Waipakihi Hut – Kaimanawa Forest Park: the mists of Ireland

Disclaimer: This trip report was written by ChatGPT. Trip start date – 17 March 2023: I can’t think of a better way of reconnecting with my deep and treasured Irish roots on St Patrick’s Day than a dry, teetotalling WTMC club tramp along the famously brown volcanic Central Plateau. I do not speak of hiking … Read more


So lucky with the traffic on Friday night! We got to the Urchin campsite at the end of Kaimanawa Road at around 10.15pm. Urchin campsite has ample grassy sites (compared with gravelly Waitaha Valley/Waikoko campsite); it’s about a 10-minute drive between the two. So lucky with the weather, too – a clear sky and no … Read more

Kaweka Kaimanawa Traverse

Are we on the right track? Our journey began with a traffic jam at Kaimanawa Road end. Being Labour Weekend, every man and his dog (literally – we were joined by a gorgeous kelpie) was out tramping. After a skillful 100 point turn, our shuttle driver deposited us at the beginning of the Umukarikari track. … Read more

Umukarikari Track

We had the usual Friday Station departure in a rented van along with Andrei, Matt and Fons who were doing a Medium-Fit trip in the same area. Although Wellington was experiencing unusually hot weather, the forecast for the area we were heading to was a little dodgy; possible thunderstorms and localised heavy rain. Will we … Read more

Umukarikari Range

  The adventure started before the trip even began. Heavy flooding stuck Wellington the day before, closing offices and stranding commuters. There was some concern that the road north might be closed and that even if it wasn’t driving in the direction of the weather we had just experienced was foolhardy at best. These concerns … Read more

Gettin’ Jiggy with Jamonadez – Waipakihi Hut via Umukarikari Range, Kaimanawas

Author’s note:  Here are boring track details for those that look for this sort of thing first. Overall my impressions are that it’s a relatively wide, well formed track along a scenic range overlooking the volcanic plateau. Approximately 5-7 hours from roadend to the hut via the ridge. Generally quite good track with only a … Read more