Trip information, past trips and contacts for Wanderers Tramping Club

Mount Eliza Mine Track Sunday 22nd May

One full van left Hamilton with Keith behind the wheel. After arriving in Katikati, we turned right onto the winding, narrow road marked Thompsons Track. The views were impressive as we drove upwards, leaving the avocado orchards behind us, the road turning to gravel for the last few kms. The last property an off-grid home, (but with mailbox), just as we reached the quiet and somewhat muddy carpark. Dianne had told us what we were to expect –the “fun zone”- wetness and mud, especially as the previous week had been rainy and stormy pretty much everywhere. But we were all up for it; after morning tea, of course.

Just before 10 we headed straight into quite thick bush, a few little streams to cross, a few little bridges and a gradual incline. Plenty to concentrate on as we walked: overhanging branches, roots, ferns, and wet leaves making it slippery underfoot. Regular stops, keeping the group together.

Our first small river crossing was below a nice waterfall. Yes, Dianne you were right, poles needed. But all Wanderers crossed safely, ready for a climb on the other side. The sun was welcome as we travelled upwards, the fantails greeting us, so agile as we squeezed under some big tree trunks across the path. Some interesting fungi to stop and look at, adding to the autumn feeling. It wasn’t cold but most of us were keeping our layers on. And a fair few of us had wet feet!

 A fellow walker, with dog, coming down the path looked surprised to encounter anyone else, let alone a group of twelve! She was the only other person we saw on this tramp. The second river to ford, maybe a bit wider and a bit deeper, but hey, we were wet already. More of the up after that, and more fallen trees to get under, packs off for at times and a bit of a scramble.

Our path met Thompsons Track and we were ready for lunch. According to the yellow and green, it should take 40 minutes to reach this point! A bit longer for us…  Rain threatened but kept away as we enjoyed our sandwiches.

I learnt a little of the history of Thompsons Track, (Wanderers know a lot of stuff), a paper road, used for moving stock across the Kaimai Ranges, but originally dating back to pre-European times. Now, enjoyed by the off roaders, in their 4x4’s, as well as us. Sticky orange clay, puddles, and deep ruts (that’ll be the off roaders) made it quite challenging/fun in places. I got muddy, muddier than most, it seemed. I must have zigged when I should have zagged.

And then we were back at the carpark, at 2 o’clock. Our leader seemed relieved and perhaps even surprised that everyone was intact … the First Aid kit wasn’t needed! Thanks, Dianne for making sure we came prepared.  Another memorable tramp.




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