Altitude: 90m to 415m. Gain: 372m. Loss: 255m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
The track up the north branch of the Otakaha, starting at the forks below Kawakawa hut, is amazing: hut book comments call it ‘the ladies mile’. Given it’s more than a mile to Pararaki you may rightly suspect that it won’t be this good all the way.
The platformed, cut track runs up the true left to the next forks, where reality returns as it fords the river and becomes a narrow, marked, roughly cut track through thick undergrowth, climbing steeply up the spur between the two forks. However, it is still an improvement on the river routes further south. In a couple of places the track drops to large creeks, follows them to flats , and crosses them – the topology clearly more complicated than shown on the map which features just one creek to cross before the saddle. From the saddle it’s a steep but good descent to Pararaki stream and the forks just below the hut.