Ma and I decided to go for a hike together as we both had the same day off. We originally planned to hike Yeoman’s Track and even got as far as starting it. Until we got down to the river that we needed to cross and couldn’t find the dinging danging (the exact words we used. Honestly) marker pole on the other side of the river. We had no idea where to go next and didn’t fancy crossing the swiftly racing river and ending up at the wrong spot. Reluctantly we turned back and decided to head to Sunrise Hut. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough daylight hours left so settled eventually for Triplex Hut. What a right ole fiasco!
Access This is one of the several hiking and backpacking tracks accessed from North Block Road. From State Highway 50 turn onto Wakarara Road. After 20km, turn left onto North Block Road. Continue to the road end. Please be aware that the last few kilometres pass through private farmland. Leave all gates as you find them and do not disturb the stock.
Time You can complete the entire Swamp Loop track including a visit to Triplex Hut in less than an hour
Difficulty Not difficult at all, this track is suitable for all ages. You could quite possibly even push a pushchair through
Facilities Woodburner, two bunkrooms, tank water supply and an outhouse.
Sleeps 12 people
Fees 1 standard hut ticket per night ($5 per adult, $2.50 per youth (11-17 years), under 10 free). Find retailers that sell Hut Tickets. Find out more about Backcountry Passes and Hut Tickets.
Bookings Not required, first in first served
Triplex Hut has an interesting history. Pilot Hamish Armstrong crashed into the ranges above Sunrise Hut in 1935. The only clue of him was the finding of a shirt labelled “XXX”. Triplex Hut was built in 1973 and is popular for school, family groups and beginner hikers due to being quite close to the road end.
Another feature that makes Triplex Hut great for family groups are the bedrooms. Often the huts are all one room, Triplex Hut, however, has two bedrooms. Perfect to chuck the kids in bed, pull out the beers and sit under the stars or around the table to play cards. Boom!
Like many backcountry huts, Triplex Hut is a simple hut. It has two bedrooms, a main room with a large table that dominates the space and a wood burner. That’s all you need really. A table to socialise around, something to keep you warm and something to sleep on. What more do you need when you are in the midst of such beauty?
Bookings are not required, it’s first come, first served. We had a look through the hut book and discovered that visitors were few and far between. Most backpackers carry on up to Sunrise Hut or the various other huts dotted in this part of the Ruahine Range. There were quite a few entries for school groups though.
From the Road End to Triplex Hut
The walk from the road end starts with farmland before you enter the park boundary. If there is livestock, please leave them be. It is an easy walk. Mum and I were surprised to reach the Hut so quickly. We were kind of like, “huh, is that it?”
It was a peaceful walk with wide dirt paths that were free of tree roots and boulders. A lovely novelty. The Autumn carpet still remained stubbornly in place with soggy leaves clinging to the ground. Large trees shade the path as soon as you enter the boundary, leaving behind the view across the fields. A serene sense of peace instantly encompasses as you enter a whole new world.
A few minutes after you enter the park boundary you find yourself facing a fork in the road to either Swamp Loop Track and Sunrise Hut or Triplex Hut. We chose the Triplex Hut and almost instantly stumbled across the hut.
Swamp Loop Track
Swamp loop track starts just before Triplex Hut. It is supposed to be an hour loop but it didn’t take us nearly that long. It is an easy loop walk, perfect for kids. There are barely any inclines and it is very pretty. A few of the logs and branches make different creatures if you have a good imagination (I often get told I have too much imagination so I saw a cyclops and a tree dog).
This three-kilometre loop ambles along at a fairly consistent even keel. A lot of school groups do this loop and stay in Triplex Hut as they are easily accessible but it still feels as though you are bam smack in the middle of nowhere.
There are many signs and plaques dotted along the side of the track point out the different flora and fauna species that call the Ruahine Range their home. They are quite interesting to read.
We managed to do Swamp Loop Track twice by accident. After we had completed the first loop as we were on our way back to the car we decided to head back to Triplex Hut for our lunch. On the way back to the hut we separated, each on our own photograph mission. We then both managed to take the wrong fork, ending up back on Swamp Loop Track again. Luckily for us, it isn’t a long track, we ended up back at the Hut before long having gone our separate ways. Like mother like daughter.
While I would have prefered to complete Yeoman’s Track or Sunrise Hut, this was still a pleasant walk. Because we had to travel quite a way to get there (we live on the other side of the Ruahine Range) this left us with fewer daylight hours than we needed after our false start. Never mind, next time.
If you want to see more photos of Triplex Hut, Swamp Loop Track and our false start at Yeoman’s Track (spoiler alert: theres a spectacular mountain in most of the Yeoman’s photos), check out that Facebook Album, the one with all the Yeoman’s and Triplex Hut in it.
If I have learned anything over the last couple of months of hiking at least once a week is that it pays to be flexible. I have had to change plans more than once. There is no point getting upset about it. The mountains/hikes will still be there another day. It’s a bit like life really, it doesn’t always work out how you want it to but there’s not a lot you can do about it so best just carry on. Keep on hiking! That’s my motto.
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