Altitude: 178m to 528m. Gain: 475m. Loss: 182m . Gradient: 5 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
There are 2 routes from Mangakirikiri Hut to Whitikau Campsite, either up the Motu and along Opiti Rd, or up the Mangakirikiri/Mangamate and along Pukeiahonoa Rd / Takaputahi Rd. Both involve a lot of time in the water – the Mangakirikiri is smaller, but no shallower.
Here we take the latter route. Note that Opiti Hut is no longer there if you go that way.
Beyond the Motu the nature of the valleys changed. Gone are shingle flats and scrub/windfall choked streams. Instead we get green moss-covered gorges, deep rivers and pools. The only thing the same is it is wet, slow going!
It’s about 4km up the Mangakirikiri to the Mangamate confluence. Gradient is flat – no falls – but pools are deep, and the valley gorged in places. Several pools require swimming. However, there are also narrow flats, and some spots where you get out of the water into the bush.
The Managmate is a different story. Narrower, just as deep, but steeper. Small falls are frequent, with deep pools at their base, and with sheer bluffs on either side require negotiating in the river flow. For much of the early section the entire valley is 2 to 4 meters wide, and entirely taken up by the river. Logjams also become frequent and require more scrambling – the reward being the easy going over the accumulated gravel flat above each. After a couple of km of gorge, the valley opens again and going gets easier. Taking the NE fork at each confluence. Flagging tape marks a route to the trig at pt707 up the prominent ridge, but that’s a long-way round to the road. Instead we take the ridge between the last 2 forks draining from the road. This has a good, well traveled route up it, and is occasionally marked with tape. 80m below the summit, it emerges only an old logging track, which we follow SW, circling round to join the N-S Pukeiahomnga Road where it swings west round the summit of the last peak before the valley head.