Three of my darling Wellington friends banded together and bought me a ticket to their fine city as a birthday gift. I've never explored the North Island, excepting Auckland and Wellington, so I wanted to go on a little tramping trip. We drove out to Upper Hutt (1 hr from town) and did an overnight tramp to Tutuwai hut in the Kaitoke regional park. It's pretty amazing there's so much lush wilderness so close to Wellington city, and there's hardly anyone there (to be fair, I think the huts on the Tararua southern crossing are fairly booked out all summer).
Compared to the well-kept tramps I've been on in Fiordland, where the tracks are super wide and well-marked for international tourists, the track here was pretty scruffy, over-grown and badass. We did lose it a few times, and the 'detours' due to slips were a bit exciting (signposted above with "GIRLS" and "DOC" scrawled below 'Detour' and 'trampers' with an arrow pointing the opposite way).
To prove we really are GIRLS we changed into pretty dresses in the hut, and drank whisky, ginger beer, tea and coffee. We cooked up a dinner of fresh pasta, sun-dried tomato pesto, spinach and pepperoni. Bliss.
Tutuwai hut is awesome, the night sky killed my tiny brain and the company was the best ever. Babes.
Practical information: the tramp took us a bit longer than it says on the DOC website, which is weird since I usually find DOC times to be extremely conservative. I googled and lots of people report similar issues, with some people taking 9 hours to complete the '4.5 hour' tramp. I find that hard to believe, since we were walking pretty slowly (a combination of general dawdling and then Logan having an injured knee) and took about 6 hours, including breaks. In any case, the time estimates around these parts don't seem especially reliable and the track was definitely more rough than I've seen elsewhere. Still totaaally dreamy though.