It’s been a while since we carried out this track but it’s still clearly in my mind. It was one of those trips when we took an advantage of our fully furnished four-wheel hotel and spent the first night in the middle of nowhere. It’s always a bit surprising where we gonna wake up the next day because we usually arrive to our overnight spot when it’s dark already.
The next day, on the way to Mt. Taranaki, we stopped at Bason Botanic Garden which was a gorgeous place for having a breakfast, especially during such a sunny day.
We arrived to North Egmont after midday when a car park was full and a visitor centre was flooded by tourists. We thought we might be able to do this track in two days with one overnight stay in the further Pouakai Hut but after a warning that the hut might be pretty full we bought two tickets for two nights in huts.
The track started quite hard with steep climbing up to the stairs but once we got above montane forest it continued with gentle path along the volcano hillside and we had amazing views of surrounding landscape. Before the path descended to Holly Hut we had a great view of Ahukawakawa swamp.
There weren’t many people at Holly Hut, so after finding a bed for night we still had enough time to do a side trip to Bells Falls about 45 minutes away from the hut.
On the way back to the hut, it was quickly getting dark in the forest and we got to the hut right on time. After a lovely dinner - tuna and noodles - straight to sleeping bags. Yep, that was that night when we realized that our sleeping bags were not really comfortable in temperatures below 15 degrees.
When we woke up the next day morning, the yesterday’s paradise disappeared. It was cold, misty and drizzling. We set off early heading towards the swamp with fast pace to keep ourselves warm. Crossing Ahukawakawa swamp was a bit adventurous as part of boardwalk was under the water. The weather started to be really bad so as we reached the Pouakai Hut we decided to have a break there to get a bit warm. Luckily, the hut was still heated from previous overnight guests.
As it was still early in the morning and the weather forecast was even worse for the next day we decided to finish the track by the end of the day. Climbing up to Henry Peak was bit exhausting but on the other hand it was pretty quick as the stairs led straight up. It was such a shame that there were such bad weather conditions because otherwise the views would be wonderful.
Lately in the afternoon when we passed the Waiwhakaiho River the sun even came out from cloud. However, the whole next day it was heavily raining and so we were glad, that we managed to finished the track in two days and instead we enjoyed the road trip back home. One great thing! There is an amazing strawberry farm on the way back home with the biggest strawberry ice cream I’ve ever had!