New Zealand Walk: Hi­hi­tahi For­est Sanc­tu­ary and Zeikes Hut walk

Walking New Zealand - - Contents - By Bob Hodg­son

Ear­lier this year twenty-two Wed­nes­day Wilder­ness Walk­ers, a group within the Manawatu Tramp­ing and Ski­ing Club, as­sem­bled in the min­i­mal pro­vi­sion made for car park­ing at the road side at the start of the track to the Hi­hi­tahi For­est Sanc­tu­ary in the Cen­tral North Is­land.

We left the car park area at about 9.30am, and made our way down the side of the large pad­dock cur­rently car­ry­ing a crop of a bras­sica to the swing bridge. On the far side we as­sem­bled for trip leader’s brief­ing.

Once over the fence into the sanc­tu­ary proper we met the chal­lenge pre­sented by the first boggy sec­tion, now (sadly?), di­min­ished from its leg­endary state of sev­eral years ago.

The next chal­lenge was the steep cliff sec­tion, the most de­mand­ing part of which has a 52m rise in 100m. (See plots). A wel­come morn­ing tea stop was taken at the top of the cliff be­fore the start of the tramp on­wards along the ridge to the trig point.

The track was over­grown be­cause of the wet weather and lack of use as it had been closed since Oc­to­ber fol­low­ing a poi­son-drop. Again, as a re­sult of the wet sum­mer and re­cent rain, the bush was beau­ti­ful in its green lush­ness but in the early stages it did make for very a wet walk. (DOC have con­firmed the safety of the tramp)

By 11.50am all of the party had achieved the trig point at 1111m from the low­est point at 740m.

We were de­nied grand views by the low clouds on the moun­tain but as the morn­ing pro­gressed the lo­cal clouds had lifted.

Most choose to have their lunch and turn at the trig point on what was a warm and wind­less day. Six tram­pers chose to tramp on­wards to the hut ar­riv­ing for a brief lunch at about noon.

All tram­pers were safely out by 2.40pm but there were many muddy bums sus­tained on the steep and chal­leng­ing de­scent.

One un­for­tu­nate tram­per (me) slipped of the lower track but sus­tained no re­portable in­jury. The con­sen­sus was that this was a re­ward­ing tramp. It was rounded off by our now tra­di­tional visit to Le Café, Tele­phonique in Tai­hape..

Re­port and GPS plot Bob, pho­tos, Mau­reen, Wil­liam and Bob.

Above left: Mak­ing their way through ferns.

Be­low left: Be­side a pad­dock of bras­si­cas.

Be­low right: Zeikes Hut.

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