track climbs back up to point where we came down from from Mt. Pureora. From here we sidle around the mountain at 970m, seeing and hearing numerous small water courses draining off the mountain. On this part of the track we see and hear many Kereru enjoying the native tree tops. At one point we get a brief glimpse of the western side of Lake Taupo. 

The downhill return to the low land forest is uneventful, but I’m looking forward to a good rest. It’s getting quite dark in the forest, but we exit it just on sunset. Thank you Nic for going the distance to find out.

. Thanks for the company visiting one of my favourite places. Party: Simon W, Susan L, Nic W, Paula K and Anne D.

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