Well the rain had continued on through the night, and was still going strong in the morning. This change in weather condition made us re-think our original plan and we decided to go for a shorter option on our second day in the Waimana Valley.
Our new destination was Te Pua Hut - we were to reach the hut via the track that crosses the ridge to the east of Te Panaa. After a hearty porridge breakfast, we packed up our gear and during a lull in the rain, we headed off following the sign to the Six Foot Track near the hut.
A short distance from the hut, we dropped down into the Oireakahanui Stream. we followed this for about 250m before the track led upwards to the Six Foot Track about 30 minutes from the hut.
At the crossroads with the Six Foot Track, the rain got heavier and the wet weather gear came out for the its first use in a long time. We carried on up the steep and slippery track until we reached the ridge line about an hour and a half after starting the climb from the Six Foot Track.
We decided to have a quick lunch and then hurry on to the hut as there was no sign of the rain easing up. We carried on along the ridge for another 90 minutes before the track dropped steeply down towards the Tauranga River.
It was a steep climb down from the ridge, and our legs really felt like we'd done a good day's hiking by the time we reached the valley floor and the shelter of Te Pua Hut. At the hut, we met a hunter who had had a successful morning when he had bagged a stag. His companion was still out trying to get his first deer of their trip.
Although the huts are only 4 kms apart, it had taken us 4.5 hours to reach Te Pua. The weather hadn't helped and the steepness of the ridge had certainly slowed me down!
Te Pua is situated in a clearing near the Tauranga River. It has eight bunks and rather unusually a ranch-slider door and two armchairs! The hut seems to be frequented mainly by hunters and there were few entries in the hut log by trampers.
We spent the rest of the day chatting with the hunters and finished up with a lovely dinner out on the deck of the hut.