On Sunday March 22 our Family Tramping Group left the EIT carpark heading for an area in Central Hawkes Bay between the Ruahine Ranges and the Wakarara Range for a hike along the Yeomans Track and a visit to Ellis Hut.
The Yemans Track was originally used to drag logs of native trees to a sawmill that was operating on the south side of the Makaroro river form the mid 1920s to the 1960s, when they ran out of trees.
To get to the start of the track you follow Highway 50. About 7km (4miles) past Tikokino turn left into Wakarara Road and follow that right to the end. There is a car park just on the edge of the Makaroro River on the former site of the sawmill.
On this photo you can see the remnants of the boiler and smoke stack that was used to produce the steam to power the sawmill and the electric generator
To get to the start of the track there is only one way, wade through the river and get your feet wet.
The road on the other side of the river leads to the start of quite a few other hikes other than the Yeomans track
This is a photo of the Yeomans track. As you can see it is more like a road. During the operation of the sawmill specially designed steam operated tractors would drag the cut logs along this road to the mill.
Regenerated trees along the track
Only the bark leftover from this tree.
View over the regenerated forest, with the Wakarara Range on the background.
Arrival at the Ellis hut
Ellis Hut was originally build in 1884 for a shepherd, Bill Whitnell. The hut was first named after him. In 1906 the hut got involved in a bit of drama. A guy named James Ellis killed a colleague over a dispute of alleged poaching of deer by Ellis. This was in Wairarapa a province south of Hawkes Bay. He managed to elude being captured for 9 months. But the police finally arrested him in this hut after a tipoff. He was tried, found guilty and hung. Always maintaining his innocence. For this reason the locals call this hut the Murderers Hut.
This is what Ellis Hut looked like before it was completely restored in 1995
This is what the hut looks like inside now.
After the previous visit to the hut we decided to go back to the car park along Ellis and Wakarara Roads, for a change. That was a mistake. These roads are forestry roads, very monotonous and boring. This time we followed our footsteps back along the Yeomans track. Always more interesting through native forest.