Sunday, 12 March 2017

Hike to Crosbies Hut - Coromandel Forest Park

This is a hike and hut I’ve wanted to check out for awhile and it seemed like a good length to bring along some hiking newbie’s. Not so long as to be daunting, but not so short as to be too easy and boring. The hut is quite a new 10 bed hut, so it would make for a nice hut to hang out at and stay the night. This was also to be a training hike for me to build up to the Kaimai Range, so my pack weighted 16kg, with a bunch of stuff I really didn’t need but I wanted a reasonable weight for training with.

The hike is listed at 4-6 hours so I decided to hike the long way up and the shorted way down. This is my usual strategy for having the harder day first, and the easier day second. Being that this day was only listed as 6 hours, and we had pre booked the hut we had plenty of time for the hike. I parked the car at boom flat at 11.30, and walked along the gravel road to Wainora camp site to start the walk. The start of the track was very easy, a wide gravel tourists track, then we hit the stairs. The stairs seemed to go up for an hour, I think we gained half of the elevation here on the stairs. 

Easy start
So many stairs

After the stairs we were in standard hiking terrain, not rough, but certainly not a tourist track. We continued to gain elevation slowly over the next hour or two before coming to a high tops section with some great views. We got to orange peel corner in 3 hours 45 minutes of walking with multiple short breaks. After a 20 minute break to chill out the rest of the way was pretty easy going.

Hands were a bit cold along the ridge line
Table mountain, not sure if there is an easy way to the top
This is all there is at orange peel corner
The last section of track before the hut meets up with a track coming in from Thames. I think this is the old track to Crosbies Settlement, now it appears to be a quad bike track at best. There are several tracks like this than converge onto the Crosbies hut area. I’d love to try them all out but I’d either have to organise transport from the different start and end points, or walk in and out on the same track. The total elevation gain for the track we took was approximately 600m, which is a fair bit considering the shorter distance of hike. I suspect on my own I could have made it up in 5 hours.

Last section of hike on an easy track

We arrived at the hut at about 5:30 (6 hours total including breaks) to a really cool hut and an amazing view. The hut is quite new, all one room with bucks for 10 people at one end, a coal fire place, bench and tables at the other end.

Very nice hut

My standard meal for an overnighter like this is a can of baked beans, cheese and sausages. This went down a treat, and was followed up with some very good red wine. I had carried the wine up for the four of us each to have a glass, little did I know that two others of the group had bought a bottle each as well, and only two of us felt like having a drink. I ended up drinking a bottle on my own which isn’t too much, but I don’t normally drink so it hit me pretty hard and made me a little slower the next day. It wasn’t too bad, but in future I’ll only ever share a bottle on a hike, never all on my own.

The view from the hut in the morning

The next day was quite an easy walk down via a different track back to booms campground. We left at 9AM and got back to the car just before 1pm with less than 4 hours for total hiking. So the track times for 4-6 hours are pretty much spot on.

Large kauri on the way down.

I really enjoyed this hike, the climb was slightly difficult but not too hard and it paid off with some great views both along the way and at the hut. The track was well marked and maintained. The hut itself was great and had everything you could want out of a hut. I’d definitely be happy to hike this track again. 

1 comment:

  1. What a great big experience. Ridge lines are always rewarding, and that hut looks like an ideal respite. Well done you fullas.