Day 3 started off very wet, and the forecast was for it to get even wetter as they day went on. So we decided to again make an early start and were off before 8 am.
A lot of the third day is dipping into valleys and out of them, in fairly barren landscapes. Some of them looked like Mars!
Eventually we hit some shrubs.
And then after a couple of hours, we hit actual bush with canopy cover. Yay. And even better the forecast proved crap, and the sun came out.
You descend quickly down to a stream, and cross it by bridge.
Then there is a fairly demanding climb up on the other side.
Then one crosses over the top and head down through more bush towards the new Waihohonu Hut.
We got to the hut in around two and a half hours, and were the first people there. That meant we got the individual bunk beds rather than the shared ones 🙂
We then decided to go explore a couple of local attractions. By chance the DOC Warden (Rachel) had just started the day before so she was also keen to check them out, so we went exploring together. This is the foot of the nearby Waihohonu Spring emerging from underground.
The spring opens up into a large body of water. It is a 1.2 km walk from the hut only and a cold but lovely place for a swim.
Enjoying the spring was this very rare Blue Duck. We were told to report the sighting to the DOC office at Whakapapa as they like to monitor where they are seen, and try to protect them from predators.
After the spring we went to see the original Waihohonu Hut built in 1904. Around 800 metres away.
The inside of the old hut. They had separate rooms for men and women!
Then back to the hut. This is one of the new huts, or really a lodge. Infinitely nicer than the old huts.
As you can see, lots of room inside.
We had a very relaxing afternoon and evening just relaxing at the hut, playing cards and attempting to sleep. More on that in Day 4!
Also met during Day 3 a young couple from Palmie and Hawke’s Bay who were running the entire Northern Circuit in one day. Further they plan to run all eight of the Great Walks, in eight days (one per day but not consecutive). That’s an impressive level of fitness. They were having a brief meal break at the hut before carrying on.
Not that difficult to run 50 kms or so in a day. Is more difficult to do it on rough terrain and much more difficult to do it when there are steep 1000 metres ascents as part of the run,.