Autumn in the Kaimanawas
20-22 April 2007
While not on the official club schedule, we unanimously voted this tramp worthy of a mention in The Tramper!
In answer to Peter Gates' lamenting that his formally keen tramping mates do not get out, he, Nick Crang and I booked a boys tramp for 20-22 April 2007 and set off for Umukarikari - Waipakihi - Urchin. The walking distance and the (almost) loop route make this a good weekend medium trip.
The description of the tramp in Mark Pickering's ‘101 Great Tramps’ was pretty much on the mark for us, so here are our highlights.
We bivvied at a campsite near the Urchin track-end on Friday night and drove the car to the carpark at the beginning of the Umukarikari track. Despite this reputedly being a high theft area, we had no issues with hoons or thieves during the weekend. The weather was top-notch for our trip, being clear both days but not too hot. On Saturday, we tramped into Waipakihi Hut via the Umukarikari Range. The well graded track from the carpark to the Umukarikari summit makes the 800m climb quite easy. We got great views of Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro all the way along the tops. Even in fog, this route would be easy to follow.
The hut is comfortable, with two bunkrooms that each sleep six and a separate living area. Three hunters and two trampers shared the hut with us on Saturday night.
Our walk out was a minor splash for three and half hours down the Waipakihi River and then a quite direct climb up a well marked track to the tops of Urchin. River travel was easy because of low water flows, but this would be a lot slower going if water levels limited the choice of crossing points.
There is a road bash of some 5km between the Urchin track end and Umukarikari track end. Running this without the tramping pack to collect our car at the Umukarikari end took just under 25 minutes. If you were going to walk this leg, allow about one hour.
In summary, this was a really enjoyable trip. A worthwhile variation would be to replace the Waipakihi River bash with a traverse of the Thunderbolt Range. This could be done as a medium-fit two day trip or a pleasant 3 day medium trip.
- Party members
- Peter Gates, Nick Crang, Sean Crawford (scribe).