Another Duke of Ed trip. We swindled a car and went down via Taupo to pick up a mountain radio. That night was spent in Whakapapa Village, but if I were doing it again I’d leave early and do the first leg in the same day to save on accommodation.
The next morning we set off in a clockwise direction. The lake is a nice lunch spot, if a bit exposed.
Waihohonu hut was PACKED. This was partly because it was Easter, partly because youths are free at Great Walk Huts, and partly because people bring too much crap.
This hut also had a nifty escape window for getting in and out of one of the bunkrooms – essential because there was too much crap in the way of the door to use that.
The next day’s walk wasn’t too bad – some up and down. It’s all alpine desert so the lack of mud was a welcome change for me, but the kids did get a bit bored of looking at rocks the whole time.
The hut has a wonderful view of Waiouru
We had a better spot for the mountain radio antenna here and reception was good. The next day was much of the same, except for a 200m deep valley. The side we came down is not so much a track as a slide, whereas the side we came up was so well graded you don’t notice the hill.
The track drops back in to bush a few km before the hut (Mangaheuheu). This also has good views of Waiouru.
This time I put a wedge of aluminium foil in the bottom of my dixie for insulation so the bottom didn’t burn. After another night’s entertainment from the radio the kids made pancakes and everyone was in good spirits.
The next day we made good time to the road, but that was the killer. If you know someone in the area get them to give you a lift up. It’s only 4km but leg-knawingly awful. The girls caught a lift part of the way but the boys hated them when they met up again. The section from the road is quite pretty with silica waterfalls.
There were 9 people and it was a squeeze. The hut only has 10 bunks, no matter what your map may say. It’s a nice spot, but the water tank was empty when we were there, so we had to keep filling up from the stream 100m away.
The next day had a 320m climb, including the neverending staircase that went up at least 100m.
The top of this ridge is Bruce Rd, which you can take back down to Whakapapa Village. We went down to the hut. It’s very nice, and for a few hours we had it to ourselves, before being joined by a family of 4 and a party of hunters. The next morning the hunters woke up at 4.50am!! and so we started going at about 6.30. There was frost and noone wanted to get out of their sleeping bags for a while.
We set off and after about 2 hours we arrived back in Whakapapa.
Overall this is an ok trip. We were aided by the amazing weather – no rain the whole time!
Some good scenery
Scenery is just about the same for most of the track
Can get busy
Ohakune Mountain Rd