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Trip information, past trips and contacts for Wanderers Tramping Club

This page shows Club trip reports

Private Trips Reports

Click here to jump to a page that contains reports and photos for trips that were not part of the Club Program, particularly those trips that go far afield and take more than a weekend. These accounts can inspire members to do their own trips, or merely entertain them.

Whakamarama 26 September 2021

Despite the gloomy weather forecast, ten keen Grade 2+ trampers, led by Colin and Grant, set off to the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park for a supposedly six hour walk. The plan was to do a loop, starting on the Leyland O’Brien Tramway Track, leaving the track to take a scantily marked route to Salvation Hut, then upstream to a nearby waterfall (location to be determined) and back to the van via the Ngamarama track.

The tramp started with raincoats, ponchos, overtrousers, and umbrella (for a sleepy yawning Aaron), but the happy trampers still set off with such enthusiasm that ten minutes later we found ourselves back at the van having discovered we had walked the short loop track and we all missed the right turn at the junction to the Leyland O’Brien Tramway Track.

The second time was a little more successful and we were so enjoying the beautiful native bush we again missed the trail on the right that would take us across the stream and onto the route to Salvation Hut. Not to be dismayed, we turned back, found the trail, waded through the stream, climbed up the rise and the trail seemed to end.

Our leaders felt that maybe this wasn’t the correct spot to cross the stream, so we retraced our steps through the stream to get back to the Leyland O’Brien Tramway Track and carried on walking further in the hope of finding where to cross the stream. Without sufficient markings, nor any signage, we were at least able to enjoy the historical significance of the area noticing remains of the tram line and a set of bogie wheels on the side of the track. Colin and his GPS were an enigma to the rest of us and he also appeared to be a little perplexed by it all, but on seeing the bogie wheels, he optimistically declared “Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way!” Continuing on and not being able to find the trail to cross the stream, our fearless leaders thought that perhaps that where we had originally crossed the stream was perhaps the right place to cross, so we doubled back and crossed that stream for the third time that morning. The clever ones at the back of the group who were smug about not getting their feet wet the first time, soon lost their dry feet as this was indeed correct. Our leaders were able to find the trail and carry on.

We had no difficulty locating Salvation Hut but were thankful we weren’t relying on it to accommodate us. It is a private hut built by a father & his two teenage sons in either the late 1960's or the 1980’s (websites disagree) which sadly has not been maintained but we all agreed should be renovated as it would have made a wonderful coffee station on a cold wet September day. A recent Hutbagger review shared that the hut “Is in a pretty sorry state. Would rather sleep on the ground outside...” Needless to say, this was not the place to shelter indoors for a lunch stop. Instead, we stopped at a nearby clearing and the weather gods gave us a hint of sunshine by which to enjoy our sandwiches. We realised at this point, we had only done 1/3 of the loop so it was going to be a short lunch break and a long day.

Off we headed to find the waterfall with no name, through what is known as the Long Swamp which lived up to its name; swampy, boggy and very wet underfoot. Little did we know this was tame compared to what was to come. The trail seemed to end at the river, so the logical thinking was that we needed to walk upstream to find the waterfall. Half of us set off whilst the other half rested on the bank, happy to watch the others get wet. However, two of us turned back when the water got above our knees and left our two fearless leaders with newbie William to carry on.

These three eventually arrived back having abandoned hope of finding the waterfall and assumed we would be able to find a trail running parallel with the stream which should get us there. After a couple of forks in the trail, both of which were dead-ends, and no markers, it was back to the river and the realisation the river was the trail and it was deeper than expected due to the torrential rain. It was at this point our intrepid leaders were renamed Wallace and Gromit – they were taking us on a day filled with unexpected twists and turns for which there was always a solution. So, everyone gingerly made their way upstream trying to dodge the most slippery of the rocks. Eventually we found the trail leading up from the river to take us over the ridge. Not to be outdone by that waterfall, our intrepid leaders didn’t take the trail but carried on upstream to see how much further it was to the waterfall, and soon discovered that on their first recce, they had only just missed the waterfall as it was just around the corner.

Wallace (Grant) eagerly made his way back to the trampers waiting on the riverbank and encouraged us to carry on that extra 50 metres upstream to see this little piece of paradise. “You’ve come this far, are already wet, and it’s just another 50 metres”. He was of course correct. It was a magnificent little Garden of Eden – mossy banks, ferns, clear water and what would have been a fabulous swimming hole had it been a little warmer. Definitely worth the effort.

After this pleasant interlude, it was back downstream to the trail that climbed up and over the ridge. The trail subsequently met the Ngamarama Track which was very well marked and easy to follow but that was when the true Kaimai mud began. It was ankle deep, flowed into the boots of those without gaiters and there was no escaping it in the cuttings where the only way to get one’s foot out of the mud was to drive the other foot in for leverage. And when the mud wasn’t quite as deep it was slip, slip, slippery. Some of us had reasonable mud skiing skills, others didn’t fare quite as well. Stone hopping was avoided in the next few streams as we all tried to find deep water in which to rinse off the boots, which fortunately coincided with an improvement in the grading of the track and some welcome gravel and steps. This obviously meant the van wasn’t too far away and after 8 hours 15 minutes we all found ourselves a rock to sit on and gladly removed the wet mud-caked clothing and boots.

A big thanks to Wallace and Gromit for A Grand Day Out. A long day but there was a lot of fun and laughs were had by all – Colin, Grant, Aaron, Ron, Tony & Rose, Carol, Glenys, Lynette and newcomer William.

Lynette

Waiomu Grove Walk Thames: Grade 1 +                  1 August 21

There were 11 trampers who arrived in the van at the Waiomu Reserve around the Firth of Thanes for a delicious shared morning tea – complete with table cloth! A while later there were 11 happy trampers, after they had all eaten well and enjoyed the sea views. Returning to the van, they were driven to the start of the planned walk. 
 
Although it was a little cold it was a beautiful day as we waded through the ford crossing, mostly without getting really wet feet. It was the only river crossing, as bridges had been built over all the other traverses on this trail. 
 
Next, we walked the main forest track to the location of a stand of mature kauri, one in particular which stands majestically tall and straight, where we sat and had lunch. The earlier part of the tramp in particular was very scenic, with spectacular bush, a clear, sparkling river and sunshine transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. It was sheer pleasure just to walk and enjoy the day and the congenial company. 
 
Then came the Plus bit of the tramp! There were wooden steps to climb, up to the ridge, to view the magnificent kauri. Actually it wasn't too bad, as we had plenty of time to climb at our own pace. Sitting by the huge kauri was a good spot to have lunch. Some of the more energetic of the group enjoyed walking further up the hill and caught up with the main group within half an hour. The journey down was no problem, with a few options of side trips for the hardy, and we got back to the van in good time. 
 
There was an opportunity to change, if necessary, and to take off our boots. Then back in the van once more to head for home. As usual, we stopped for treats on the way, and there were 10 happy trampers (one person didn't indulge) eating large ice-creams!
 
Thanks go to those who did the survey: Keith, Dianne and Pam, and for the leaders on the day. And a special thanks to Dianne who did all of the driving. It was a very pleasant day out in the bush, away from the noise and busyness of Hamilton. 
 
Margaret Standing

Summerhills Sunday 18 July 2021

On this Sunday morning 16 keen trampers met for the trip across to Papamoa for the Summerhills Park tramp. Despite the appalling weather the day before, it looked like we would get most of the day in before the rain which was forecast for the afternoon.

The Summerhills park was very well set up with toilets and large carpark areas. The path from the carpark was steep and there was a bit of puffing on the way up, but the track was nicely made and wide with several lookouts where we could catch our breath and see some magnificent views. It was cloudy this day but on a clear day you can see through to Whakatane. 

As we reached the top the wind hit us and it was pretty blustery. After each of us found a sheltered spot we regrouped, and those who were keen on some more exertion moved across the farmland to a bush area while the rest went back down to the carpark. 

Once in the bush we were out of the wind and it was an easy walk through it, coming out at another carpark on the other side of the farm. Here we read about the park and the family who had set it up as a recreation reserve for the public, with many walking and biking trails. The total area is much bigger than the walk we did, with 126 ha in total containning many biking tracks as well as a track for walking around the whole park.

As the rain had begun by this time we decided to head back to the vans, crossing farmland and even seeing some new lambs. We stopped for lunch near the summit where we enjoyed views of the coast back to Mt Maunganui and Tauranga. The wind was still blowing so we didn’t linger for very long, but by the time we were back at the vans the sun was out. 

We then headed for the Welcome Bay Hotpools for a dip. The pools were very smart, and we enjoyed a soak in the sun while we watched the clouds build again. After an ice cream we headed back to Hamilton in the rain thankful to get our walk in during the brief period of fine weather.

Thanks to Brenda for organising and to Dianne, Ron and Carol for driving.

Catherine 

Lakes Okareka & Tikitapu 4 July 2021

Two vans and a car left Hamilton at 7.30am and headed towards Rotorua.  First stop for morning tea was beside picturesque misty Lake Okareka, where we were briefed on the day ahead.  We all climbed aboard the vans again and drove a few minutes up the road to start the Okareka Walkway excursion.  It was quite chilly to start with but a brisk walk along the boardwalks soon had us warmed up.  It was a ‘take your time and enjoy at your own pace’ walk to the outlet and return.  The blue sky was reflecting beautifully on the water and the hills covered in bush and farmland made for stunning views.

Once all back, we boarded the vans and were off to Lake Tikitapu, where on arrival we all sat on the tiered grass bank and ate our lunch.  Was a great spot for a picnic and while we were here the duck bus/boat came and drove into the lake adding a bit of entertainment for us.  There were dozens of friendly fantails flitting about on the grass, almost like we weren’t even there.

Once fed and watered we started off around the lake on a very pleasant, established bush track.  It was relatively flat with a few small ups and downs. A short while in we turned left and went down towards the lake on a small side track to a hidden away beach.  We retraced back onto the main track and then further around we came across a carpark with a raised viewing area where both the Tikitapu/Blue and Rotokakahi/Green Lakes could be seen. 

From here we descended back down to the lake edge, pausing at a scenic, secluded sandy beach, and then headed back along the main track through the bush.  While on this part of the track we could see the floating wetland that acts as a barrier and wave mitigation between the recreational area and the ski zone on the lake. A very interesting concept that was built by the Rotorua Waterski Club.

The last part of the track was along a path on the road edge. Everyone enjoyed their ice creams and coffee from the campground shop before we headed off back to Hamilton.  This was a fantastic day out only enhanced by the stunning weather. Thanks to Dianne, Keith and Pam for their organising and the drivers who got us there and back safely. 

               Brenda

Pirongia 6 June 2021

Wilson Clearing/Bell Track – G2

Two vans of Wanderers, down in numbers due to the inclement weather, set off to the Limeworks Loop Road and the Kaniwaniwha Reserve Carpark.  Leaving the G1’s, eight of us G2’s headed off walking beside the Kaniwaniwha Stream on the Nikau Track.  After crossing a bridge, we turned off into the bush crossing the Blue Bill Stream to climb up very steeply.  It was a bit tricky because the satellite coverage on Grant’s phone app was fading out often, plus finding the tape and ribbons wasn’t easy.  We had to do a bit of bush bashing to find the track. 

Carrying on up we came across a clearing, and then walked out towards the paddocks with bush on one side and a good view looking out over the farms.  Heading on down through the bush we eventually came to Wilsons Clearing where we had lunch.  It rained a bit in the afternoon, which made the track slippery and more difficult underfoot.  Coming out on to the Bell Track was easier because it was well marked.  We had to be more careful because it was mostly downhill which made slower progress down towards the swing bridge.

A few of us went to look at the tall kahikatea, then it was onwards to the cave.  Five of us took our packs off and entered.  It was narrow in places and wet underfoot but we all got through, climbing up a ladder to get out at the other end.  We then made our way back along the track and returned to the van.

No ice creams on the way back – just straight home due to the miserable weather.

Thanks to the drivers Carol and Grant and Grand for the interesting tramp. 

Ron

Pirongia 6 June 2021

Bell Track – G1

After a very early morning tea in the carpark seven of us set off in high spirits for a good day in the bush.  As we got close to the forest we were overtaken on the track by two people with seven very excited but well behaved dogs. 

Once on the Bell Track we headed for the caves which we inspected but did not enter. We then continued on to the giant kahikatea tree.  A short distance from this giant tree we encountered a large bog hole which took up the full width of the track.  As it was deemed unnegotiable the decision was made to turn back at this point.  We returned to the Nikau Loop track and completed the full circuit of this lovely area of tall forest.  We came across many interesting fungi on rotting trees and it was here that Alison discovered a rare and possibly unrecorded plant which was promptly named Alisonium in her honor.

Despite the forecast of bad weather we completed our tramp just before the rain arrived and we returned home dry. 

Many thanks to Dianne and Alison for a most enjoyable day out. 

Roger Mc

Hakarimata 9th May 2021

There were 9 members aboard the van for this close-to-home trip, and two visitors were going to join us at the Ngaruawahia car park. Then the fun began. The bulletin described one trip, but an email had been circulated describing three options. Who would go where? We all went up the track that led to the old quarry. Not many of us knew about it, and nature has been reclaiming it, but it was an interesting and quite scenic location.

From there two returned to the base of the hill, taking in the walk to the historic dam and its environs. They then drove around to the Waingaro Road car park and walked in from there. They went up the track a little way and then retraced their steps to the picnic area and to the cascades. As the weather was not the best, they enjoyed their lunch in the comfort of the van.

Two others returned to the base of the hill and then went up the steps, as the original write up suggested. They were greeted at the top by the remainder of the group.

The remainder of the group had continued a little further along the quarry track and then dived off to the left into the bush. It was uphill of course, but a true tramping track, coming out at the lookout. Only a few went up to enjoy the misty view. After lunch this group went off to meet those coming up the stairs.

Unfortunately, one member had twisted an ankle on the way up so the descent was a bit painful, but he managed it and was thankful to see the van come into sight. DOC have been working on this southern track putting in lots of steps and a gravel path. It has lost a bit of its wilderness feel but the track is now more accessible to a wider range of people venturing into the bush.

Thanks to Grant and Ron for incorporating the quarry track into our day which was shorter than usual but a very nice day out.

Carol

Old Reservoir Road. Sunday 25th April 2021

Getting up early Anzac day is something most of us will have done, but while I couldn't go to the local dawn service I listened to the broadcast on National Radio of the service held at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park as I ate my breakfast.

On arrival at the carpark I was greeted like a long lost wanderer – maybe I am, last time I was out with the club was Aug 2019.

The day was a bit cool to start, with heavy dew on the grass, but we soon warmed up as it was a steady climb most of the morning. The track goes past the old Paeroa water reservoir (1929-1959), on what was the original coach road to Waitekauri. Morning tea was in or around a door-less tin shed?hut that Grant said was something to do with the local scout group. We didn't see the small lake that is somewhere nearby.

About 1130 we came out onto open farm land with views towards the Firth of Thames. We stopped there to learn about the native passion-fruit vine (kohia or passiflora tetrandra) and its fruit, which some sampled.

Then across the boundary fence and into the bush – once we found the correct spot. From now on it was ‘find the tags”, which varied in colour and age. The afternoon weather cooled down a bit and we had two brief showers. Some nice, easy bush walking was followed by a steep and slippery downhill - there were a few slides taken by several of us. One trekking pole even broke.

Near the bottom of the hill six of the 9 headed off to find the old coalmine, not really knowing what to expect. We came across some coal slag, and some man altered landscape. The coal was discovered in 1875 – there were two seams overlaying each other about 50 ft apart. The coal was delivered to Paeroa in wagons pulled by bullocks.

It was along this bullock track that we walked out, after we found the beginning of it. Much of it has succumbed to the damp undergrowth and a few slips, so not always easy walking. We had brief company of two dogs and their pig hunter – but no pig.

Thanks leaders Grant and Ron, and everyone else for the company.

Lorna

Strawberry Trees 23 May 2021

I led this group of 20 people on a loop track that I had done many times before, hoping this time to see the legendary drunk tuis feasting on fermented dogwood fruit at the site of a long disappeared mining village. Carol confirmed to us all at the start of our trip that she had seen this sight before.

We soon straggled into different groups, filtered by our energy levels up the initial farm track. However I diverted from the bulldozed track after the first steep bit, on to the old track that is steadily being reclaimed by gorse but which is a much better grade and more interesting. I had secateurs, which served the dual function of clearing our way, and slowing our progress to hold back the energetic ones so we remained more as one group. The only problem with this route was where the old track joins the new one, because at this point we had to scramble up a loose mixture of dirt and tree fragments. Entertaining, for some!

Back in the open, with a little sun and good views, it was a suitable place for morning tea.

Up a short hill section again, and we left the farm track on to what had once been the main road over the hills. Wide, almost flat for hours, with points of interest and with some wallows created by vehicles. One tree, a pukatea (?) had a very odd shape, as if it had been trimmed like a poodle. The track went through a short tunnel, where boulders waited to trip those without some kind of light.  We followed a plastic water pipe till it disappeared into an old mine. A side track went to the left, and appeared to be very well used, causing us to speculate on where it went and why it would be used.

A convoy of about 6 four wheel drive vehicles caught up with us, and exchanged a bit of banter. We had what we thought was the last word when our feet proved to be much more adept than their wheels when they were stopped by a set of deep water-filled trenches dug by their predecessors.

After about an hour we reached the turnoff to the Maoriland Battery site, where some of us left to see what was there, while the rest went slowly on to the lunch stop. The group that went down to the battery site missed seeing the ripe fruit that Grant found somewhere about here.

It is almost 100m vertical distance down to the stream bed, on a track that had been cut by bulldozer to pull out the well-preserved best bits of the machinery. Much further than most of us expected. There is not a lot left of the battery – some castings, lots of steel bars, and some beams. Three of us crossed the stream and found the remains of a stove and oven made of lots of bricks. Just below this in the dense bush are the steel bands that once held together the staves of the 4m diameter cyanide tanks.

Up out of the stream and back on the track the next point of interest was the “Weta Cave”, a short, dry adit with a fine population of cave wetas.

By this time we were ready for lunch, but I persuaded the team to follow me to see a large pine tree on an indirect route to the lunch spot. Some scepticism about large trees was dissipated when they saw it. Lots of holly and some ivy was in this spot, too. A few minutes later we caught up with the rest of the party at the dogwood patch, huddled up trying to keep warm, having finished their lunch and ready to go.

There were no drunk tuis, and very few fruit. We gobbled our lunch and the whole party got on the move again.

Up a short slope, then a sharp turn to the right, and we were heading mostly downhill again. An old pine forest had large orange toadstools (Amanita muscaria, or Fly Agaric) to entertain the photographers. Then out into open gorse hills.

Our survey had shown up that an old walking track still existed, to bypass the rather steep and slippery bulldozed track down the hill. We took this route, some finding it a bit challenging, but there was no hurry and we all made it. We split into two parties after we regrouped at the top of the hill, because some were keen to visit the site of the Jubilee mine battery. I led the relaxed group directly to the vehicles.

Not long after getting back to a farm road again we had a problem. One of us slipped on the loose road metal, and twisted her knee. It seemed to be just a bruise at first, but it quickly became apparent that she was unable to walk the 1500m or so back to the van. The farm track was in good condition for vehicles, so I took off with a key and a gate-opening companion to attempt to bring a van up to where she was resting. On the way down I was looking at the grade of the road and feared that bringing up a 2 wheel drive could be difficult on the steep bits!

We got to the van in quick time, and were just about to open the farm gate when the 4-wheel drive convoy of earlier in the day drove up, with our patient smiling in the front vehicle. I was very relieved to not have to find out if our van and my driving was up to the challenge of the farm road, even though I was also forced to admit that 4-wheel drives had their uses.

Half an hour later the Jubilee mine group arrived, having achieved their objective.

Another very good day out.

Ray Hoare

Broken Hills G2 11 April 2021

A full van of 12 set off from Hamilton with a forecast of rain ahead, but luckily when we reached Tairua the sky was clear.

We set off up a pretty steep hill in good spirits, and with the humidity at about 105% we were soon feeling the heat, with some of us leaking as much liquid out as we could take in. The climb was a bit of effort but rewarded with great views, even at the lookout, despite some low hanging cloud around.

Once we got the climb over with it was a pleasant trek through the bush and amazingly, once we turned on to the track towards Collins Drive, the temperature was quite different and a relief from the humidity. A bit slippery in places, we reached the tunnel to walk through to the other side. We found glow worms and some large cave wetas; amazing to get up so close to them. The tunnels were so cool compared to the outside temperature - a really interesting thing to experience.

Once through the tunnel we met the other group coming up, but we proceeded down the third branch track, stopping to check out various mining sites and shafts. We stopped for lunch in a sunny spot with pleasant views, then carried on to the water race track and back to the carpark.

We had made good time so took the chance to check out the Broken Hills and Golden Hill batteries, again marvelling at the cool air coming out of the various tunnels, which was so much colder than the outside air and really nice to pause at.  We then headed home with a stop in Paeroa for ice creams and coffee.

A very interesting and informative trip, thanks to the organisers and drivers of the day.

Catherine 

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