December 2015 – A cold swim at Aongatete

Swimming Hole - Aongatete River
Swimming Hole – Aongatete River

From the uplands of the Kaimai Ranges the Aongatete stream flows clear, clean and cold through the forest. It tumbles over rocks and down waterfalls into some deep holes which are fun for swimming in. A track from the Aongatete Outdoor Education Centre leads to two of these swimming holes.

The original track follows an old clay road, bulldozed during the Kaimai tunnel construction. It is steep, rutted and slippery. But now a group of volunteers led by DOC have created a new track to the swimming holes. It is sign-posted near the lodge at the beginning of the old clay track and it passes through beautiful and varied forest.

At the start the contour is level and the track meanders between huge puriri and rimu, pukatea, miro and rata trees. Then the track descends steeply to the river amongst hard beech trees, which are uncommon in the Kaimai forest. It is about a half hour walk each way.

Aongatete Forest Restoration Project volunteers were the first to walk the track, before their end-of- year BBQ in November. They heard two weka calling along the way. The project volunteers thought that the new track greatly enhanced the pleasure of going to the swimming holes and would make a fine outing for families in the summer.

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