Length: from 3.0 up to 4.0 days
Distance: 21.8 km (15.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 0m to 739m. Gain: 2011m. Loss: 1957m . Gradient: 11 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)

A through trip taking in Mangatoetoe Hut, Kawakawa Hut, Parakai Hut, Washpool Hut & Sutherland Hut. Averills Hut has been removed.


NZTM2000: 1788081, 5391945 (alt: 17m)

Take Cape Palliser Rd south past Ngawi. Mangatoetoe carpark on sth side of bridge. Access upriver from carpark.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-09
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-07-20 17:46:36

Distance: 4.0 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 14m to 98m. Gain: 111m. Loss: 28m . Gradient: 2 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The walk starts at the carpark on the south side of Mangatoetoe bridge, 2km west of Cape Palliser. From the carpark, a gate leads onto the southern bank of the river. The track drops to the creek after a few meters, and crosses the creek, picking up a 4WD track on the far northern side of the valley. A good track leads about 2km upriver, eventually dropping to the riverbed. Multiple river crossings are needed: the river was low when I visited – rarely over knee deep. However, debris across the entire valley floor shows how much water it can carry after a storm.

The valley slowly tightens and becomes scrubbier. By the time you reach the hut you are in tall manuka scrub / bush. The hut itself is in a small clearing 30m from the river on the east side, reached by an unmarked track. The hut is not visible from the river and easy to miss – check the map as you go to see where to start looking out for the track. A small cairn mark the point, but it is not obvious.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-11
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-08-11 04:03:44

NZTM2000: 1789402, 5395469 (alt: 99m)

Mangatoetoe Hut is the newest of the huts built in the Haurangi Park, constructed in 1978. It's a comfortable 6 bunker with an open fire and plenty of firewood. The hut gets a good bit of use by hunters and by Haurangi standards is well cared for - but basics like emptying the ash, carrying out empty gas bottles, or sweeping the floor seem to get overlooked.

Standard DOC hut

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-17
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-07-28 21:41:53

Distance: 5.7 km (4.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 90m to 360m. Gain: 355m. Loss: 360m . Gradient: 7 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Above Mangatoetoe Hut it’s back to river travel – through increasingly mature podocarp bush – the kanuka left behind with the flats. A randomly located sequence of triangles have been nailed to trees on both banks, but they do not give any useful information about which side of the river to travel on, and merely confuse the tramper looking out for the start of the track. In the end, it’s a case of follow the riverbed, because any travel on the banks will be short and frustrating.

When you get there, the climb out of the river is obvious. A well marked, cut track heads up the obvious spur at the river fork - as shown on the map - climbing quickly to the saddle. Beyond the saddle there’s some serious sidling of steep, crumbling valleyside, before dropping to the Otakaha Stream for more wet feet and river travel.

Walking down the riverbed, the valley is tight and winding, the sides near vertical, reminiscent of the mud-stone gorges of the Uraweras. For much of the way, the only flat land is that occupied by water. The stream passes two tributaries on the right, which seem far too big to be those shown on the map, but are. About 400m before the hut the valley suddenly opens to grassy / scrubby flats. A gravel 4wd track appears on the true right and leads to the hut, just upriver of the major fork in the Otakaha.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-11
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-08-11 04:04:05

NZTM2000: 1791337, 5399778 (alt: 115m)

Kawakawa Hut is a 6-bunker with a wood burning stove, plenty of firewood nearby, and water from the river. It sits back in mature Manuka bush on the valley floor, 50m from the river. The hut is 4wd accessible (with permission) via Kawakawa station, but despite this is in good condition: a pleasant hut.

Standard DOC hut

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-17
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-07-28 21:42:25

Distance: 4.1 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 90m to 415m. Gain: 372m. Loss: 255m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The track up the north branch of the Otakaha, starting at the forks below Kawakawa hut, is amazing: hut book comments call it ‘the ladies mile’. Given it’s more than a mile to Pararaki you may rightly suspect that it won’t be this good all the way.

The platformed, cut track runs up the true left to the next forks, where reality returns as it fords the river and becomes a narrow, marked, roughly cut track through thick undergrowth, climbing steeply up the spur between the two forks. However, it is still an improvement on the river routes further south. In a couple of places the track drops to large creeks, follows them to flats , and crosses them – the topology clearly more complicated than shown on the map which features just one creek to cross before the saddle. From the saddle it’s a steep but good descent to Pararaki stream and the forks just below the hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-09
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-08-11 04:04:23

NZTM2000: 1792272, 5402873 (alt: 197m)

Standard Hut

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-17
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-08-07 15:36:14

Distance: 1.7 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 0m to 679m. Gain: 297m. Loss: 679m . Gradient: 38 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The track to Washpool climbs the ridge directly behind Pararaki Hut – 550m to the top and I felt every meter of it. A well marked, well cut track but a relentless gradient: the first 200m bloody steep, the rest merely steep. However, glimpse views from the climb, and a good clearing at the top the top look out along the coast past Lake Ferry and Ocean Beech and across to the Seaward Kaikouras - snow-capped with fire in the evening sun. There’s even cellphone coverage at the summit – the only point on the trip. You can decide if that’s a good or bad thing.

Cruise tape (flagging / marker tape to you northerners) wrapped round a tree near the summit marks the turn off along the ridge towards Sutherlands Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-11
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-08-11 04:04:40

NZTM2000: 1792689, 5404763 (alt: 716m)

Highpoint between Washpool Hut and Pararaki Hut, Haurangi Range.

The junction of the Haurangi N-S track and the ridgeline route to Sutherlands Hut

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-11
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-08-07 15:35:57

Distance: 6.4 km (4.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 0m to 739m. Gain: 876m. Loss: 635m . Gradient: 14 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Follow the track between Pararaki and Washpool to the summit and look out for a tree adorned in excessive marker tape. From here a well marked route follows the ridgeline NNE to the Sutherland Road. The route is a bit rough to start, but becomes excellent further on, emerging onto the 4WD Sutherlands Rd at the corner where it leaves the ridgeline and starts to descend to the valley and the hut.

From the junction of the ridgeline route with the 4WD track; follow the 4WD track downhill with increasing gradient, to get to the hut after 3km.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-13
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-08-28 05:18:35

NZTM2000: 1794773, 5410080 (alt: 260m)

Sutherlands Hut is more a house than a hut. Sleeping 7 with a separate kitchen, and a couple of other rooms which are now derelict. It’s a little run down (2010) but still very usable. Features tank water (broken when I visited – stream nearby) and an open fire (also broken, but easily fixed by rearranging some brickwork).

Standard DOC Hut

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-17
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-07-11 06:06:06

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