Altitude: 560m to 1182m. Gain: 59m. Loss: 681m . Gradient: 18 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7)
From the Cameron - Kiwi Mouth junction, the track continues a further 500m west along the ridgeline, popping out into open tops almost immediately beyond the junction & there are magnificent views of Mt Ruapehu. The track skirts along the bush edge through pockets of clay-pans & then into beech forest as it gradually descends the ridge until reaching a prominent rocky outcrop. Here, the track abruptly veers steeply south into a gully. This descent is short before the track sidles & re-joins the ridge line below the rock outcrop. From this point on a precipitous descent to the Ngaruroro River begins; the broad 'Kaweka highway' is gone; the track cut only by the passing of feet as it zig-zags its way down a narrow foot bed & through a series of crumbling slips & two major clay-pan chutes with brief linking gravelly sidles between them. The descent goes on for ever - in & out of scree chutes & out onto smaller clay-pan faces. These faces are 'fine' in the dry but lethal after rain.
The track climbs very briefly to the top of a small open rocky knob from where it veers across the spur & enters the reprieve of the beech forest. At this knob, features on the valley-floor resolve into objects as you descend to a semi-circular flat, trapped between a sweeping curve of the river & the steep sides of the gorge. A large, circular clearing in the middle of the flat is a small dry lakebed. The sea of green becomes tall, mature manuka, growing some 10m tall on the flat. At the base of the spur a mossy highway is met & the track makes it's way along beautiful beech covered river terraces to a track junction: Kiwi Mouth Hut & Te Iringa to the right, Kurikapango (via the river) left but no mention of Cameron Hut. Closer inspection of the steel signs shows someone has scribbled Cameron Hut being to the left. Tall manuka poles line the track as it heads briefly downriver before swinging south towards the point of the peninsula. Cameron Hut sits in a moss-carpeted clearing 50m back from the river.