Sunset and sunrise with sea and mountain views? Sounds like Crosbies Hut, the lesser known Kauaeranga Valley cousin of the Pinnacles Hut.
Crosbies Hut is situated in an area with a fascinating and chilling history, including farming, mining, and murder. As trampers, we were completely unaware of the crime committed in this area until we reached the hut and read the memorial for the two Swedish trampers, Heidi Paakkonen and Uban Hoglin, missing and killed in 1989. This knowledge added an air of solemnity to our trip and provoked reflection on the vulnerability of trampers and others isolated in the outdoors. Joining us wild women were a mother and 20-something daughter duo who were doing one last tramp together before the daughter started her solo journey on the Te Araroa Trail. A reminder of this horror could mean a sober start for such a monumental journey. When you've encountered with terrible stories like this one, it's easy to become fearful, but important to balance it with an appreciation for the relative safety of tramping in New Zealand. Not easy for anyone, let alone a mum about to wish her daughter well on a 3000 kilometre tramp across New Zealand.
Our wild women tramping group has a beautiful and delicious tradition of gathering for dinner and/or drinks for adventure planning. It often takes quite a few gatherings to figure out the perfect plan. Some of our partners have become a bit suspect about our intention to be efficient in our planning. In this case, this worked to our advantage as one of the partners decided to take planning into his own hands. He ran to the hut ahead of time to check the route and suggest the most suitable combination of tracks for our group's ability. We had a few carloads so decided to make a loop of it.
On day 1, we headed up the Waiomu Track, which starts with the Waiomu Kauri Grove Track before joining the Tapu Summit Track and reaching Crosbies Hut. On day 2, we returned via the Waiotahi Track.
The downside of amazing views means that the hut is in an exposed spot that could be cold in high winds or wet conditions. On the cool September night of our visit, the wind was whipping up and causing a great racket in the hut. To avoid the noise we slept on the front deck, the perfect spot for taking in the evening colours and the morning sunrise.
Day 1 - Waiomu Track
Time: 5 hours
Day 2 - Waiotahi Track
Time: 5 hours
Barefoot: Not attempted.