Altitude: 28m to 471m. Gain: 1139m. Loss: 1130m . Gradient: 7 deg (Moderate)
A well-used but mostly unmarked route runs down the ridgeline / escarpment east of Lake Poteriteri between Slaughterburn and Poteriteri Hut. Times vary hugely from sub-5 hours to 21 hours with the majority in the 12-14 hour timeframe. It's hard to see why such variance - the unmarked route is through low-gradient, fairly open bush, so vegetation and terrain are not the issue. I suspect from hut book comments that the main delay is people seeking out 'the track', rather than following the terrain.
Poteriteri Hut to pt144
Follow the beach south from the hut, crossing the small creek on the walkwire. There is a thick scrubby marsh to your left. Where this abruptly ends and is replaced by more open forest, pick up a trapline marked with blue/yellow triangles. This follows the edge of the marsh 100m east before climbing south over pt112 to pt144, where it ends.
pt144 to pt292
This middle section of the route is not marked - good map & compass skills required.
From pt144 drop SE to the marshy saddle, avoiding small bluffs and windfall. Cross the saddle and the 1st branch of the small creek to its south. Climb the open spur ESE between the two branches of the creek on good game trails. Swing due south onto flat tops and locate the highpoint at pt475. Follow the escarpment above Lake Poteriteri SW from pt475 as it drops the the wide, featureless plateau below. About 200m along the escarpment from the foot of the descent off pt475 is a small clearing with good flat tent spots. A creek is 100m to the south.
From the clearing you can either follow the escarpment or take a compass bearing across the flat tops to the saddle between pt267 and pt316. Going seemed easier on the flat tops than the escarpment edge so I did the latter. The climb west to pt316 from the saddle is thick with fern and slow going.
From pt316 follow the now clearly defined ridgeline SW onto pt388 and then pt292.
Pt292 to Slaughterburn
A sparsely marked trapline follow the clearly defined ridgeline from pt292 down to the confluence of the Waitutu and Slaughterburn. The line is marked with yellow / pink triangles and has a good ground trail for all but the last 400m. The route takes you along the spine of the ridge over pt 292, pt246, pt139, pt149 before swinging west ad dropping to a low terrace just above the river. The walkwire over the river to Slaughterburn Hut is just below the confluence of the Slaughterburn and Waitutu rivers.
Sluaghterburn Hut is over the main river, 1km up the south bank of the Slaughterburn along a cut/marked tramping track.