Family spring tramping is a great way to enjoy NZ

9th October 2020|2min

Increasingly mild temperatures, longer daylight hours and the warmth of sunshine makes for the perfect spring combination, plus it’s a great time to stretch those winter calf muscles before summer.

Adam Smith of the Mountain Safety Council thought the same thing and made the most of the spring weather by taking his family on a school holiday tramp to the popular Sunrise Hut in Hawke’s Bay recently. 

Nestled in a tussock basin in the Ruahine Forest Park sits Department of Conservation’s Sunrise Hut. At 1280m it has stunning views of the Hawke’s Bay plains and of course, breath-taking sunrises. 

Ruth and son Markian, 7, Sunrise Hut

Adam, his wife Ruth and son Markian, 7, made the most of the mild spring weather and spent two nights at the hut. The Smith family went prepared as the forecast predicted gale force winds the day they planned to be walking out. However, it arrived a day early and bought with it below zero overnight temperatures.

Pack extra warm clothes, check the forecast right until the last minute, and be flexible, Adam says.

The Sunrise Track in early October snow

The well-formed track was straightforward, but to his surprise, the final half hour stretch to the hut was through about 15cm of snow.

The Sunrise Hut Track is one the most popular in the park, especially for families meaning it requires bookings between Labour Weekend and April 30. The track weaves through changing forest types and out to open clearings offering worthwhile views.

The Smiths took sleeping pads and a rain fly just in case the hut was full, and for an emergency shelter option.

He suggests taking an extra gas cannister too as the cooler weather calls for more hot drinks.

Adam says springtime is perfect for getting out on the tracks, but be sure to pack extra layers of clothing for the cooler weather, especially for the kids. Extra dry socks are a must, and a great trick is to use bread bags inside boots to help keep young kids’ feet warm.
 The Smith Family’s top spring tramping tips:

  1. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination
  2. Have a back-up plan for if the hut is full, like a tent
  3. Be prepared for changeable weather 
  4. Make sure you have a good sleeping bag and bed roll for a warm night sleep
  5. A good selection of hut games never fails to pay off

The Sunrise Track is an easy 2-3 hour one-way walk (allow more time with children) to the Sunrise Hut.