Te Puia Lodge and Hot Springs – Kaweka Forest Park

The long weekend started with a Friday evening drive to Norsewood, to camp overnight. This allowed us to break up the long drive, along winding gravel roads, to the beginning of the track at Makahu Road road end – about 1.5 hours from Napier. It was sad to see some of the damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle in February, but encouraging to see some of the rebuild.

We were ready to start the tramp at about 11:30am on Saturday morning in surprisingly hot conditions. Our water vessels were close to empty by the time we got to Te Puia Lodge almost 3 hours later. There were stunning views of the Mohaka River as we hiked to the Lodge; a swim was tempting. It was a delight to see Whio (Blue Ducks) splashing in the river, although they were well camouflaged against the grey rocks. Having read about how family-friendly the tramp to Te Puia Lodge is, we were surprised to find the track was quite steep and technical in places (or maybe it was just me).

Te Puia Lodge
Back row (L-R): Ben, Natasha, Hilary, Amrita.
Front row (L-R): Howard, Ellie, Jo
Whio near the Lodge

Not long after arriving at the Lodge, we headed to the famous Mangatainoka Hot Springs – 45 minutes from the Lodge. No doubt this was a key reason why many of us had signed up for this trip. It was also our opportunity for a dip in the Mohaka River. It was impressive to see the infrastructure that had been built up for the hot springs in the middle of nowhere.

Mangatainoka Hot Springs – what a set-up!
Mohaka River

That evening we had a delicious meal of noodles and tofu. Hilary was also able to catch up on the news about the All Blacks’ semi-final win that morning from fellow trampers at the hut.

On Sunday, five of us headed up to Makino Hut for a day walk. The weather had changed, so it was not quite as hot as the day before. Instead, we had intermittent cool showers. Through the mist, we caught the occasional glimpse of the amazing views on offer from the track. Of course, another stint in the hot springs and a dip in the river were required after the day walk.

Makino Hut

That evening we had our own dehy meals, but had dessert as a group – custard and crumble. Delicious. Thanks WTMC cook book!

On Monday, we returned to Makahu Road road end the same way we had come. Mangatutu Hot Springs were along the way back to the road end and we couldn’t leave without trying these too.

Mangatuhu Hot Springs near Makahu Rd road end

Thanks to trip leader Jo, who was leading her first WTMC trip. You led a great trip – I’m impressed with how much food you carried for us! Ka rawe! Thanks also to Selwyn and Linda, the wonderful hut wardens at Te Puia Lodge.

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