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November 2017 Issue
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Keep an eye out for whio as you splash down the Pohangina River en route to Ngamoko Hut. Photo: Anthony Behrens

Ngamoko Hut, Ruahine Forest Park

DOC rangers aren’t the only ones who know where the hidden treasures are. Janet Wilson from Palmerston North Tramping and Mountaineering Club (PNTMC) has been exploring Ruahine Forest Park for more than 20 years. Here she shares her favourite spot in the park.

Six-bunk Ngamoko Hut sits safely on a terrace on the true right of the beautiful Pohangina River. In 2012, threatened with removal by DOC, the PNTMC took over its management.

Because it is the most difficult to reach of the four huts on the river, visitor numbers are low. But those who do venture there have described it as a “home away from home”.

An extensive trapping programme in the Pohangina has helped create a perfect habitat for whio/blue duck. Head down to the river from the hut at dusk and you have a very good chance of seeing the bird.

There are several options when planning a trip to Ngamoko Hut. River travel is generally easy when flows are low, though be aware, it is a big river that can rise rapidly. The quickest route (5-8 hours) for fit trampers is over the Ngamoko Range, from Limestone Road and along Shorts Track. The route south along the tops is unmarked, scratchy in parts and requires good navigation skills in poor visibility. There is a cut, but rather overgrown, track from the tops down to Ngamoko Hut.

Visitors can choose to pay $5/night to PNTMC rather than use a hut ticket – this helps maintain the hut.

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