More Info on Runanga

Fri 02 - Mon 05 April 2010
Trip Leader:
Wayne Fitzsimons
Contact Number:

We met up with Bernadette and Hans Recter in their Terrano and Phil Bell in his Nissan at the top of the Bombays at 4.50 a.m. We headed for Taupo, arriving at 7.30 a.m. So nice travelling at this time of the day.
A cafe was open so we had breakfast while waiting for Bill and Shirley in their Hilux, Prue and Dave Brown in their Bighorn, and Angela, Katie and Owen Dwyer in their Cruiser to arrive and have their breakfast.

We all left Taupo at 8.50 a.m., arriving at the Rununga 9.30ish. We had to have two sites to put our tents up as our usual spot was quite overgown and only had room for five tents. Along with Bill and Shirley, we pitched our tent on a lower spot which was less windy but on dry pumice.

After setting up camp our host Graham joined us with a friend of his, Olly, in a Cruiser at 11.30 a.m. At midday came to a steep hill and Wayne,(Mitzsi Challenger) Hans and Dave had to winch up it. Big surprise , Phil shot up it! weight plus speed. Bill and Owen,and Olly made it also. Had lunch and then the guys had a play on one hill "loop" before we headed up next hill. I drove while Wayne and Graham cleared many branches with the chainsaw, both were running uphill managing to keep the group moving.
Hard work! We arrived back at camp at 3.30 ish. Lovely hot shower, "happy hour" etc. Chef Katie made some mulled wine which was enjoyed by those who imbibed. We all had an early night...the wind was blowing dust into our tent which was a bit of a nuisance.

Saturday 3rd.

After breakfast we all headed for what I call "Wild West Country". I can just imagine the cowboys and Indians in there!
By 9.40 a.m. we had reached the first steep uphill climb which needed some filling . Six guys with picks and spades..oh well they were happy!
We then headed on in down a steep incline to the creek, where we had morning tea at 10.45 a.m. It then took 45 minutes to get everyone up the next steep hill. Bill, Owen and us made it up..all had diff locks. The rest had to winch up. By the time everyone was up it was time to find a sheltered spot for lunch. Wayne had detected a problem with the diff lock (not working) plus we had no internal lights, clock and stereo. Turned out to be blown diff lock compressor.We got an emergency call from Olly, who was doing the area without us.He was stuck down near the creek and couldn't get up either side of the gully! Dave, Bill and Hans went back and retrieved him.

We weaved our way through the valley and then up another hill before coming back down onto the flats.Wayne got stuck in a hole coming down. Owen gave him a tug backwards. In doing so, unfortunately Owen did some damage to his front diff.
We all headed back to camp bar the Browns, Bill and Shirley and the Dwyers who headed for Tarawera to find some hot pools Dave recalled from his childhood days. They came back an hour or so later full of enthusiasm about the place.
Another pleasant evening had by all.


Woke up to another nice day although still windy.
The guys decided to have some winch practice at a steep track near camp. They spent hours playing and testing Hans'
Landcore deadman.We girls meanwhile had some botanical lessons indentifying some of the local plants. The Dwyers then headed back to Auckland.
Left camp at 11.40 a.m.and headed for the "Wild West" again to do it in the reverse this time.We met up with some young bikers at the creek. They couldn't believe their eyes when they saw us coming down the steep hill into the valley!
Nice kids from Wattle Downs. One of them is keen on getting a 4wd so we encouraged him to come to a club night.
Had lunch at this spot then at 1.40 let Bill drive up and out first.He made it no problem! Our turn next.We only got just over half way with no diff lock.Had to winch up plus then had to use a winch extension for the final part off Bills' truck.Phil and Dave made it up and then Hans also need to winch up.
Dave managed to somehow nosedive his truck into a hole while waiting and needed pulling out! Took an hour to get every one up and then we headed back to camp after airing up.Some back to camp and some back to the pools.
There was no wind when we got back to camp.

Monday 5th.

It rained overnight. Typical when you have to pack up camp!
We left for Taupo at 8.45 a.m. All of us were heading in different directions. Phil to Napier, Bernadette and Hans home, Prue and Dave to see Brent and we went to see Waynes' daughter in Taupo.

Great weekend, great company. Thanks everybody.

Pam Fitzsimons.

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