Sunday, 22 April 2018

Atiwhakatu - Literally the easiest tramp in the Tararuas

It's been a while. Like almost-one-year a while. So, naturally, we decided to do the easiest of the easy; the chumpiest of the chumpy: Atiwhakatu Hut.

The Atiwhakatu Track is in the Holdsworth area, probably the most popular part of the Tararuas. Accordingly, there was an abundance of cars in the carpark, and many other walkers were encountered frequently.

From the carpark, the wide gravel track heads off past Holdsworth Lodge and crosses Atiwhakatu Stream, soon reaching Donnelly Flat. After 1.3km, we passed the Powell Hut turn off and continued along the Atiwhakatu Track. The first 2km or so of the track is remarkably flat and easy going, after which there's a bit of up and down as the track sidles along the stream, around bluffs and over side streams (all bridged).

After 1hour 15 min (~4km), we reached the halfway point (ish) - where a track down from Mountain House meets the Atiwhakatu Track. Another 500m or so further along, a swingbridge crosses Holdsworth stream, and soon the turn off to the East Holdsworth track is reached. The track continues to be well graded and well metalled, with ample boardwalks over marshy bits of land.
Holdsworth Creek Swingbridge
About 5km from the start, the track quickly devolves before abruptly encountering a significant slip, where a bunch of hillside has fallen off, taking the track with it. There's a noticeable trail over most of the slip, and with careful footwork, it's not too big an obstacle.
 From here, the track resumes its high-quality amble to the hut, which we reached after about 2.5 hours. The first sign that the hut was near was a strong whiff of smoke, which turned out to be a hoard of small children and their parents (to clarify, they'd made a campfire, there were no burning children).
There was about 22 people (including ourselves) at the hut, and we ended up spending a lot of time sitting on the verandah or standing around inside, until one of the groups of people shuffled off to one of the bunkrooms and we swooped in on their table. Interestingly, no-one invited us to sit down with them, or offered to make space in one of the bunkrooms. We ended up spending the night on matresses in the dining area (which, truth be told, was probably better than spending a night crammed in with small children, or sharing a smaller bunk room with standoff-ish randoms). As a side note - not sure how I feel about the smaller 6-8 people bunkrooms the hut has now.

The next day, we left the hut at about 9am, having had breakfast and packed up our gear before the feral hoards descended on the dining room. The racket was well and truly building as we high-tailed it out the door.

The walk out was again a pleasant stroll, albeit with an unusual number of surprise dogs turning up and running off again.
We had reached the carpark by 11:30am.
Weird metal bridge

Slip again

Cody on slip

Humungous Fungus

Some track

Swingbridge again

Not a swingbridge

Orange warning triangle is where the slip is.

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