Altitude: 193m to 296m. Gain: 263m. Loss: 363m . Gradient: 5 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
South from Tutuwai Hut the rack starts good down the valley flats, but further down the old pack-track has slipped into the river and rougher tramping tracks scramble some 30m up the face to circumnavigate the lost sections (a rope has been installed to help climb the worst section). Mind the patches of substantial ongaonga growing in this section.
The swingbridge is currently located 1.5km upriver of Smith Creek Shelter (it's 3rd location in a decade), and crosses the river to the western bank. From here a good benched pack track resumes and takes you easily down good wooded flats to Smith Creek Shelter. The hut is located 20m off the track away from the river and may be signposted, depending on the will/boredom level of the local vandals.
Marchant Stream, south of the swingbridge, can flood after rain and traps parties regularly. A rope has been strung across here to aid with crossing, but the easiest crossing in low flows is slightly downstream and then a worn route leads back to the main track hard against the southern bank.