The start of the tramp is on the Waimana Valley Road, which leaves State Highway 2 betweem Taneatua and Opotiki. The start is marked with a sign indicating times to both Onepu and Ohora Huts. There is parking opposite.
Having done a day tramp in the Waimana Valley last year, I was keen to come up here again. So, Taiana and I decided to hike into Onepu Hut via Pohatu Track and back out via the Onepu Ridge to point a few kms south of the Pohatu start.
We parked the car in a small grassy clearing opposite the start of the track, slung the packs on our backs and off we went. After about 30 minutes of following the Orouamananui Stream, we reached a small junction in the stream where the Pohatu Track begins. The track heads off straight up a steep climb.
As we climbed the track, the cicaders seemed to get louder, the noise from them was incredible! It took us about an hour to reach the top of the climb, and at that point we decided to stop for a sandwich. After refuelling we carried on along the Pohatu Track - after a good trek it starts to drop down to the Pohatu Stream.
The stream was easier going, as the track was quite overgrown in places, but was still good hiking. Almost four hours after lunch we reached the Pohatu-Ohora Junction.
At this junction if you follow the Ohora downstream, you will reach the Ohora Hut, on the Whakatane Valley Track. However our destination lay upstream and according to the sign it was only 45 minutes away. The thought of a cuppa spurred us on to our goal.
And just over 45 minutes later we reached Onepu Hut, in a large clearing next to the Ohora Stream. The hut already had a resident - a rat - whom we quickly evicted. Unfortunately the hut was in a bit of a state, more due to the lack of visitors I guess, as, on average, the hut book only contained entries about once a month. Anyway after a quick clean up, the hut was back to a decent standard.
It's shame not more people come here, as it is a lovely spot, then again, it means that we had this beautiful place to ourselves.
Later that evening, we shared a bottle of bubbles, star-gazed and listened to the calls of moreporks - only in New Zealand!
Well, today, on paper, promised to be a fairly straight forward three to five hour tramp (according to DOC) out to the road with a stretch along there back to the car.
Well, we can tell a different story, it was a good five hours from the hut to the Valley Road. If you can do it in three, good on ya! It was all hard yakka too, even a hunter friend commented that he'd found this track hard.
Then we did a bit of a bush bash to get to the road before hiking a dusty few kms back to the car. We're not complaining, it was just a bit unexpected!
Despite the hard work on the second day, the tramp was enjoyable and the hut lovely. I'd thoroughly recommend a visit to this lovely part of the Urewera National Park.