Upon hearing news reports of snowfall in the Waikato (albeit in the Kaimais), we had to investigate. And so, early Sunday morning we left for Te Aroha, to see this so-called snow for ourselves.
Te Aroha Township backs on to the towering 969m Mt Te Aroha and is the tramper gateway to the Kaimai Ranges.
The area was a mining industry in times gone by, and the mountain area is peppered with several disused mining shafts and processing equipment.
To get there it’s an approximate two hour drive south-east from Auckland. The trek to the summit is 2.4km, and takes 2 – 2.5 hours, covering a vertical distance of around 900m.
As we arrived we were greeted by a rather chilly climate and woolly locals excitingly telling us of the snowfall the day before.
So, layered in thermals, and armed with chocolate, we embarked on the intrepid journey.
The rumours were true.
There was indeed snow. Around 1 1/2 hours into the trek, patches of ice appeared, and as the summit loomed closer, the track and surrounding fauna had an increasingly thicker dusting of snow.
Upon summiting, further adventure was to be had dodging chunky icicles breaking off from the TV tower and crashing down onto the ground below.
It was near perfect weather, although the air had a rather cold bite to it, and we found ourselves running back down the mountain in an attempt to regain lost body heat after the seemingly sub-zero temperatures at the top.
Before heading back home, we stopped for warming coffee and cookies at the Ironique Cafe and Bar on the Main Road, which was delightful and divine.