The team jumped on Big Yellow and off we set, with one stop at Ellerslie and one at Bombay to pick up clubbies.
Arriving at Karangahake a suitably big enough spot secured in a very busy carpark and we broke into a few distance groups. One doing the up and over Mt Karangahake and my group a new circuit with two swims and waterfalls. It doesn't matter what tramp you select around Karangahake, all are absolute winners!
With many of the group not having done any or very little around the area, they were in for a treat! Over, one and two suspension bridges right at the start and we're into the Windows Walk famed for it's windows cut out of the sheer rock face. The old handbuilt gold mining tunnels needed these windows for fresh air to decrease the chances of explosions. The view from each "window" up the Waitawheta River is so striking, big sheer faces of stone rising straight up about 100 metres and the reflections off the river! Plus we found more Glow Worms that we have the last few times.
Moving up the river, the constant babbling river beside us and the large tree native tree canopy above, so calming and relaxing that you drift into an almost rhythmic pace whilst chatting away.
Reaching a favourite swimming spot and meeting the other group, we stop for a quick chat and to admire the tunnel with water gushing through it. Ah tranquility! But surprisingly, we didn't swim here! We headed over the next few suspension bridges to the Dickey Flat Campground in mind as the ideal lunch spot. Must be a room with a view for lunch.
This is where the twist starts, on the odd occasion that we have walked through to Dickey Flat we have returned back, not today, we head up along the road, enjoying the rolling hills surrounding us and Mt Karangahake, and the top end of the stream that supplies our first goal, the beautiful cascading Owharoa Falls!
It's only 9 metres high, but really spectacular. So much so that you really want a GoPro to take into the water and film the waterfall up close! Nice swimming in the deep, warm river water too!
Very thankfully, the afternoon clouded over a bit keeping the heat down on this exposed part of the tramp by the Ohinemui River, as we head along the Karangahake Gorge Walkway, back towards the carpark. Goal two, waterfall two! This one is an old, disused quarry and the waterfall, not quite so spectacular today with the low rainfall lately, but still an impressive 20 metres straight above us in a lovely tropical atmosphere with the ferns and trees. In October when we were last there, there was much more of the liquid stuff flowing over the top of the waterfall.
When we reach the next bridge we break into two group, one to do the historic, handbuild over a 100 years ago, 1.1km Railway Tunnel, that used to be part of the main trunk line. And the other group walking back along the Ohinemuri River to make the most of river swimming before home time. Magic!
Awesome group, lots of fit newbies keen for next next adventure in the bush!