Whakahoro Blue Duck Cabin (River Quarters) – Johnson’s Shelter
1219km – 1241km, 22km, 8:30hrs
The Mangapurua-Kaiwakauka Track
I started the day walking to Blue Duck Cafe and had eggs bene + bacon for breakfast. Dan the Stations owner made sure I would stop and spend some time at the water fall and sent me on my way at 9:00.
Looking back at my stay last night, Whanganui River, Blue Duck Station.
Light rain to start leaving the bunk room quarters then hot sunshine all day, light rain to finish at 5:30.
Another enjoyable day! Bush walking is so much easier than walking the gravel roads. Walking into Whakahoro and out are highlights so far. The vast spaces, steep hills and gully’s are chock-a-block full of lush bush, huge trees and plenty of ferns.
The Mangapurua – Kaiwakauka Track was filled with bird song but I didn’t actually see too many. The pigeons and pheasants flew off as I approached. It’s different to see pukeko startled and fly off with their legs dangling under them, they look awkward flying. A few wild goats, rabbits and butterflies, just perfect!
As I entered Whanganui National Park a camp was being set up by goat cullers. Most dogs were tied up but one barked and got close to me before being called back. There was a notice warning people on the track about dogs and firearms being used by professional cullers.
The other danger was cyclists screaming down as I was climbing to the summit. Crickey they go fast and gave me a fright.
I decided once at the trig to keep going to Johnson’s Shelter to make tomorrow easier to meet the boat at 4:00. It was an easy 2 hour walk downhill to Johnson’s Shelter. As others have suggested in the Guthook/FarOut it’s the better shelter. It is a semi permanent set up for hunters and track maintenance contractors. It sits on the old Johnson’s homestead with the remnants of the old gardens.
When I arrived the shelter was occupied by the track contractors. They came in a bit later with a couple of deer shot before work this morning. They invited me over for a chat and to share the shelter and shelter supplies.
“The toilet is good, we’ve just moved this one recently.” They had some good stories to tell. One, a maori Whanganui River man helped build the track we walk on. He talked about the old settlers and family who still come back regularly to spend time here hunting. I asked about the pa sites but he was brief on details other than how important the entire area is to the people, including the settlers. The other contractors knew the area very well too. All the old buildings are gone now but some chimneys remain along with paths. On the track you often come across old concrete pipes that once served to direct water off the path.
A highlight today was spending time at the water fall. A steep climb down was challenging and slippery, coming back up was easier. I didn’t see any blue ducks but climbing down into the canyon was pretty special.
I explored the hunters quarters around the shelter and the remnants of the original settlers home. I was told that only chimneys remain of the old settlers homes and one along the track has been restored, the Bettjemann. Below is the concrete path to the old Johnson’s house, plenty of fruit trees and roses survive. And the vege – herb garden probably maintained by the hunters. Parsley silver beet and beans.
I collected wool from the fences early in the day to stuff between my toes. Sensitive little toe the remnants of blisters.