Trip information, past trips and contacts for Wanderers Tramping Club

Te Whare Okioki - A relatively easy walk            1 Nov 2020.

​I had heard stories about the new Te Whare Okioki, and wanted to see it for myself. I had heard it was about 3 hours walk from several entry points to the Kaimais, so proposed going in up the Te Tuhi track, about an hour’s drive from Hamilton. I knew the first hour or so up that track was steep, but once you got to the top the rest of the way was relatively flat. I also knew from experience that the flat areas in the part of the Kaimais can be very boggy.

Grant and I did a survey a couple of weeks before the assigned date for this Grade 3 Club trip, and found that the track was relatively dry. We made good time, found that the hut was indeed worth visiting, and had perfect weather.

On Sunday, we met at the vans, with 10 of us ready for our challenge, with the rest going in another van to Wairere Falls, a relatively easy tramp, that still climbs 300m. We were a disparate mob, but I felt we would all be up to the walk. The 7:30 start gave us a bit of extra time if we needed it. As we approached the hills we were a bit disappointed to see the thick clouds on the tops, although the lower slopes were relatively clear. A lack of wind made it less likely the tops would clear.

My plan was to get us over the fields and up the worst of the climb to have morning tea about 10am at a clearing with a view over the valley below. The timing was good, but by the time we arrived there the wind was so strong we had to search for shelter in the bush further up. Not a nice picnic spot but I know some people need to recharge their stomachs about 10am. About 15 minutes further on we reached the top. Progress became faster, except that the “relatively dry” track of our survey had become quite wet and slippery. Some of us came home needing to clean more than just our boots!

The stream crossings were easy – water just deep enough to wash our boots. 11am saw us at the North-South track, with an hour to go to the hut. Perfect timing. More sliding and boot washing, and a few hills to surmount. But relatively small ones. The cloud had lifted, and gaps with sunshine appeared occasionally. Relatively fine, but not the glorious weather of the survey.

The hut structure was intriguing. Concrete panels, but very light ones. A concrete slab floor, but sitting on a very few steel piles. We had lunch on the very large covered terrace, to shelter from the wind.

I had stiffened up during lunch, but pushed on. The pace seemed to be slower than before, but we made good time back to the junction. Colin wondered whether to reduce his clothing layers, but I said there is a lot of downhill coming up, to which he pointed out that we were about to climb a hill. I soon realised what he meant. As I pushed my way up slippery slopes I wondered how I could have ever thought that this part of the Kaimais was “flat”!

The graph of altitude versus time shows the reality. The slopes on the tops are just as steep as the ascent after the farm. They just don’t last as long. But when you are already tired, 30m of vertical steepness requires energy you don’t want to spend. Relatively flat, but still not just a walk in the park.

A pause on the way down at the view point refreshed us a little and we arrived at the van about 4pm, stiff, perhaps sore, but with a shared feeling of accomplishment.

Ray Hoare


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