Twelve eager punters gathered early at the usual meeting place on platform 9 at Wellington station on Saturday 17th February to head out on the weekend tramps to Herepai and Roaring Stag huts located in the Tararua Forest Park.
Experienced driver Illona drove the flash club van both ways. There was a welcome pit stop at the Wild Oats Cafe at Carterton and then on towards Eketahuna to the Tararua Forest Park.
After gearing up, four of us walked along the stream for about 30 minutes and then started a steep climb for about an hour and a half until we came up to the intersection that turned right to Herepai Hut and left towards Roaring Stag Hut. We stopped here for lunch and exchanged tramping experiences.
Though it was a sunny day we were sheltered and stayed cool in the thick bush. We came across a huge fallen Matai Tree with its bright red decaying split trunk shining in the sun. I
gathered some of this red dust with which to do a water colour painting later in the hut.
There were two narrow wire bridges to cross one person at a time. It was an easy walk from here for about an hour and then a short steep climb to the hut. The hut apparently was restored in 1977 after a fire. It’s a small 8 sleeper with bunks and mattresses, a
small wood burner, table, benches and a cooking counter. We were only the four of us staying the night there. The long drop is about 10m away (full of noisy flies waiting to be let out!).
Around tea time our tramp leader, Clinton Hunter, gathered up the ingredients brought by
all and rustled up a delicious Indian vegetable curry to go with steaming rice. Barbara shared her trick for cooking rice: plonk the rice in the pot, fill water till it reaches approx 2 knuckles high above the rice level and cook until all the water evaporates. In spite of a bit of skepticism, this formula seemed to work well without the need for measuring cups. We had Tim Tams for dessert. At dusk the candles were lit and we sat down to a game of cards and funny stories.
After a rather windy night we woke up to steaming coffee and breakfast. After the usual hut clean up and hut log book entry we headed down the hill. We did good time though the track was slushy due to the previous night’s downpour. We waited at the car park, played the alphabet story game and exchanged hilarious stories about inquisitive cows until the other party arrived from Roaring Stag. We then headed back to Wellington after a pit stop at Mt.Bruce Café along the way.
All in all an enjoyable tramp. Ideal for newbees like me wanting to get back into tramping but a bit nervous about their fitness level. The track was well marked so everyone could do it at their own pace.