Didn’t get my boots on and out the door until after 10 am so no wonder I didn’t have such a big day. The sign said 3.5 hours but when you sit and stare at a river gorge for an hour or so, and generally muck about looking for whio/blue ducks, or kakariki/parakeets, the day can stretch out.

The Taipo is a beaut valley to wander down, you climb onto an occasional river terrace but is mostly just easy walking through the mature beech forest. Not much in the way of undergrowth other than moss for extensive sections, the valley wouldn’t receive much direct sunlight in winter. And no crown fern which is common in other parts of the South Island Beach forests, maybe the granite soils are too acidic.

Once I crossed the Taipo River on a loose swing bridge there was a brief climb and it all became much more recognisable as an historic benched packhorse track. Some extensive chiselling of the granite although in general the track has rather fallen into disrepair.

There is the remnants of an old hut, the Tabernacle, built by the surveyor of the road in 1898 as an A-frame shelter out local timber, now just rotting slabs in a heap, and a few rusty shovels and pics from the six summers 1893 to 1899 when work was done on building the narrow road to the West Coast. I guess a fair amount of dynamite was also used.

It’s sad this historic location is in such disrepair generally.

Taipo Hut has a tired feel, not helped by the most of the windows have polycarbonate, not glass, and have become opaque over the last 37 years. The benching and tables are mostly galvanised steel sheet, not stainless, which is looking, err, worn, if not rusty.

But enough of those complaints, it really was a beautiful walking day.

Now I’m thinking, as I’m currently on my lonesome, I’ll be having an early night tonight.

+++++horizontal rule+++++

A guide to the night’s accommodation: Helicopter Flat Hut

You can see the later addition to the hut. It's a great verandah. |  Helicopter Flat Hut, Kahurangi National Park
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