Mangatainoka Hot Springs, overnight tramp, 7 – 9 July.
Jason, Julie and Sandra left Masterton Friday night, stopping in Dannevirke for quick dinner then on along the back roads and gravel to reach “The Gums” campground at the end of Makahu Road. Despite driving through rain showers on the way, the road end was dry and quiet. We set up the tents then walked to the Mangatutu hot springs for a soak. We settled into one hot pool, leaving the other for the 5 local shepherds that arrived later (although they declined the soak and returned to their Friday night drive.)
Saturday morning we packed up camp, repacked our packs with dry tents and walked back along the access road to the Makino Hut track. A short steep climb through Kanuka forest gained us some height and great views to the Kaweka range and surrounding farmland. The track undulated through the kanuka and we arrived at Makino Hut for lunch in the sun. Makino is a bright orange 6 bunk hut in a small clearing, we met a family of 5 and a group of 2 near the hut.
We returned to the track junction and checked out the views into the Mohaka river valley. Our decent took us down to the Te Puia track. At the bottom of the hill we followed the Mohaka river upstream to reach the Mangatainoka hot springs and campsite.
A quick brew and camp set up ensued and then it was into the hot tubs – sharing with 5 chatty ladies from Auckland. Dinner was next with a friendly (just-waking-up) morepork and an adventurous possum, followed by a shared desert. We returned to the hot pools for another 3.5 hours of soaking. No other campers or hut stayers arrived so we had the pools to ourselves.
Sunday morning we packed up in light rain and walked out to the road end via Te Puia hut. Great view of the Mohaka river with huge rock gorge-like cliffs along the way, several good camp sites and swimming holes were observed.
A very enjoyable trip with lots of soaking in the pools.