It is so awesome to have a new DOC hut in the Kaimai’s. Te Whare Okioki is situated at the Ngamuwahine Shelter along the North South track (southern end) and is accessible from heaps of tracks.
My sister and I decided to meet up and take the kids for an adventure. We ended up booking the whole hut and having 5 families enjoying the experience together – for 4 of the kids this was their first overnighter 💪.
3 adults and 5 kids (5,6,7 and two x 8 year olds) walked in along the Ngamarama Track from Whakamarama in the East 👇
3 adults and 3 kids (10,11,12) walked in along the Te Tuhi Track from the West 👇
We made a plan to meet at the North South track junction and had also made arrangements to leave a signal or note if your group decided to head off to the hut if the other group took longer than expected (no cell phone reception). But we did meet up and walked the last 1-1.5 hours together.
For more information about the hut and the tracks we took, click the links above 👆
The west-side team’s walking time fitted in with DOC signage, but the east-side team’s walking time was 1.5 hours longer than stated on the sign – always longer with little legs.
We used plenty of distractions for the little ones coming in from the east:
- Giving your group a name – We decided on “Team Amazon” – the boys had machetes (sticks) and were at times up the front “clearing” the track for us (this came from one of them seeing this being done by farmers in the amazon on a walk there once, pretty choice alright 👍).
- Pedometers – this was the first time I have tried these with the kids, and though some enthusiasm was shown at the beginning, they were not all that bothered at the end as the excitement of the hut out-did how many steps were taken.
- Walkie Talkies – these gave us 2-3 hours of distraction = Brilliant!. The leader had one, and the last person had the other. We were quizzing each other along the way and were able to communicate if the front pack got too far ahead or in this one case, to stop and come help when one mum got stuck in the mud 😂 – the rest of us had gone around the bog not straight through it 🤦♀️.
Click here for other tips on walking with kids over and under 5.
I think next time I would plan to stay 2 nights at the hut, then the kids could have a day to play, rest and just be before walking out. I’d recommend this, especially with younger children (<10) walking in from Whakamarama.
This hut has been fully booked out every Saturday since it opened. It goes to show – “Build it, and they will come” Awesome mahi by Kaimai Ridgeway Trust 💪🥾🔨
Enjoy! Anita 🥜✌️