Looking through past trip reports it seems the club has a tradition of organising Te Puia tramps over Queen’s birthday weekend. And it’s a great tradition; what’s better than soaking in hot pools on a winter tramp. So the 2021 tramp was organised to live up to the tradition and make the most of the hot pools.
There were nine in the group, a mixture of newer and more experienced trampers, and as usual we met at the railway station. We settled in for the six and a half hour drive to our camping spot, allowing time to refuel both us and the van. We arrived after 11pm and set up for the night, some in tents and others under the picnic shelter.
We all survived the cold, some more comfortably than others. I went with the medium group to relocate their van. Meanwhile the rest of group drove to the start of the track and than enjoyed a soak in the Mangatutu Hot Springs while waiting for me to arrive. It’s a great way to start a tramp.
When I returned with the van we were ready to walk to Te Puia lodge. The track undulates along the bank of the Mohaka River with good views of the river and the bush clad hills. There was no rush, and we arrived in time for lunch. The hut was full with several families and very warm so some of us opted to camp outside. After lunch most of us walked the extra distance to the Mangatainoka hot pools for another soak in the hot pools.
It was raining on Sunday, but we decided to go on a side trip to Makino hut for lunch. A nice climb with the clouds obscuring the view. We were glad to relax at the hut before returning to Te Puia Lodge.
On our return, some went for another dip in the Mangatainoka hot pools while those who remained enjoyed seeing whio swimming up and down the river near the hut.
On Monday we had a quandary: the sooner we got going the more time we’d have in the Mangatutu hot pools but that meant getting out of our comfortable, cosy sleeping bags and less time sleeping in. We were on the track shortly after 8am and got to the road end with enough time for a leisurely dip and a bite to eat. There’s something very therapeutic about sitting in a hot pool and feeling your tramping aches just soaking away.
Then there was the long drive back to Wellington with a welcome coffee stop on the way. A great group, a leisurely tramp and it was good to know we’d added to the club Queen’s Birthday tradition.