Mount Ruapehu and Environs
This year's Queen's Birthday Lodge trip was to Mt Ruapehu, with 20 club members, led by Tricia Walbridge, Bob Cijffers and Christine MacKenzie, basing themselves at the Taumaranui High School Lodge at Whakapapa and undertaking a range of tramps over the long weekend. The original tramping schedule - an 8 hour tramp on the Saturday from the Ohakune Mountain Road to Whakapapaiti Hut via Mangaturuturu Hut, and the 6 - 8 hour Tongariro Crossing on the Sunday, both to be led by Bob - which had to be cancelled due to the snow and ice conditions.
On the Saturday, which quickly turned into a beautiful day with Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe looking glorious in the sunshine, there was a choice of three trips. The four who joined Bob's revised trip were dropped off on SH 47 and followed the Mangahuia Stream Track before joining the Whakapapaiti Track. They made the unbridged river crossing shortly before Whakapapaiti Hut where they stopped for lunch, and at times were tramping through knee-deep snow. (Whakapapa Ski field had opened earlier than scheduled, on 1 June, because of the early snowfalls.) The group connected with the Bruce Road at Scoria Flat and were quite pleased to have a surprise lift back to the Lodge (except for the redoubtable Bob who tramped back).
Another group of four, led by Dianne Hill, took the Whakapapaiti Valley Track, off the Bruce Road just below the Chateau, and from there after it joined the Mangahuia Track, then followed the same route as Bob's group, again being pleased to be picked up on the Bruce Road as darkness started to fall.
Tricia led the third group to the Upper and Lower Tama Lakes, leaving the Chateau along a track which forms part of the Northern Tongariro Circuit, one of the Great Walks, through undulating tussock and alpine herb fields. The whole group made it to the top of the ridge above the Upper Lake at a height of 1314m. On the way down they took the detour via the spectacular Taranaki Falls and then back to the Chateau along the start of the track to Mangatepopo Hut.
On the Sunday the whole group went into the Erua Forest Conservation Area just west of National Park and tramped into the Tupapakurua Falls, everyone reaching the second lookout and an intrepid 7 climbing on down to the base of the falls. The whole track is a community initiative and along the way there are small buckets with gravel to maintain the track, with trampers encouraged to carry one to the next staging post - or as far as they can.
Each evening the whole group was treated to the wonderful mulled wine, scones and savoury nibbles for which Helen Quinlan has become renowned. Thank you again, Helen!
All in all a great weekend with everyone contributing to making it a fun and sociable time, as well undertaking some challenging tramps.
- Party members
- Diana Barnes, Elizabeth Bridge, Brian Carter, Harriet Carter, Bob Cijffers, Julia Fraser, Alan Graham, Dianne Hill, Moyra Jones, Christine Leighs, Christine MacKenzie, Liz Martin, Liz Morrison, Pip Newton, Helen Quinlan, Adrienne Vermeulen, Tricia Walbridge (scribe), Ingrid Ward, Marris Weight, Helena Weller-Chew.