‘Puggy-licious’ Waiopehu – Tararua Forest Park

We gathered at platform 9 on Saturday morning at 8 am and headed out to Poads Road end via a coffee stop at Paekākāriki. Our tramp began at 10 am and we spent the first 15 minutes or so trudging through very muddy paddocks to the start of the actual track.

We took the most direct route up to Waiopehu Hut, using the Te Araroa Trail and Waiopehu Track. The alternative Ohau Gorge Track is currently closed due to a slip. Waiopehu Track has a reasonably easy gradient for a Tararuas track. Although it’s mostly in the bush, there are a few viewpoints along the way, and we passed the site of the old Waiopehu Hut.

The track up to Waiopehu Hut is notably muddy; ‘puggy-licious’ was one description used along the way. Our boots got rather muddy, with the exception of Sam’s, whose were remarkable for their relative cleanness. We had lunch at the junction with the link track to the start of the Gable End Track, a good spot for a break.

Light rain began when we were most of the way to the Hut and only got heavier after dark. DOC gives the track time to Waiopehu Hut as 5-6 hours. We took a more leisurely 7 hours.

Waiopehu Hut is a standard 18-bunk hut, and quite spacious and well laid out. The Hut has no heating, but according to DOC, the reason why there is no fireplace is because the hut is very well insulated. Nevertheless, we could see our breath inside the hut. From the hut there are good views over Kapiti and the Horowhenua District, and also across the nearby ridges to the north-east.

After dinner, Rose taught us how to play “Spoons” and we had several rounds until we were ready for bed.

On Sunday we walked out into a misty morning and headed for home by the same route. An enjoyable weekend in good company.

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