Altitude: 415m to 446m. Gain: 102m. Loss: 79m . Gradient: 3 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
Upriver from Central Waiau Hut the former sidle track has returned to bush - it could be followed if the river were up, but it is effectively a 3km bushbash with no real track present.
The normal route is now up the riverbed with 7 crossings being the norm - the last at the swingbridge. The river is knee deep in low-moderate flows, and was waist deep (and marginal for a single person) even 2 dry days after a single day of steady rain.
Crossing above the hut, a track cuts off the first bend, returning to the eastern bank 300m upriver, where another track cuts off part of the next bend. No obvious track leads up the next section, and with the river up I was forced to bushbash 500, up the western bank before crossing back to the east. From the slight bend and confluence 800m upriver of pt484, good terraces start on the true left - a bit of a scramble to get onto them just below the confluence, but great going once there. These terraces and 800m later at the start of the flats - 1.2km below the swingbridge - and avoid 4 more crossings.
Once on the flats the river is wider and shallower, and an easy 6th crossing took me back to the western bank, where a good ground trail up grassy flats leads past several good camp spots, ending at the swingbridge.