Trip Reports
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1  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Pouakai / Pouakai via Holly Hut Date: May 03, 2011, 02:02:09 AM
The Pouakai circuit with the summit thrown in turned out to be a pleasant short two days.  We had glorious weather on 30 April - 1 May.  The first day was about 6.5 hours including breaks and the second was 4.5 hours.  It took 35 minutes from the main track to the summit, a bit quicker on the way down.

Nice walk.  Track is variable - the around the mountain between North Egmont and Holly Hut is in good condition.  Much of the Pouakai circuit is on interminable but worthy wooden slats.  The summit track is much less used and not in good nick but ok by tramping standards.  Then there's a lot of up and down through the forest towards the end (if you're going clockwise).

A lovely tramp with amazing views.  If you get good weather.

Oh, Pouakai Hut looks very well used, often at or beyond capacity, so be prepared to camp or sleep on the floor (didn't happen to us but it easily could).
2  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Mangaweka / Mangaweka in April Date: April 26, 2011, 12:38:42 PM
Climbed this as part of a leisurely 3 day tramp in Easter 2011 (April 22-24).    Route was Kawhatau Base - McKinnon Hut (night 1) - Hikurangi - Mangaweka - Purity Hut (night 2) - Purity Hut carpark.  The times for each day were about 4.5 hours, 5.5 hours (including lunch), 1.5 hours.  The track was in ok condition although often peters out or is just non-existent on the unmarked route bit at the tops.  No problem in good visibility like we had b ut you'd want to know what you're doing in other circumstances.

The track up to McKinnon Hut is noticeably steeper and generally tougher than Purity Hut.  If you're doing this circuit I'd recommend the way we did it as I'd rather go up that stuff than down it - particularly if there's any chance of rain, as it would be seriously slippery on the steep bit down near the cableway across the river.

A great tramp.  Amazing weather - views to Ruapehu and both coasts, great views of the more rugged eastern Ruahines.
3  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Manaia, Mt / Mt Manaia Date: April 06, 2011, 02:56:36 AM
A pleasant walk - there and back again in less than 2 hours.  The path is really top quality.

You can't go right to the top of this one unless you disregard the request from the local Maori and DOC, but you get to the rock platform that is very close and has brilliant views.
4  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Arete / Arete in March Date: March 19, 2011, 03:04:13 AM
Climbed this as part of a 6 day tramp from Otaki Forks to Mangahao reservoirs.  Originally I intended to spend a few nights up at Arete Biv and climb the other nearby 1500m hills - Logan, Dundas, etc - but although there was gorgeous weather the first couple of days of my trip, by the time I got to Arete the wind was coming in.  Getting from the summit to the hut was on all fours, visibility was about 10m, and the forecast was for it to start getting a bit breezy the next day, so I cut my losses and went down to the valley.

A fantastic place for walking, and I was lucky to be on the tops for at least a couple of stunning days.
5  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Taranaki, Mt / Taranaki - late October Date: November 08, 2009, 04:21:16 PM
Went up by the south face.  Crampons and axe needed from about 2000m (ie once higher than Fantham's peak).  We had glorious weather.  Snow conditions were ok - a bit of loose stuff sitting on the hard compacted snow and ice.  Definitely a climb rather than a tramp at this time of year.

Photos below are all taken by Vincent - some amazing visuals.
6  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Ruapehu, Mt / Tahurangi in the winter Date: July 10, 2009, 02:24:51 AM
Climbed Tahurangi (grade one mountaineering - definitely not a tramp, needs alpine gear and skills) this July on an NZ Alpine Club trip.  We had good weather at least on that day.  Snow was a bit soft and annoying but never really a problem, and no serious avalanche issue on this side of the mountain (wind had been from the south for a week and dumping snow on the north-facing slopes).  Fair bit of ice on the skyline ridge. 

Started walking from Turoa at about 6.30, reached the top of the ski-field at 8 or so, and the very top at 11.20 just before the clouds came in.

Matt Thomson took some amazing photos, the best of which I'm afraid are way too good for me to post in public.  Photos below give an idea of the day.
7  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Cannon Point / Cannon Point on a winter afternoon Date: June 23, 2009, 02:24:22 AM
Very pleasant walk.  Took us about 1.5 hours in June.  Track condition - there was enough mud to be glad we wore boots, but not enough to make them indispensable.  Plenty of people in running shoes.

It wasn't a fine day when we were there - cloud covered and a southerly blowing - but we still had great views.  Across the valley to Mt Climie, down the valley towards Wellington, and even right across the Cook Strait to snow covered mountains on the south island.  The seat at the top of this walk is a great viewpoint.
8  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Hawkins Hill / Hawkins Hill at night Date: June 15, 2009, 01:11:49 PM
We climbed Hawkins Hill on a mild winter's night.  Starting at 7pm at the Karori Wildlife centre (note - you can't drive up to Brooklyn Wind Turbine at night; and you can't park right at the wildlife centre either as they close the gates at about 7 - be careful!).  It took us just over 3 hours there and back, about half of which was getting up to the wind turbine from the wildlife centre carpark.

A little breezy at the top but nothing to worry about.  We were lucky to have a reasonably clear night with the moon peaking through and great views of Wellington's lights.

Quite a few possums around to excite the dog - watch out for the cyanide poison!
9  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Kapakapanui / A great day walk Date: May 25, 2009, 06:22:24 AM
This is one of the classic Wellington day walks.  Right length (5-6 hours of walking), about an hour's drive from the CBD, a circuit, and a 1,000m+ peak with views to Kapiti island in one direction and the main Tararuas (Mt Hector et al) in the other.

The first time I did this we didn't realise you could get in from the Ngatiawa entrance, and we parked on Mangaone South Road.  This entails a significantly longer walk, including through some barely marked and overgrown route - easy to get lost (we lost the track for 20 minutes or so).  Better by far is to park on Ngatiawa; I've done that since and it's close to the perfect daywalk. 

Could also be done as a leisurely two day tramp, stopping at the pleasant Kapakapanui Hut - a good first tramp for newbies.

There's often a lot of mud on this track near the top of the mountain, but from Ngatiawa it is all well marked with plenty of orange triangles.

I haven't taken a dog here but lots of people do; just be aware that it starts by crossing private property and you must keep the dog on a lead until you are in the park proper, or the Ngatiawa entrance may be cut off altogether (for dogs, if not for people).
10  South Island / Iron, Mt / Pleasant views on Mt Iron Date: May 25, 2009, 06:03:29 AM
Mt Iron's a nice easy bag.  We wandered up here, using the obvious circuit, in February 2008.  Good views of lake Wanaka and towards the Matukituki region.  The track is in good condition, and lots of people run up and down.
11  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Rimutaka Trig / Rimutaka in the wind Date: May 25, 2009, 05:56:09 AM
As the guide on this site says, this is a great way to break up a road trip over the Rimutaka Range from Wellington to the Wairarapa.  The track is in good nick.  It's close to the road and an easy walk but you get some fantastic views (weather permitting) and a real sense of being on a peak alright.  It was a bit windy when I was up there - as always in this region, watch out for the wind.
12  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Mitre / Mitre at Easter Date: May 25, 2009, 05:49:26 AM
Pleasant climb of Mitre over the Easter break.  Starting from the Pines, we camped at Mitre Flats hut (leisurely half day walk in), climbed up and over Mitre, Brockett and Girdlestone to stay in Tarn Ridge Hut, and returned the same way.  Windy and murky on the Saturday when we climbed Mitre from the south; much more pleasant, with blue skies and views in all directions on Sunday on the way out.

The descent from Mitre towards Brockett (which forms part of the Tararua Northern Crossing) is quite steep; and the route from Girdlestone down to Tarn Ridge Hut is also steep and has a few exposed scrambles.  Enough to make us relieved we hadn't brought the dog and that it wasn't really pelting down with rain, and could be an issue for people with a fear of heights, but all pretty standard for the backblocks of the Tararuas up on the ridges.

The photos below are of Mitre from Peggy's Peak (the normal way up); the summit; and Mitre from Brockett (the other, steeper side - you don't need to climb from this angle if you are just coming from the road and back again).

The weather in April was just enough to start taking seriously.  There had been a lot of snow a few days before we got up there (one party a day ahead of us turned back because it was too deep).  On our first day on Mitre itself the murk was quite serious, difficult to see, and moderate wind (not enough to worry about by Tararua standards, but wouldn't want it much worse).   But the second day was beautiful, hardly any wind, gorgeous blue skies.
13  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Holdsworth / Holdsworth in early spring Date: May 25, 2009, 05:45:35 AM
I did this as part of the standard Holdsworth-Jumbo circuit in September 2008.  2008 was a bumper snow year and there was still a lot on the ground.  The Saturday was murky and windy but bearable; I also did a side-trip to Isobel from Holdsworth before camping on the ridge between Holdsworth and Jumbo.  It was frigging freezing that night and on Sunday morning until the sun really got going.

If you do this walk other than in perfect conditions you need to be experienced and well-equipped.  Sometimes the wind makes it impossible - I've turned back from below the summit of Holdsworth when some of the party couldn't move even forward even on all fours.  But in good weather it's a real classic bit of the Tararuas.
14  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Colonial Knob / Colonial Knob in the night Date: May 25, 2009, 05:22:48 AM
We climbed this as a mid-week night time walk in the winter some time - I'm not sure I've got the date right.  A great night time walk (rug up warm and wind-proof!) with some good views of the city lights and a real mountain feel in the clouds at the top.  A great Wellington-walking experience.

Warning - no dogs - this walk goes over farm land with "dogs will be shot" signs.  We'd considered taking a dog but hadn't and were quite pleased about it.
15  North Island Trip Reports and Comments / Fantham's Peak / Fantham's Peak as part of around-the-mountain circuit Date: May 25, 2009, 05:20:11 AM
We reached Fantham's Peak near the end of our round the mountain tramp (five or six leisurely days) over New Year's 2008.  We had stunning weather the whole time, and getting to the top of Fantham's Peak and overnighting in Syme's Hut was a highlight of the trip. 

A German tourist we shared the hut with climbed the south face of Taranaki on the same day, which I wouldn't recommend without axe and crampons.  He had trekking poles and tramping boots and reported it as a bit sketchy in the ice near the top.  I think he may have been lucky to get away with that - you'd fall a long, long way.

The scree bashing up Fantham's Peak can be a struggle but in the right weather it's worth it. 

We had such exceptional weather on this trip that I've gone a bit overboard on the photos below, which include shots of Taranaki (the big snow covered peak) and of Ruapehu (distant, in a couple of shots).  Check out the sunset shadow of Taranaki in one of the photos.

We were really privileged to get this abnormal weather, a stunning sunset, and the whole shebang.
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