Altitude: 678m to 1156m. Gain: 537m. Loss: 629m . Gradient: 7 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
Mature beech trees cover the flats, dim light dappling an open forest floor carpeted in beech leaves beneath. Robins are evident for the first time in the trip, practicing their scales from branches above, and hoping you disturb something tasty. The track too is a welcome change: a broad, 2m wide benched track, well cut and well marked. After a kilometer-or-so of warm-up on the flats, the track begins to climb, rising with the ridge. Benched into the face, zigzagging where going gets steep, it is easy, fast travel. A couple of kilometers into the climb, the track passes through a grassy clearing – the site of the former Te Iringa Hut, now gone. There’s no obvious water here, so be warned if you were thinking of camping.
Soon after the beech is left behind and the ridgeline becomes scrubby. The highpoint of the track is 1160m, but the climb has been so gentle, you’d hardly have realised you’d gained 400m from the road. From there the track continues to sidle, dropping back into mature beech, and finally reaching Tiki Tiki Stream.
A good, well-used campsite exists just before the first stream, but it’s another 2km to the swingbridge across the main Kaipo river (more campsites on the south side of the bridge. If you're lucky: blue ducks in the water below).