A return walk to the Koranga Forks refuge in December for members of the Gisborne Canoe and the Tramping Club began with a delicate approach. Gillian Ward reports. . .
This was one of the trips of the Gisborne Canoe and Tramping Club where the departure was part of the adventure! Moanui Road, next to Te Wera Road, is narrow and winding with some rockfall, and careful driving was required.
Those who were not driving enjoyed the blooming of tawari, kamahi, kanuka and putaputaweta in the Moanui Conservation Area as we followed the Koranga River towards the start of the Koranga Forks trail.
At the end of Moanui Road – the start of the trail – the Department of Conservation has erected a beautifully designed new information board / information board, “Waioeka Conservation Area and Te Urewera”.
Our first highlight at the start of this walk was seeing a family of four, blue ducks, on the Koranga River.
Twenty-four self-resetting traps have been set at 100m intervals along the trail to the Koranga Forks hut, which will be effective in reducing the number of ermines and rats, thus allowing them to ci to breed successfully by the river.
The trail to Koranga Forks Hut follows the Koranga River and there are swimming opportunities on the way. Most of the walk takes place under the tall tawa forest, or regenerating bush, and part of the trail crosses farmland. It is mostly close to the river but climbs high on unstable slides in some spots.
There is an option B.. .
On this trip we hiked ’round trip’ to Koranga Forks Hut, but another option is to take a two and a half day trip, staying at both Koranga Forks and Tawa Huts.
There are several waterfalls in the bush which we enjoyed along the trail, while being careful on the slippery rocks. A swing bridge crosses the Koranga River just above its junction with the Kahunui stream. From the swing bridge, it’s a five-minute walk to Koranga Forks Hut.
In recent years, the runway has suffered damage from several small slips and stalls. A team from the Department of Conservation in the Gisborne office worked on track maintenance, and cleaned and repaired the hut, in February 2020. We appreciated their work in creating narrow tracks through the slides and installing the huts. ‘a new galvanized iron chain as a handrail through a cascade passage. , and the hut looks cool and stylish.
However, even with this upkeep, the track now requires a higher level of ability than before. Several of our party slipped on rocks or fell off the trail! Fortunately, there were no serious incidents. Some have also rubbed shoulders with the ongaonga, the shrub nettle. A brush is all you need to get a bad bite.
We had light rain showers throughout the day, and it was hot and humid – sticky weather for walking. Most walkers enjoyed a quick dip in Kahunui stream near Koranga Hut. The water was cold and very refreshing!
One of the party brought a fishing rod that folds up and fits into his bag, and tried a few casts on the river but was unsuccessful. Maybe the swimmers disturbed the trout!
The club are very grateful to Gay Young for the effort she puts into his photography during club walks. She has an artistic eye and creates exceptional photos! It is difficult to concentrate on fishing or photography when walking in a group.
Two senior lifetime members of the Gisborne Canoe and Tramping Club drove to the start of the trail with our group and then as we left they planned to boil the billy for a cup of tea and have fun for the day fishing, walking and relaxing in a beautiful location. It was a pleasure to have Life Members with us and to hear some of the stories from many previous visits.
Koranga Forks Hut is always a good wanderer for families with children, but people who do need good skills for walking on rough trails. It would be a good idea to carry a tent, or a fly and a groundsheet, as the hut only has six berths and is popular with hunters and fishermen. The advice on the DoC website is that the 5 mile hike to Koranga Forks Hut takes two to three hours, but with young children at least four hours should be allowed, taking advantage of stops along the way.
RIVER CROSSING: Gillian Ward crosses the swing bridge that crosses the Koranga River just above its junction with Kahunui Creek. The bridge is a five-minute walk from Koranga Forks Hut. Photo by Gay Young
Care Needed: A recent slide demolished the trail, and Conservation Department staff formed a new bypass trail through it. Derek Barthow and Gay Young negotiate their way through the New Path. Photo by Gillian Ward
FAMILY OUTING: Walkers were delighted to see this family of whio, or blue duck, at the start. Photo by Gay Young
WATERFALLS: Hikers enjoyed the view of several bush waterfalls along the trail, while being careful of the slippery rocks. Some cooled in the Kahunui stream near Koranga Hut. They reported the water to be cold but very refreshing in humid conditions. Photo by Gay Young
There are several waterfalls in the bush which can be enjoyed along the trail, while being careful on slippery rocks. Photo by Gay Young
NEW SIGN: At the end of Moanui Road and at the start of the trail, the Department of Conservation has installed a new well-designed sign and information board, “Waioeka and Te Urewera Conservation Area”. Photo by Gay Young