Our Christmas tradition involves drinking a bottle of sparkling wine on Christmas Eve in a cellphone-remote NZ region, followed by climbing a mountain on Christmas Day. Mountains of the past include Hikurangi, and Karioi. This year it would be the mysterious Mt Pureora.
But, before we could climb said mountain, we needed to locate the park, and our accommodation for the night, Bog Inn Hut.
Pureora Forest Park is located on the south western side of Taupo, adjacent to Kinleith Forest. The park is extensive, and has two huts, forming part of the Te Araroa trail.
Bog Inn Hut is situated just 1km from the car park. The road to the hut is another matter. The area seems to be fractally carved with private roads, not all of which are in the official topo map, or atlas. So, when there is a fork in the road, it is unclear as to whether to turn left or right.
If you turn left, you find yourself driving along a narrowing, steep, washed out four-wheel drive track, pushing native bush aside, in a manner which even the most courageous of Toyota Corollas were never designed to do. With no option to turn around, epic reversing is the only way out.
A working GPS, and cell-phone is mandatory to navigate these roads. It’s the only way. And with all our detailed planning, trip reports, and week long supply of food, including emergency allocations, they were the two things we did not have (accessible).
But, after embarking on an exhaustive breadth first algorithmic search, we eventually reached the car-park.
From there, we trekked the mostly flat trail to the Bog Inn Hut. The track was without bog. Most disappointing.
The hut itself has a heritage claim. It was built by bog-studying scientists in 1960 from impressive, but not entirely water- and rat-proofed, totara slabs. While having our Christmas Eve drinks, the questions had to be asked. What were the scientists really doing here? Apparently, they were studying sphagnum moss. But, I was dubious, and couldn’t help but ponder whether this remote hut was not the source of some early pre-internet trolling. Maybe the boss sent the interns there, or maybe, like we found, it was a lovely, quiet place to go to have a drink, or two.
The following day we set out to find the bog, and sure enough there is a short unmarked trail leading away from the hut, into boggy goodness. The bog was everything I expected it to be, and was fully documented, photographed, and even probed in a manner I imagined the scientists doing so some 50 years earlier.
The hut seems to receive visitors once or twice a week, mostly hunters, with strong political opinions about 1080, if the hut book is anything to go by. But, politics and bog aside, it’s a lovely rustic site, so far off the beaten track, the track needs sing-posting – making for a nice overnight destination en route to greater walks.
- Getting there: turn off at Kakaho Road, to Pureroa forest park off SH32. (Don’t be tempted by other roads outlined in the topo map. They are not drivable, at least not with a Corolla.)
- The hut is signposted, so keep following the yellow signs to ‘Bog Inn’. If you come to an un-signposted fork, try and follow the ‘Main’ Road. There is one fork, which is particularly ambiguous, turn right in this case. The road to the hut is unsealed, but was in good drivable condition, up until the last 500m meters, which were challenging, and for future trampers, might be worthwhile to park car at the clearing at this point, and tramp the last section to the track start.
- Tramp to Hut is 1km, and is an easy 1/2 hour walk.
- Bog Inn Hut has four bunks, a table, washing up area, toilet, and plenty of firewood and water
- More information here.
- All photos here