A warm sunny evening greeted our group as we departed Wellington on the Friday night. We stopped for dinner at the yummy Turkish restaurant in Carterton before making our way to the Anzac Campground near Norsewood. We arrived after dark meaning we had to set up our tents with our head torches on, but as it was so warm, it was no worry.
Maarten said it wasn’t a very long hard day, so on Saturday we had a relaxing morning and got on the track at 930am. This was the main up-hill part of the trip, but possibly because we were fresh, we got to Longview hut in no time.
After a quick morning tea break at Longview hut, we headed across the ridgeline before starting the descent to our hut for the night, Makaretu Hut.
Walking along the ridges was an incredible experience for those who were new to the area. The weather was beautiful so across to our right you could see the defined lines of the multiple ridges and mountains in the distance and to the left the plains stretched for miles. And not to mention the wind! It was so windy walking across the ridgeline, making it impossible to talk to anyone as you had to focus on keeping upright and on the track. It didn’t last for long and wasn’t unmanageable and actually, once we got off the ridges, it was amazing how alive we all felt!
Once down the bottom of the hill, you could see a bright orange hut through the trees – ah, it is always a great feeling to see the hut. It was very relaxing lying in the sun, chatting and reading with a cuppa. Everyone helped with the evening meal which was a tasty noodle dish.
Sunday morning started with some wind and light misty rain. With breakfast done and Makaretu hut cleared, we started along the river towards Happy Daze hut. The river was slow and offered some cool relief as the afternoon grew hotter. As a newbie to river travel, I found a walking pole was pretty much essential. Luckily, I made it through the morning with only a few minor slips, often occurring when I was not paying attention because I was distracted by the views. After an hour and a half along the river, we reached the trail that took us up to Happy Daze hut – a steep incline at first but led to a clearing and hut perfect for a snack and setting our wet shoes out to dry for a short while. Another two hours along the river brought us to our lunch spot, after which we took a turn away from the river and started our climb back to the carpark.