Kia ora, I wanted to share with you all the easiest yet rewarding tramping trip I did the other month. My friends and I are getting to a point where we have done most of the short overnight tramps within a reasonable driving distance from Auckland. When I found the Te Rereatukahia Loop Track on the DOC website I thought we were scraping the bottom of the barrel. The DOC website track description states:
“Grass clearings and an old fence are a legacy of days gone by when this section was highly modified by burning and farming.”
Grass clearings and an old fence? That doesn’t sound like exciting scenery… Yet I can assure you that the scenery way outdid that description. We went on this tramp with no expectations at all, but was blown away by the track and views.
Located in the Kaimai Mamuku Forest Park (Bay of Plenty), Te Rereatukahia Loop Track is an easy 2.5 hour drive from Central Auckland. We followed DOC’s recommendation and hiked up Tuahu Track, which is 3.5 hours according to DOC. We did this track in a very leisurely 3 hours, including all the side trips. The track was really well maintained in parts, even graveled like a Great Walk. There were some pretty standard overgrown and muddy parts of the track. Overall it was pretty easy terrain to walk, and there wasn’t that much mud. The views up to the hut were surprisingly scenic, looking out over the Waikato on one side, then over to Tauranga and the ocean on the other. We even spotted Mt Ruapehu, covered in snow and blending in with the clouds!
Te Rereatukahia Hut is a ‘standard’ 12 bunk hut. It’s a quaint yellow and red wooden hut, unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of the outside. The hut has a fireplace and even a small solar powered light. We shared the hut with 4 hunters, and 2 very wimpy dogs. While the dogs were sweet, the hunters let them sleep inside as they would sook and bark if left outside. They woke us up quite a few times in the night, and my friend is actually scared of dogs! Hunters are usually really lovely people, they can still be quite intimidating, given they have loaded guns and all…
Te Rereatukahia hut is maintained by volunteers, who also help maintain the firewood supply. There is a Give A Little page here to help fund the firewood, as it’s expensive to helicopter the wood in. The long drop was also well maintained, although a decent walk away from the hut. Before bed I went for a wee in the bush outside the hut when no-one was around. I got the fright of my life when after I saw one of the hunters had come out and was using his thermal binoculars to look for wildlife! I wasn’t impressed with the hunter, but he politely showed me the possum he claimed to be watching in the other direction… Te Rere hut even has cellphone reception, I’ve only stayed at one other hut with reception; Crosbies hut near Thames. It was strange to be out in the bush yet so connected to civilization still, I ended up just switching my phone off.
Our dinner was vegetarian burgers, which is a bit of a go to tramping meal now. I’m able to easily pack rubbish free for this group dinner:
- Buns purchased loose in my own cloth bag
- Lettuce from my OOOOBY box
- Cheese comes wrapped in wax (and was used a fire starter)
- Quorn burger buns in a cardboard box
- Homemade hummus, carried in a reusable plastic container
- Onions, purchased loose
The hunters sharing the hut with us were super jealous as they ate their dehydrated meal from a plastic pouch. They didn’t even realise we were eating vegetarian burgers. After dinner we snacked on the fancy cheese on apple slices. We also made hot chocolates, using cocoa mix I bought from Bin Inn in my own container, and flavoured it with freshly foraged horopito. My friend Rob is a superb forager, he knows all the edible native plants. We often make Kawakawa tea. As horopito is quite spicy, the hot chocolate tastes similar to a Mexican hot chocolate. I’ve mentioned horopito hot chocolate previously before, on my trip review of Waihaha track (done with the same friends). On the second day I foraged some kawakawa and added it to kombucha when I got home, it was very refreshing. Breakfast was the usual porridge. I mix my own porridge using quick oats and ingredients from Bin Inn, just add hot water!
The tramp back was a quick and easy 2 hour loop back to the car pack. There was a very small river crossing, which we manged to do by jumping along all the rocks and keeping our boots dry. It was strange to get back to the car by 10am, and was even weirder to get back to Auckland by 1pm! We all had places to be in Auckland on Sunday afternoon, so it was pretty handy to have gone bush and still be home in time for commitments. We weren’t even smelly or muddy! I highly recommend this hike if you’re after a quick beginners tramping track. It was little effort for a lot of reward. Be warned that it’s a popular area with hunters, so wear something bright and don’t be surprised if a dog comes trotting past!
I’ll leave you with some photos of the track, taken by my friend Robert.
Let me know if you’ve done this tramp before, or make it there after reading about it!