Burn Hut Loop MF
Nine members took part in this trip to visit Burn Hut in the north-western Tararua Range. After driving through rain nearly all the way to Shannon, we were greeted by clearing skies, and the weather remained fine for the rest of the day. Unlike the leader's last visit to this area, the drive on the unsealed road from the Mangahao Power Station to the Mangahao No. 2 Dam was made easier by the wet conditions reducing dust and by cloud cover preventing sun strike.
After a pleasant 45 minute road walk up to the Mangahao No. 1 Dam, we stopped for morning tea. We then crossed the dam and followed the high water bush track beside the reservoir then walked along the side of Baber Creek to Baber Forks. Here there was an old wooden sign saying “Burn Hut”. The recommended route from these forks is to travel in College Creek for about 1 kilometre to the forks at the beginning of Mack's Track. However the creek was flowing swiftly and featured large boulders and some deep pools, so it was decided to bush bash along the banks, mainly on the true right. This proved to be hard work and slow going, but 70 minutes after leaving Baber Forks we arrived at the bottom of Mack's Track. There was another old wooden sign there saying “Burn Hut, Mack's Track, 3 hours”, which was a bit discouraging. However the track was in good condition, and travel time to the hut proved to be 1 hour 45 minutes. It seems probable that the 3 hours was in relation to the old Burn Hut which was located further north than the current one.
After 30 minutes of steady climbing up Mack's Track, we stopped for lunch, then climbed out of the bush line to the highest point on the trip (835 m). From here we carried on to Taramea Ridge, followed it northeast for a while then dropped down in a northwest direction to reach Burn Hut (752 m). The hut is very neat and offers panoramic views, although it must feel very exposed in strong winds. After a drink and photo stop we headed north, climbing slightly to Point 798. Although this part of the track was in relatively open country, it was not well marked, and might have been difficult to follow in less favourable conditions. From Point 798 we headed northwest before regaining the bushline and stopping for afternoon tea. A steep and tiring descent took us down to a wooden bridge over the Mangahao River and then we followed the true right of the river to the No. 2 Dam. All that remained was the long drive home.
The trip took 7hours 50 mins, and covered 20.0 km
Thanks to Robin for the gpx file.
- Party members
- Bill Allcock, Helen Beaglehole, Robin Chesterfield, Tricia French, Wayne Perkins, Janette Roberts, John Thomson, Lynne White, Warwick Wright (Leader and scribe)