Altitude: 275m to 337m. Gain: 14m. Loss: 76m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/5)
I traveled this section on the southern bank, as the Taramakau was in flood and uncrossable. Other routes may exist on the north side avoiding the Otehake crossing but crossing the combiner rivers downstream. The Otehake is a major river the can carry a lot of water - but carries less sediment than the Taramakau - so judging conditions is easier. The combined river below the forks was huge and fast when I visited and not an option. I do not recommend taking any risks in crossing. If in doubt, wait it out or change your plans. The swingbridge shown 3km upriver has been removed by DOC so is not a fallback option, and reportedly travel up the first 1km on the true right is not viable anyway.
Good travel on grass flats and shingle banks exists down the southern side of the Taramakau from opposite Kiwi Hut to the Otehake confluence. I found a good long pool of slowish-moving water with good gravel fans in the runout a one to two hundred meters upstream of the confluence which allowed a safe swim to to other bank.
An old 4WD track starts to become visible below the confluence on the southern bank, and becomes increasingly followable as you continue down the large shingle flats of the Taramakau. Pfeifer Creek is reached 4km beyond the Otehake, and will not prove problematic except in extreme conditions. The junction with the Lake Kaurapataka Track is on the western bank of the Pfeifer.