We left Wellington on the Friday evening with a small medium-fit group and had the Konini Lodge at Dawson Falls, Egmont National Park to ourselves.
With our expected walking time of 3-4 hours to Lake Dive on Saturday, we had ample time to explore the Dawson Falls and Wilkies Pools loop tracks (30-60 minutes each). We were not quite ready to start our main tramp, so we stopped at the Dawson Falls Lodge for hot drinks and snacks.
With high winds forecast and snow expected on the upper level tracks, we stuck to the lower track, leaving the Dawson Falls carpark around 11:30am. We were well sheltered from the wind and managed to catch a few glimpses of Mt Taranaki throughout the afternoon as the cloud gradually cleared.
The track’s in need of a bit of TLC, with many of the steps being washed out and becoming more hazardous than helpful when wet. We did however come across a few stacks of building materials on the track, so it looks like DOC’s on top of it. At a good steady pace and stopping for lunch, we arrived at Lake Dive Hut about 3.5 hours later.
There was still plenty of daylight left so we decided to tramp up to the upper Lake Dive track and hopefully see some snow. An hour or so later, we reached the signpost and were instantly hit with the forecasted high winds. We took in the glorious view, stretching out across Lake Dive to the sea. Apparently, the small hill behind Lake Dive is known as the southern ‘beehive’, formed from lava oozing from the side of the main volcano. One of our trampers suggested ‘lava knobs’ was a more appropriate name; something for DOC to consider.
Slightly behind schedule, leaving at 8:20am the next morning, we boosted it back to the carpark in under three hours and picked up the medium-fit trip.
With allowance for plenty of stops for driver changes and snacks, we arrived back at the Wellington train station around 5:30pm. This was an excellent trip with a few of us getting back into overnight tramping after a few months off (damn you, Covid!). We really eased into the main event, with a few interesting side trips which made the overall trip very enjoyable.