Hakatere—Manuka Hut

Saturday 22 April

Three met at Church Corner in light drizzle but with a promise of a fine day at Lake Heron we decided, “let’s do it anyway”. Finding the entrance to the track proved a little confusing, with a bridge and a Te Araroa sign at Maori Lakes seeming to be the track start. However, after not spotting the said track, we consulted the topo map and discovered, unlike the movie “A Bridge Too Far” it was a matter of “a bridge not far enough”.

Having found another bridge and track-sign pointing to Lake Emily, we slipped and slid along a very muddy, rutted 4WD track for about 800m before gaining a little bit of height and a much drier surface. The cloud hanging around the hills quickly lifted and we basked in warm sun. Two utes passed us, one with a large, dead wild pig on the back, the second with some hunters lamenting the lack of any “kills” but like us, enjoying a warm sunny day out in the hills.

After passing Lake Emily we left the vehicle track and started up the poled route over a low spur to the next valley. Generally, the track was well marked, although sometimes the height of the scrub made the poles difficult to see. The track then dropped steeply down to the next valley. After lunch, the turn-off to the hut still seemed some distance away. After a quick calculation of our walking times, we decided to return the way we’d come, or face a late return to Christchurch. Retracing our steps, we meet two more parties of seven heading to the hut for the night. We made it back to the car at about 3:30 and headed home after an enjoyable day out. 

We were: Kim Ashmore, Sha SG and Graeme Nicholas (leader, writer)