Bald Spur / Dog Kennel Flat / Tui Domain Loop - Te Aroha
Head to Te Aroha Domain.
We approach from Boundary St (as there’s plenty of parking and
it’s close by) and pass by the Spa and then the Hot Pool until we see a sign on the left for Bald Spur.
This track starts off at an easy gradient and on a gravel track.
We pass an unmarked junction or two but we ignore those and keep on the main
track which zig zags gently upwards. We reach a junction about 10 minutes or so
into it. Lower Domain Walk to the left & Upper Domain Walk to the right.
There is no mention of Bald Spur, but we know we want to go up, so we head
right. After this junction it’s not too long before the gravel track ends and
the real tramping tramp begins.
There is plenty of Parataniwha on the this track too and it’s quite a sight when you go across a wee bridge with these purple & green plants above and below. After close to 45 minutes we reach a viewing platform, with this point known as Whakapipi. This point was one of our last viewpoints of the day as the Clouds and Rain came in hard & fast and kept us company for the rest of the day. This track has a very steady theme, “up”. It has plenty of zig zagging but also has the occasional track in between
heading straight up for those extra bursts of energy you may have.
As you may expect there’s also a few stairs , they’re not too bad though, round logs with chicken wire for a bit of grip. The higher up we climbed , the more moss we saw,
close to the top it’s on most of the trees giving the place a fairy tale feel to
it. After about 2 ¼ hours we reached the summit. Up here there’s a building with
a TV Antenna that went up into the clouds. Actually we were up in the clouds
too, completely surrounded in white. No view today, we’ll definitely come again
when the weather is better. We have look around and walk around the building and
up to the trig, well you kind of have to, when you’ve come this far whether can
see anything or not.
After eyeballing the trig, we shelter from the driving rain & cutting wind in the building’s door step for a hot cuppa to warm us up & some nourishment from some golden crunch cookies. Just about directly across from the front of the building is the sign for the Dog Kennel Flat track. We head across there and start off on the track back in the bush at an easy gradient downwards. After a few minutes the track comes out on an exposed part of the hill down some stairs and over a walkway, this part is really slippery in the wet and with high winds and sideways rain makes it tempting to go faster, but you have to keep a steady pace & watch your feet. I bet the view is awesome – just not today.
After that short exposed bit, it really made us appreciate the being back in the bush with a bit more protection from the elements. We continue on this mossy track and the gradient is still gently sloping down. We pass a flat area on the left where there looks like a bit of work going on (ie: lots of dirt, metal & plastic containers)& wonder it
that was the dog kennel flat. After about half an hour or so from starting this
track we came across a T junction. There was a very small handmade sign (which
we missed at first), with a an offcut of wood discreetly nailed to a tree , and
marked with felt pen stating this was the Tui Domain Track going both left &
right. We headed left. After about 10 minutes or so we come out at Tui Road.
From here we have to take a wee detour and omit part of the track which is
closed due to the Tui Mine Clean up (Completion date scheduled for July 2013).
Instead of going back on the track we walk down Tui Road for a bit. As this is a rainy
Saturday morning we feel pretty safe from encountering any traffic from the
heavy vehicles doing mine clean up stuff. After about 40 minutes down a windy
road and being rather exposed to wind & rain we joyfully see the sign on our
left for the Tui Domain track.
Gladly we get back in the calm bush where the track makes its way again at an easy gradient downwards . There’s also a bridge or two with more parataniwhas above & below. After about another 40 minutes or so we reach a junction. Waterfall View on the left & our track continues to the right. Being a fan of waterfalls and having rumbling tummies, it’s perfect for lunch so we head left. A few minutes later the track stops and surely enough there’s a view of a waterfall. This makes a great spot to stop and tuck into our Spicy Coronation Sarnies washed down with another hot
cuppa. Soon enough we’re back on the move again as it doesn’t take long to feel
the chill when you stop for a few minutes. We’re back at the junction in no time
& continue down the track. It’s not long before we pass the green mossy
entrance to the Mayflower Mine looking a tad dark & ominous -we make a note
to investigate on our next visit.
After another 40 minutes or so and a stream crossing later we come across a junction of a Bike Track, Walking Track & Road. The signage is a tad lacking here we keep as close to the mountain side on the highest track and we pass some great big water towers. Then we see a small blue sign of a person walking and we follow that. A few minutes later we come across another junction & a sign on the left saying “3 Big
Waterfalls”. So we detour left & upwards.
Well they were right about 1 of them. Two of them were quite small and one had a hory pipe in the middle of it. The big one was up some recently made stairs and there was a platform a view of the Tutumangao Falls with a pool below (might be refreshing in summer). We back track to the initial junction & keep our eyes peeled for walking signs as the mountain bike track intersects a couple of times. After 10 minutes or so we reach another junction and we see the back of the Hot Spa back by the domain. Being keen for a nice warm soak we end the loop here & walk back
towards the domain , back track to the car , grab our towels & head to the
Hot Pools for a wonderful warming soak.
Our Total Loop with the waterfall detours was 6
Level Of Difficulty
6 Hours (Winter 2012)