Staying the night at the Konini lodge we woke at 7am to crystal blue skies and glimpses of the mountain. After cooking up our breakfast at the lodge (facilities include stoves, plates, cups, glasses) we had a team photo outside the tourist centre.
With time working in our favour we took a quick detour and checked out Dawson falls. We didn’t head down to the base so only got glimpses of the falls from the top.
The good weather made the decision to take the higher track an easy one. The path to begin with is dirt and rock, you climb steadily till you reach Hooker Shelter. From here you are confronted with wooden stairs till you reach the Kapuni Lodge intersection, to a height of 1,500m.
With the whole day to do the walk, we took regular breaks. Once we got to the ridge line it was time to cut across the mountain where we had to cross a couple of snow drifts amongst the tussocks. It was definitely easier for those with poles.
After our last snow drift we came across a clearing in the tussocks where we sat and had our lunch. From here we stated to slowly wind down. In many parts much of the steps contents have been washed out and only the wood step front-casing remain.
Just after 2pm we got to the Lake Dive Hut, that sits in-front on the aptly named Hive Hills. The hut (bunks and fire but no cooking facilities) was in good condition with just one other group staying. We took the inside room and the group spent the afternoon taking photos, playing cards, reading till we cooked our yummy Moroccan couscous for dinner. Liquorice all sorts rounded off our meal and a game of last card with our own rules, kept us entertained into the evening.
Next morning we left at 8:30am, taking a few more snaps of the mountain which was perfectly reflected in the lake. The lower track was a completely different experience from the upper track. It had more bird life and the bush was many shades of green. The path itself is full of roots and gets quite narrow and overgrown at times. There are 3 or 4 inclines with wooden steps on a couple of them and a few river crossings that keep it interesting.
Our hike finished up just after 1pm and we grabbed a coffee food at the mountain lodge cafe. The winning food pick was a BLT.
Lastly, it was time to get in the van and head home.