Altitude: 699m to 1220m. Gain: 319m. Loss: 825m . Gradient: 12 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
A mix of track, marked route and open river travel
From the signposted junction 200m west of Potae, the track drops steeply SW into the branch of the Mangatera River. On reaching the first forks, the track stops and you are left to work your way down the small riverbed. This was reasonable going, even in steady rain, with crossings knee deep in wet conditions. 2018 - travel was mostly along the banks which are frequently marked by orange triangles, and not requiring too many crossing on the slippery rocks within the river bed. Further down the river becomes more open, passing under several large cliff faces to join the main river.
On reaching the main Mangatera the river becomes much larger, and travel is on a wide riverbed of rounded riverstones. In steady rain the river occupied the whole bed, and crossings were knee to thigh deep. Some pools in the first 200m required scrubby bush-bashed to bypass. 2018 - no sidling required in low flows and travel easy and straight forward.
The valley becomes scrubby as it nears the forks below the hut. About a 1km down the main river a fork appears on the true left. Enter the fork and orange triangles can be seen a few metres up on the true right bank. 2018 - clamber up true left of log waterfall and walk up the river is easy and straight forward to Colenso Hut, which is situated above the river on the true left. Note: plenty of mozzies were inside the hut - take repellent!
Madpom's previous notes state: An uncut, badly marked track cut off the last corner above the forks and deposited us back in the riverbed heading upriver towards Colenso. If you can't find it, just follow the riverbed.
Colenso Hut is 600m upriver on the western bank.