Central Whirinaki Hut

#54 – 24th August 2015

This hut is situated in a brilliant clearing alongside the Whirinaki River in the Whirinaki Forest, Te Urewera National Park. It is an important river for whio (blue duck) which are considered a nationally vulnerable species. Based on the hut book, there is plenty of sightings of them around here. You’ll find an information board on the blue duck here also.

The Whirinaki Forest is also known for stinging nettle or “Ongaonga’. I kept my eye out the whole trip and managed to spot it once (giving it a good wide berth), its known for a painful sting and it can make you delirious. Another interesting feature nearby is a reasonable sized cave not far off the track back to Plateau Road from here. We didn’t visit it this time but its meant to be worth a visit (just don’t continue this way, along the caves track towards Upper Whirinaki Hut unless very experienced as the track is difficult and not recommended).

Central Whirinaki is the only serviced hut on the Whirinaki circuit and surrounding area’s circuit known as the ‘Te Hoe Circuit’. You can reach it from Plateau Road (Taupo end) or River Road (near Murapara – SH38)  It holds 24 people in two bunkrooms with a few living area platforms, and has a large kitchen/dining area with a good fire. There is definitely a lot of pigs in the area and we saw a stoat trying its luck on entry to the hut. At his size I see no way in for him – thank goodness.

We spent two nights here to wait out some rain. The day we arrived we had a few trying rays of sunshine before the following days rain.

We spent a couple of hours that first arvo filling the woodshed and chopping up wood. We don’t have tools or anything for helping our huts on this particular series of trips but we like to use some time ensuring our presence is at the very least catered for and preferably even more. We filled the woodshed and chopped plenty of wood. I think at least 10 nights of fires should be catered for 🙂

I’ve arrived cold and wet at huts before, and at huts where sometimes there has been little wood left. Its extremely important for hut users to at least replace the wood they use, and do ‘pay it forward’ where you can. It at the very least keeps us all happy and cosy out there, and in worst case scenarios, saves lives!

Further Information:

http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/east-coast/places/whirinaki-te-pua-a-tane-conservation-park/things-to-do/huts/central-whirinaki-hut/

http://doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/birds/birds-a-z/blue-duck-whio/

http://www.doc.govt.nz/documents/getting-involved/students-and-teachers/field-trips-by-region/kapiti-education-kit/Species%20cards/ongaonga-tree-nettle.pdf

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