Altitude: 256m to 455m. Gain: 1174m. Loss: 1020m . Gradient: 17 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Streams (2/6)
The clear 4WD track continues south from the Te Pourewa turnoff, dropping to river flats at Otane. Tracks become less obvious here, but following orange DOC triangles leads you to a ford of the Otane river just downstream of the footbridge. Cross using either.
A rough horse/ATV track continues south from the south bank of the Otane through grassy flats a further kilometer to Tawhana, where it swings east to a small farmstead. Continue east past the buildings to the swingbridge and cross the Tauranga River.
Continuing south upstream the flats soon end and the 6 foot track enters mature bush and starts to sidle the eastern valleyside. A number of slips have destroyed the track in this first kilometer, and several scrambling climbs up and over slips are required. Things soon improve hover and the track becomes stable as it continues to sidle and climb south. Windfall is, however, becoming an issue (2015).
The track cuts in and out of many more sidestreams than shown on the map - see the attached GPX track for the real route.
A signpost marks the junction with the track from Te Panaa Hut to Te Pua Hut, shortly after exiting the third major side valley.