Where: Turangi, Taupō
Distance & Time: 3 hours, approx 10km
Take: Camera, sturdy shoes, water, togs, things you need for a hut stay
Amenities on route: Carpark + information boards at the start of the walk. Basic hut with mattresses, fireplace, bathroom
Cost of the walk: Free, hut stay is $5
While this hut was very cool, I will forever associate it with the natural hot pools on Spa Road in Taupō that we went to after doing an overnight trip to this hut – exactly what our bodies needed!
We met some friends in Turangi for brunch before driving to the carpark for this walk. There isn’t great signage coming from the Turangi end, thankfully our friends knew where to go! There were a few other cars there but as it is also a park for a cycle trail it was tricky to know whether it was an indicator of how busy the hut was going to be.
To actually get to the start of the track you have to walk along the road for a few minutes, crossing the bridge and starting the walk on the other side of the road from the carpark. The track pretty much follows the Waihaha River up to the hut so it isn’t too difficult at all.
In fact, one of our friends took their mountain bike as they had to be out early the next morning to meet some other friends to go mountain biking in Taupō so the four of us all took turns on the bike which was actually quite fun even if on a few parts I had to do that weird cycling-feet-walking-on-the-ground manoeuvre on a few parts of the trail. Thankfully when I was on the bike Paul carried my pack for me which made it so much easier on the bike.
The trail is easy going, it’s not too strenuous at all and we took our time getting to the hut. There were a few others at the hut when we arrived but we managed to snag beds and busted out the snacks straight away – fresh bread, vege sticks, dip and a piping hot cup of tea were just what we needed!
Amy’s Advice – have a dip in the river if it’s a nice day, and then on your return to Taupō stop by the natural hot springs on Spa Road. Perfect to warm up and soak tired muscles in!
We ended up talking to some people in the hut who worked for DOC and they told us some great stories about the nearby trails and huts. It’s always so neat to meet and chat with people in the hut as invariably some good stories always come up! A couple of the guys were trying their luck with hunting but unfortunately they didn’t succeed this time. A guy we passed on our way in was much more successful and had two deer. Another couple were doing a multi day loop and had just come down a trail which sounded super gnarly with lots of climbing down holding on to roots and branches to make it down safely!
The friends we were with ended up putting their tent up as did another couple of latecomers to the hut – always pays to be prepared just in case the hut was full, which it was tonight. We had the fire going and it was super cosy inside and I’m pretty sure everyone was tucked up and asleep in their sleeping bags by 9pm.
The next morning we took our time packing up and getting ready to leave as we weren’t in a huge rush and it seemed like nearly everyone else was feeling the same. The walk back was fairly easy going and actually felt quicker than it did coming in (isn’t that always the way?) Thankfully our cars were still in the carpark when we returned, there is always that wee knot in my stomach hoping that the car will still be there, untouched, every time we return from an overnight hike. Touch wood, nothing has happened so far and hopefully it continues that way!
We kept driving around the lake towards Taupō to get a) lunch and b) have a soak. I don’t know how we managed to time it so well but we had the Spa Rd natural hot springs almost all to ourselves. The water levels were way down on what Paul had previously experienced there but it was glorious just lying in the warm water and letting our muscles relax! Best way to finish up an overnight hike.
The photos were taken by Paul + I!
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