Another cold morning greeted me as I stepped outside the hut, not as clear and sunny as the previous day but just as chilly. I started out fairly early as I wanted to make sure I reached Waiopaoa before dark and in the end my concerns were unjustified as I made good time especially towards the end of the day.
From Marauiti hut the side track leads back towards the main track, at which point it heads straight up and over a small spur. It only takes 30 minutes or so to get over the spur and reach the junction for the Maraunui camp site on the other side. The track then heads inland to cross the Te Wharau river upstream.
Having doubled back on yourself on the opposite bank of the stream the track passes through some private land. There are a couple of baches
near the track, well set up for their owners, one even having a TV satellite dish on its roof! The track starts to climb up to Te Kotoreotaunoa point and turns sharply to the right to follow the lake side. From here there are lovely views down the Wairau Arm of the lake towards your destination, Waiopaoa hut.
The DOC leaflet suggests 2.5 hours for this section between the camp sites of Maraunui and Korokoro, however it took me over three hours not including stops. Again a lot of repairs had been done on the track through this section and these new routes would take up and over sections where the old track would have headed straight through.
The Korokoro camp site is a handy spot for lunch, and the waterfall side trip is only a few hundred metres on from the camp site. Having taken extra time on the previous section I decided against the side trip and carried straight on the hut. However Murphy's Law applied and I took less than the 1.5 hours for this section arriving at the hut with plenty of daylight left to have done a side trip to the falls. The falls were considered worthwhile by other trampers I met on the track. Having missed out, I consoled myself by starting up the log burner in the hut. Waiopaoa is the only hut without gas heating, but DOC provide a plentiful supply of wood i.e. you are not supposed to chop you own! The wood is in a shack but it was still a bit wet. However I soon got the fire going and warmed up the hut nicely.
was built mid 2006 and has a lovely look and feel. The log burner certainly heats up the hut more than a gas heater would and gives the place a great atmosphere. The hut is situated about 20 metres from the lake's edge and I would imagine it's a great spot in the summer.