Getting re-inspired while reminiscing – Waitewheta Hut

So I thought it was time we revisited this adventure, as it was so awesome! It’s definitely time another one was done. Check out our video below🖐🚶‍♀️🌿🏞👍

6 amazing mamas and 7 cool kids!

Originally we had 10 kids coming but sickness, a sleepover and the last soccer game of the season meant we were down to 7. In hindsight this was good because it meant majority of the mums had a 1:1 ratio, this made for less stress and a more enjoyable walk. A one adult to one child ratio is especially good when walking with younger children and first timers, as many games and distractions are needed. Parents also tend to become pack horses for the bags and the children themselves, so be prepared.

We estimated it would take us around 4 hours to do the walk, so we decided to leave early as that meant no time pressure, giving us the whole day to get to the hut.

The track follows a historic tram line and is pretty wide most of the way, there are plenty of swing bridges to cross and these are great places to stop to take a look around. I feel that the 5th and final swing bridge is worth mentioning on this walk, as once crossed there is a short path that leads down to a perfect little beach. We rested here, had some snacks, and the kids had a good play which consisted of skimming stones and dropping rocks off the bridge. We left here with only one of the seven children getting wet, which I feel was pretty good odds. This is a good reminder to pack those extra clothes, especially if not walking in the warmer months when things are easily dried.

In just under 5 hours in total from the car park we got to the hut. The kids got their second (or maybe third) wind and quickly set about: getting their beds ready (we dominated one of the two large bunk rooms), devouring crackers and cheese like a pack of ravenous piranhas and sculling hot chocolates so they could run outside to explore, play tag and practice gymnastics! The mamas were left to sort, prepare, cook and supervise before getting to put their feet up with a well deserved cuppa.

When bedtime rolled around some of the kids could not get to sleep, even though they had walked for nearly 5 hours! Going to bed with the kids was really the only thing that worked and, actually, in the morning we were better off for it! If you haven’t stayed in a hut before – don’t expect too much sleep. Huts are noisy places even without kids (who is rustling that plastic bag/snoring/talking?!). Plus with no curtains you can bet your bottom dollar the kids will wake and get up early!

The next day, rain came after about an hour into the trip out. Rain coats, pack covers and wet weather gear were then all put into use – and when one raincoat couldn’t be found in the pack (that can sometimes feel like Mary Poppins’ bottomless bag), a black rubbish bin bag was turned into a makeshift poncho, tu meke. Also, one boot started to lose its sole so kiwi ingenuity saw a sock being sacrificed to hold it together. Note for next trip – bring gaffer tape (not really an essential but can be in those MacGyver moments).

Walking in a big group is great. Everyone had turns in different positions, being the leader or chilling at the back having some quieter time. All the mamas took turns encouraging the smaller ones and we even saw the kids pitching in to help get a pack on, singing a song of distraction or finding a walking stick to keep someone else going.

Going on long hikes or tramps with children does take some patience and sometimes a lot of creative thinking – like turning a small cut into a game to identify which grasses are cutty grass, or getting the younger of the group to walk up front with an adult, giving them a head start, and telling them that the others will try to catch up – That way they keep up the pace because they don’t want to “get caught”. Roll with the punches and try to prepare your mind so as not to get stressed or annoyed when the challenges arise. As always, this is much easier when you have friends to do it with.

 

Nga mihi, Anita

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