Longview – Makaretu – Awatere Loop, Southern Ruahines
3 – 5 March 2022
A ‘Windy’ weather alert at the notoriously windy Longview Hut saw us quickly sort out our gear for a two-night tramp over what promised to be straightforward terrain, with shortish days. Otherwise, light packs were thoughtfully ballasted with a couple of bottles of wine and a selection of cheeses, fruit cake for lunch and bananas as additional treats for the lunches and as a garnish for the last breakfast. Gingernut biscuits and Turkish Delight rounded out the menu.
Day One: A leisurely three-hour drive to Moorcock Saddle at the Kashmir roadend saw us shouldering our packs at 1 p.m., under perfect blue sky. Only two cars at the carpark; it looked promising.
The track offers very easy travel, with one diversion near the top to avoid a decent slip. Do not attempt to avoid the climb here by discovering the old track, or you will end up, as I did, in a knee-trembling struggle to regain good ground near the summit, to the obvious disappointment of my tramping partner who, sensibly, followed the official route.
Comments were passed and duly noted, promises of self-improvement duly proffered …
The remaining hours of the afternoon were passed enjoying the views of the plains below, in the company of two nurses from Napier Hospital out for an overnighter, and a late-arriving hunter.
Day Two. An efficient breakfast and departure, hastened by three more hunters turning up with a hind-quarter of a red deer tied to one of their packs. They then proceeded to celebrate with a bottle of whiskey - at 8 a.m.
We were glad to be back on our own. The traverse along the ridge via the Rocky Knob highpoint to the track down to Makaretu Hut was easy, and we were afforded great views in perfect weather. Not a breath of wind. Makaretu Hut was reached in time for lunch. What a wonderful hut in an idyllic setting, with plenty of firewood. Unfortunately, time constraints meant that we had to push on down the Makaretu stream bed to the junction with the north branch of the same river. Here we dumped our packs and visited Happy Daze Hut, 15 minutes downstream. The trip up to Awatere Hut was much easier than the section from Makaretu, with very easy stream travel. The hut is only one hour from Moorcock Saddle, so we were a bit concerned about its state and possible occupancy. No need to worry on either count, and the very welcoming open fire soon saw us comfortably ensconced enjoying a glass of wine and cheese with crackers, while we reflected on a rewarding 21 km, seven-hour day. The early evening was punctuated by the sound of a mousetrap, baited with chocolate-dipped Turkish Delight, dispatching a couple of mice.
Day 3. A leisurely start with tea and coffee enjoyed in our sleeping bags, then a very easy 200 m climb up and over Moorcock Saddle to the carpark, now reasonably full of blokes’ utes, all in for hunting over the weekend.
A very relaxed and enjoyable trip; all the same though, we were pleased to be heading home.
- Party members
- Peggy and Chris Munn (scribe)