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Normal Topic Tararua's - Burn Hut (Read 14241 times)
Kaweka_Neil
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Tararua's - Burn Hut
Aug 18th, 2014 at 12:48am
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Saturdayís weather forecast was good, with Fridayís shitty weather predicted to clear midday.† My wife and I decided to do a day trip to Burn Hut in the Tararuaís, behind Shannon.†

The plan was to leave from Mangahao Lower No. 2 Resevoir and climb up to Burn Hut which is located out in the leatherwood at a height of about 750 meters.† When you arrive at Burn Hut you have the choice of backtracking back the way you came, or doing a loop down to College Creek and the Mangahao Upper No. 1 Resevoir.† You are then faced with a fairly long walk back down the road to the car you left at the no. 2 dam.

The Mangahao Power Project
A bit of history.† The Mangahao Hydro-electric power station was the first of many hydro power stations to be built in New Zealand.† Mangahao was to supply power not only for Wellington, but also Horowhenua, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and the Wairarapa.

The Mangahao River which flowed eastward into the Wairarapa was dammed and its flow diverted via a tunnel into a reservoir formed by a dam on the westward flowing Tokomaru Stream. From there via another tunnel the flow passed into a surge chamber and down a hill in dual penstocks to the power station located on the Mangore Stream; the tunnels and pipelines totalling 4.8 kilometres. Water storage in the two reservoirs were an essential part of the scheme, necessitated by the variability of the Mangahao river flow.

War delayed the start of construction, but by late 1919 access roading and foundation testing was well in hand. Slow and difficult access made it necessary for camps to be set up close to the construction sites at Arapeti (No.3 dam and tunnel) and Mangahao No.2 dam. No.2 tunnel construction claimed 8 lives, 7 by carbon monoxide in one incident!

The station was opened in November 1924, with first supply going to the local Horowhenua area. Coverage was soon extended 100 km to Wellington by duplicate 110KV lines, followed by similar lines to Bunnythorpe near Palmerston North for supply to the Manawatu


Project map layout


Mangahao Hydro Electric Power Scheme tunnel, circa 1920s


Mangahao power station, Opening day 1924


Itís a long windy gravel road into the Mangahao dams.† When you arrive at the No. 2 dam there is very little car parking.† Probably space for 2 or 3 cars only.† The photo below doesn't really show the tightness for parking, instead making the area look larger than it probably is.† To reach the track you must first walk across the dam to the other side.†


Car parking area - room for 2 or 3 cars


The walking bridge across dam No.2

The DOC sign indicates 3 hours is needed to get to Burn hut, which would probably be about right if you had a full pack with overnight gear.† The sign also says it takes 6 to 7 hours if you continue onto dam No. 1.†

Initially, the track sidles alongside the Mangahao River for 30 to 45 minutes or so, and after crossing a large side creek which is bridged, then climbs steeply upwards.† An hour or so of climbing will see you breaking out of the bush into heavy thick leatherwood scrub.† Another 30 to 45 minutes of travel along the undulating wet boggy track will have you at the hut.† We completed the trip to the hut in under 2.5 hours but we werenít carrying much in our pack.† Well, to be honest, my wife carried our pack all day, apart from a half hour spell I gave her while climbing up through the bush.† She is keen to compete in the Tararua Mountain Race early next year and hadnít been out in the hills for a couple of months or so, so was eager to give the legs a workout.† If she wants to carry the pack, thatís ok with me!

There wasnít any wind to speak on the tops, and it was sunny and warm.† An excellent day to get out and about after the crappy weather we had had all week.†

As you trudge along the low leatherwood covered ridge, Burn Hut is clearly visible in the distance.



Burn Hut is a great little hut and would be an excellent choice to spend a day when the weather is shitty outside.† The hut has large windows that let in plenty of light.† There were six mattresses and two levels to sleep on.† When you enter the hut, you first enter a separate vestibule for hanging and changing out of wet gear.† Then go through another door into the hut proper.


Burn Hut



If you do the circuit, you climb up from the hut to the main ridge at 830 odd meters.† You do get a view of the snow covered higher peaks to the south.



If doing the circuit, follow the ridge to the south and drop down the spur to the junction of college creek and another tributary.† From there you move down the river to the No. 1 dam.† You will need to cross the dam via a walkbridge to get to the car park area.

Because we had left late from Wellington, we didnít really have enough time to complete the round trip in daylight.† So for us, we took the easy option and retraced our steps back to the car.

Once we got back to the car we drove up to dam No 1, where the track to begins to Mangahao Flats Hut, which I am thinking of doing later this week.† Below are a few photos of dam no.1 and the resevoir.








  
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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #1 - Aug 18th, 2014 at 6:00am
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new hut looks cool, Neill
the previous one was ok, but used to be in a mess, a lot
tried to go up the ridge behind the hut,  before it was cut. regetted it. Lotta leatherwood around the eh
  
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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #2 - Aug 18th, 2014 at 6:02am
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Looks a bit tidier since I was there last, I remember seeing deer prints along the track from the bushline to about where the old hut used to be.

Couldn't imagine how you could actually see deer with leatherwood that thick!
  

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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #3 - Aug 18th, 2014 at 6:39am
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are there any trout in the reservoir ?
  
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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #4 - Aug 18th, 2014 at 6:40am
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Beaut write up thanks KN.
  
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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #5 - Aug 18th, 2014 at 7:14am
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top write up
  

It is much better to Hit the Animal in the right place, with a Rifle you can shoot well, then to hit it poorly with a Large Calibre..John Nosler
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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #6 - Aug 18th, 2014 at 7:34am
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Great report.  Looks like an interesting spot.
  
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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #7 - Aug 18th, 2014 at 8:33am
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Thanks for writing that up. Its the only hut in the Tararuas that I haven't been to after reading that I must make the effort and get there.
  

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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #8 - Aug 18th, 2014 at 10:54am
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Enjoyed that, thanks!
  
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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #9 - Aug 18th, 2014 at 11:11pm
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Interesting stuff - thanks for that.
  
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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #10 - Aug 19th, 2014 at 10:14am
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From memory it is a 45min walk between the dams.  Burn Hut is a great spot and a nice loop track.
  
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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #11 - Aug 19th, 2014 at 10:47am
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Cheers† Smiley it's good to see your still exploring, and expanding your horizons as your reputation grows† Cool
  

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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #12 - Aug 20th, 2014 at 3:35am
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I ws there last in 1976 and I recall a hut (the old one I guess) closely surrounded by bush. The area around the dam still looks the same though.
  
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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #13 - Aug 20th, 2014 at 5:34am
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Thanks for the feedback guys, much appreciated.† I'm just back from Mangahao Flats hut.

TH - There were a few comments in the hut book regarding the hut being found in a mess.† Seems common with huts near the roadend - Renata comes to mind.† I've spent years battling through leatherwood, and the leatherwood around Burn hut would be ranked as "shit".

Scoped - On our walk we saw a few fresh hoof prints in the mud up by the bush line.† Nothing outside in the scrub - those deer aren't stupid!

  
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Re: Tararua's - Burn Hut
Reply #14 - Aug 20th, 2014 at 6:26am
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Mangahao flats track aint any fun either, almost not worth the effort
  

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