Novice trampers looking for overnight experiences can be put off by the prospect of hard slogs to distant huts, but most national and forest parks do have huts that are very accessible and still provide a good outdoors experience.
Huts which come to mind which are great destinations for first-time trampers and families include Rangi and Sunrise huts in the Ruahine; Atiwhakatu and Waiopehu huts in the Tararua; Mangaturuturu, Blyth and Mangaehuehu huts in Tongariro National Park; and Maketawa, Waingongoro, Lake Dive and Waiaua Gorge huts in Egmont National Park.
The 26-bunk Atiwhakatu hut, accessed from Mt Holdsworth, near Masterton, is particularly suitable as the three hour track, following the Atiwhakatu Stream, is well-formed and flat. As such it is an excellent entry level hut. This has been recognised by the Conservation Department which has rebuilt the hut a number of times and done up the track.
The Wanganui Tramping Club has the Atiwhakatu Hut in its sights for October, with the prospect of a climb up to tops if the weather and circumstances permit.
In October the club will also mark the 25th anniversary of its annual Taranaki weekends. Traditionally our club arranges its own tramp on the Saturday and joins with New Plymouth Tramping Club for a combined outing on the Sunday.
The club's October weekend programme is:
■ Sat-Sun, Oct 7-8, Taranaki weekend, leader Dave
■ Sat or Sun, Oct 7 or 8, Old Coach Rd, leader Frances
■ Sat-Sun, Oct 14-15, Atiwhakatu Hut, leader Shane
■ Sat or Sun, Oct 14 or 15, Mangamahu meanders, leader Brenda
■ Sat-Mon, Oct 21-23, Ruahine ramble, leader Tracey
■ Sat, Sun or Mon, Oct 21, 22 or 23, Manawatu Gorge Track, leader Dorothy
■ Sat-Sun, Oct 28-29, Trains Hut, leader Brian
■ Sat or Sun, Oct 28 or 29, Kapakapanui circuit, leader Val
Make all inquiries about trips to Barbara phone 348 9149 or Dorothy phone 345 7039.
The midweekers have a full programme of interesting trips every Wednesday.
Those who get out on Thursday are in two groups, with longer walks on October 5 and 19 and shorter ones for the TT2 group on October 12 and 26. The Wednesday contact is Margret, phone 344 3899, and the Thursday contact is Val, phone 345 0456.
To join weekend trips call the leader by the previous Tuesday at the latest. Call by the night before for day trips. As some trips have limited numbers, leaders have the final say about who to take as they are responsible for the safety and well-being of everyone on their trips.
For further information contact Barbara at 348 9149 or visit our website www.wanganuitrampingclub.net
The next meeting at the Deerstalkers' Hall, Peat St, at 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 4 will feature an illustrated talk by club member David Taylor on his family tramp to the Hump Ridge Track in Southland. All welcome.