North Shore Tramping Club

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  • 25 Jul 2017 9:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Very still, extremely foggy conditions made for a stunning tramp down the Destruction Gully Track and Whatipu environs.

        The first Destruction Gully lookout was completely fogged in, so onwards and downwards we went. This pretty track became more challenging as it steepened towards the bottom. The jury was out on whether the electrical cable someone had kindly placed there instead of a rope was a good idea or not.

        The dramatic beauty of the sheer rock faces appearing and then disappearing as the fog was gliding over the towering cliff faces above us really added to the misty atmosphere.

        As much as we were enjoying Makaka Bay, we decided to scurry around towards Paratutae Rock, only to discover a deep watery gut that meant no crossing safely, despite low tide over an hour and a half away. So return hike back up we did.

        Time for a quick nosh at our usual lunch spot on the Omanawanui Track, shrouded by a blanket of luminous white fog that occasionally revealed the opposing side of the Manukau Heads of Awhitu.

        After lunch we tackled the rest of the undulating Omanawanui Track as the ethereal fog slowly dissipated, displaying the surroundings.

        Dropping back down into the Whatipu valley, we opted for the quicker road trudge straight up the valley to the bus at the top, otherwise it  would have been an extremely long day.

        An epic day out, including newbies and, much to our delight, more teenagers to help perpetuate the love of tramping into the future.

  • 25 Jul 2017 9:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We didn’t have a DJ or even any EPs with us, but David, John, Pat and I did go tramping together. After much debate, the decision was made to make the trip to the top of the Coromandel and do all the tramps proposed in the club’s original Queen’s Birthday weekend trip, despite not having Big Yellow and the Fletcher Bay campsite being closed.

        The DOC website had been advising that the Coromandel Walkway was closed until 10 June, but we didn’t give up. Two days before departure, they announced it had reopened.

        We made the long and exhilarating (there were a few slips to negotiate) drive (thanks, David) to Waikawau Bay and parked up.

        We headed off into the damp undergrowth and encountered the first of several river crossings, which meant wet feet for all—except John, who declared his new boots “super-waterproof”.

        We climbed steadily up the Matamataharakeke Track and were rewarded with stunning views at the top.

        Completing the circuit, we descended to the car after a final river crossing—just a quick splash-through.

        A short diversion to the beach was essential before we headed north for Stony Bay.

        Instead of the original plan, John had managed to upgrade the tent accommodation to a 5-bunk bach with a sea view. It meant late nights—well, nine pm, which was a change from the usual camping bedtime in winter.

        Sunday was a stunning day with clear blue skies as we headed off on the Coromandel Walkway to Fletcher Bay. This really was beautiful scenery, with views of Great Barrier and Little Barrier (unusually cloudless), and some of the Mercury Islands. The lookout above Shag Bay gave us views in every direction, as evidenced by the photo shoot required by all!

        We descended into Poley Bay, where Pat went down to look at the rocky beach, before we headed to Fletcher Bay, where we  had an encounter with some cows, and lunch. It was a muddy descent to the coast, not helped by the cows having churned up the ground.

        The campground was pretty soggy and still closed, although some intrepid souls had erected their tent just above the beach. We ate our lunch at a thoughtfully provided picnic table, and even brewed up some tea, before heading south again.

        We stopped off to explore the beach just south of Fletcher Bay and regretted the decision not to pack the togs. Yes, it was that warm, and the water felt even warmer.

        To vary the route and complete a circuit, we chose the mountain-bike track for our return journey. The view out to sea was superb, but otherwise the walkway provided much more variety, if not quite such steep ups and downs.     

        It was a very hot group that reached the top and then had a knee-jarring descent back to Stony Bay.

        On Monday we packed up and headed back over the hill to Coromandel township and our last tramp for the weekend, the Kaipawa Trig Track. This was fun to do, and more technically challenging. Although it was a cloudy day and we could see rain sweeping across the harbour from time to time, we stayed dry and enjoyed lunch at the trig.

        A great weekend with stunning coastal scenery was had by all four intrepid trampers.

  • 23 Jul 2017 9:38 AM | NSTC Secretary

    We tramped new ground for the club on our Sunday trip to Mataia, which is in the very scenic Glorit area on SH16, northwest of Auckland. Our group of day trippers met up with the group that had stayed overnight at the Mataia Lodge.
        The weather was a little overcast but calm, nothing to deter keen-beans, so we headed up along the farm tracks. We stopped along the way for a quick chat with one of the farm staff, who was tending to eight very cute newborn calves.
        This area is similar to Atiu Creek (also northwest of Auckland), but perhaps even a little more scenic and diverse, with a mixture of farm tracks and lush, well-established bush tracks. There was a neat track along the edge of the wetlands, with massive old pohutukawa and puriri providing a tropical archway above us.   
        The colours were so vivid—from the reds, oranges and browns of the wetlands to the bright green grass and blue sky of the open land, with a gentle haze rolling over the hills. Really very picturesque.
        As this is such a pretty area, we’re planning to go back again in a few years’ time, perhaps in spring/summer when the ground will be drier and even better for lounging around in the sun on the Mataia Lodge patio.

  • 25 May 2017 9:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This Sunday tramp on the southern side of Mt Te Aroha was perfect. Beautiful crisp morning, no clouds, and as we drew closer to the Kaimais and Mt Te Aroha, fog gently adorned the mountain, with subtle autumnal light illuminating everything.

        Although we all felt for the surrounding farms, still extensively flooded, it made for a stunning foreground with the towering 956-metre Te Aroha behind.

        The recent heavy rain in had scoured many of the streams, waterfalls and tributaries. The first major stream we reached had us scrambling around the massive boulders, trying to keep out of the faster-flowing water. Most of us failed to keep the inside of our boots dry, but it was worth the discomfort to see this beautiful stream.

        A few more stream crossings later we were on an extremely steep track, finally reaching one of the three inclines in the area, all part of the fascinating gold-mining history of the late 1800s.

        Waiorongamai has a strange history with the club, because we always seem to find things there. One time we found a couple of lost trampers who were out for a day trip and ended up being stuck overnight (they were very happy to see us). Another time we found a kid stuck halfway down a waterfall (a baby goat just a few weeks old).

        If you haven’t been to Waiorongamai yet, it’s worth the visit, with all of the waterfalls, which you’ll quickly lose count of, and the gorgeous tracks.

  • 25 May 2017 8:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There are only a few times a year when the tides and times are just right for exploring Mercer Bay, when it’s possible to access both sea caves. We struck it lucky with one of those ones on a recent Sunday tramp.

        The conditions were absolutely perfect for the descent down to the ruggedly beautiful Mercer Bay. The temperature was cool, there was almost no breeze to whisk up the sea, there hadn’t been any rain for a few days, and the tide was perfectly low—king tide!

        For those that haven’t made the trip down the very steep cliff face (now rope assisted in two places where there aren’t enough—if any—handholds on the almost vertical sections) it’s a lot of fun. And a bit of a workout. You have to make sure you’ve got your balance or a good handhold before you snap that photo of the cathedral to your right that you’ll be viewing from below soon enough.

        Once down on the beach, we noticed that the sand had banked up quite significantly since the last trip, which just added to the spectacular beauty of the bay, with its waterfalls trickling gently down the cliff faces into the bay.

    After a quick recce to ensure the water and sea levels were safe—compared to previous trips it was very low—the whole group (twenty people) waded into the first 50-metre sea cave, headlights ablaze.

        It was still looking safe, so we ventured into the more open sea-ish area at the bottom of the cliff.

        We saw some very cool starfish, rock formations and colours to enjoy as we entered the second sea cave where the cathedral is.

        Light streamed into the cave through a hole in the rock a hundred metres above. It was interesting to note that there was a lot of fresh rock fall at the back of the cave!

        After we all took a huge number of photos, we scrambled back up the cliff to the Mercer Bay loop track to check out the spectacular views from the different viewing platforms.

        This is always an absolutely stunning tramp to do, and I encourage all club members to give it a go.

        But just a word of caution for those who choose to go down without the club.

        Please check and double-check that the weather conditions, and especially the tide, are right. Wait until the weather is calm and dry, the tide is at an absolute low, and don’t forget that headlamp or torch.


  • 3 Apr 2017 5:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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