Sat 6 Feb – We left the truck with the other A Party people on the Waikaremoana Rd up a bit past the Hopuruahine Landing turn off at about 11.30am. The Manuoha track started 607m was well marked with the usual orange triangles as we climbed up to gain a trig 1017m. A lot of pig fern ground cover and no moss on the trees, with the trees we could not see any distant views of the Lake. On and on we plodded up the track though oceans of pig fern and large native trees often covered with lichens and moss past trig point 1261m, we had been wearing our parkers because of drizzle rain and a draughty wind, temperatures were cool.
The last track section up to Manuoha Trig continued much the same with the tree size getting shorter, with heaps of moss and more weather beaten, there was mist that prevent looking out at the views. Getting near to Manuoha Trig we were walking through corridors of leatherwood. Colin had rushed on ahead to the hut to get a brew of tea on the go, I liked that idea. We pasted over the Manuoha Trig 1380m and continued down to the Manuoha Hut 6 bunks, 6.30pm, I was very happy to arrive there. A nice comfortable hut with 2 Maori bunks with 3 mattresses on each level, 2 metal covered benches and a new large wood stove. Outdoors the weather was cool with mist so the hut was warm and comfortable for 4 bods, we did not bother with the stove as to find firewood would have been a mission.
Sun 7 Feb – Left at 7.45am heading along more ridges in an easterly direction. The trees were short covered with moss and lichen, as the height reduced slowly the tree sized increased and we moved on through the oceans of pig fern. A few times we got limited views out to the Lake Waikaremoana. The weather improved so no parkas on and the going was mainly sloping downhill. In the afternoon we knew we were getting somewhere, passing the Kaipo Lagoon and finally a track intersection where we headed for Sandy Bay Hut. This hut is at 900m and is beside Lake Waikareiti, everything there looked beautiful as the sun went down. Simon slept inside while the others camped outdoors, the temperature was warmer, no wind or rain.
Mon 8 Feb – Colin, Paula and Simon zoomed off at 7.00am around the Lake Waikareiti Track to the Ruapani Track then out to the Waikaremoana Road, they were out at the truck by 1.00pm. The Weather was sunny and nice.
Randall left Sandy Bay Hut at 7.30am around the Lake Waikareiti Track heading to the Shelter and met the Option A party before the shelter. It was good to met them for a lunch break. After lunch it was off to the Shelter, which was a very nice ffacility where the Park staff had boats.
From here it was down a wide, easy graded track (where a 4 wheel quad bike could motor up) so the going was very easy, to tthe Waikaremoana Rd. We met Colin’s party for the road trip back to Pukahu
Colin J, Paula K, Randall G, Simon W.
Day Trippers – Mokai Tarns, Aniwaniwa area, Bald Knob and Lake Waikareiti
After the five slightly hesitant trampers set off on the 7 hour walk into Manuoha hut my party hopped back into the truck to return to the Mokai tarns carpark. We lunched there overlooking the Mokai falls after which we set off, immediately ascending through beech forest, to circumnavigate the 4 small tarns. It was evident that this area had not had the normal rainfall with only two tarns having a small pool of water – very little bird-life, the weather conditions maybe the main reason for this.
We then drove back to the old DOC visitors site and wandered down to view the Aniwaniwa falls and down to the lake edge passing the Momahaki and Te- tangi-o- Hineura waterfalls. Just inside the holiday park entrance is the impressive new Tuhoe Centre, which does appear to be a Visitors Centre. We arrived after 4.00 pm and a fellow camper gave us our bit of paper with our camping details/ password for the barrier gate (for a holiday weekend, the hours were not ideal).
On Sunday we set off to the Onepoto carpark- we counted 51 vehicles! And I silently groaned hoping that most were on the around the lake track. From the information boards to just past the shelter, the track was overgrown, breaking out onto the grassed old vehicle track. It was a cracker of a day, warm and sunny as we set off on a stiffish ascent through beech and rimu forest to the first lookout at Te Rahui Trig ,964 metres. There were plenty of viewpoints over the lake and we found a rocky ledge just short of Bald knob (1181 metres) for lunch. There we had awesome views over the lake and and watched the boats scurry back and forwards across the water. We returned the same way and stopped off at Lake Kiriopukae, which was at its lowest I have ever seen- Murry was able to walk through to the next lake. We stopped at the cemetery and the Redoubt on the way back to the truck.
Monday was a late start as the shop didn’t open till 8.00am and we wanted to top up with fuel for the truck. We then drove around to the carpark near the Aniwaniwa falls and Sset off on the wide benched track towards Lake Waikareiti. At the lake we had the obligatory photos and snacks before continuing around the foreshore to meet up with Colin’s party. It was about 30mins on that we came across a familiar face who looked absolutely shattered – we rescued this poor sole and lunched with him by the lake shore. We retraced out footsteps back to the truck where the rest of Colin’s party were waiting for us.