Length: from 3.0 up to 4.0 days
Distance: 37.7 km (18.8 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 142m to 1408m. Gain: 2637m. Loss: 6247m . Gradient: 14 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)

Tararua Scenic Crossing


Distance: 5.6 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy terrain
Altitude: 142m to 857m. Gain: 175m. Loss: 889m . Gradient: 11 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

This is the northern end of the popular Southern Crossing route to Kaitoke.

Crossing the swingbridge at Otaki Forks, the track starts out broad and gravelled. A short climb leads to retired pastures on terraces above Otaki Forks - a flat and pleasant grassland. On reaching the base of the hill 1km beyond, a track forks left to Waitewaewae and the Otaki RIver, The Field track starts to zigzag up the face, heading generally south. The track remains graveled and broad (it is maintained by dingo / ATV which gives you a clue of the quality) and climbs steadily but not steeply. Vegetation is regenerating bush as far as about the 500m contour, where mature, uncleared bush begins. This is approximately the half-way point.

Once in the mature bush, the graveled track ceases and a standard tramping track begins. That said, it is very well used, and kept in good condition - stone & gravel underfoot with some muddy sections. After a short meander along a flattish spur, the climbs start again - rising another 300m in 2km, in a series of moderately steep climbs to reach Tirotiro knob.

From Tirotiro it is another 1 km on meandering up and down to the saddle where Field Hut can be found.

Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-16 22:10:20. Experienced: 2018-03-01

Distance: 1.6 km (0.8 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 856m to 1046m. Gain: 43m. Loss: 233m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

From Field Hut, the track to Penn Creek continues up the ridge for another couple of kilometers to the junction on Table Top. Leaving Field Hut, the track climbs steeply in a series of zigzags through the last of the bush, to reach the bushedge 80m above, From here the gradient becomes pleasant and the track climbs gently through low scrub. Reaching the base of Table Top a second climb begins, sidling up and south of the peak to reach the flat, open tussock tops beyond. Once on the summit, views back over the entire Kapiti Coast are the reward, along with clear views of the main range all the way from Mangahuka to Alpha.

The track continues along the flat Table Top. The ground is marshy, but the track is boardwalked or graveled and good going. The Penn Creek turnoff is at the far end of the flats, at the top of the first, small rise, and is marked by a signpost.

Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-16 22:09:21. Experienced: 2018-03-01

From Bridge Peak to Penn Creek / Fields track junction via Southern Crossing track
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Distance: 2.5 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1046m to 1402m. Gain: 85m. Loss: 441m . Gradient: 12 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

From the broad tops of Bridge Peak, the southern crossing track drops north onto a rocky ridgeline. The track is benched and well worn and very easy to follow, but exposed to weather. Alternating between the ridgeline and northern face the track drops past Dennan onto the flat tops at the southern end of Table Top, where a signpost marks the track dropping east to Penn Creek Hut.

Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-16 22:08:53. Experienced: 2018-03-01

From McIntosh Jn to Bridge Peak via Main Range route
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Distance: 5.4 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1062m to 1408m. Gain: 535m. Loss: 685m . Gradient: 13 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

From McIntosh to Bridge Peak the Main Range route follows the narrow ridgeline over a series of peaks, scrambling 100m-or-so over each. The route is on good tussock and not badly exposed to bluffs, etc, but this section catches the worst of the winds, which seem to be amplified through the low saddle. This route should not be attempted in strong winds. Potential escape routes exists down spurs to Penn Creek, but are scrubby with leatherleaf and would be hard going.

After the last knob, Boyd Wilson, a long, gentle climb follows up Bridge Peak. Just before the summit a poled short-cut track cuts SSW to Kime Hut, or you can continue another 250m to the main signposted track junction on Bridge Peak (recommended in poor visibility).

Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-15 23:57:14. Experienced: 2018-03-02

From McIntosh Jn to Maungahuka Hut via Tararua Peaks
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Distance: 1.9 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1193m to 1316m. Gain: 239m. Loss: 280m . Gradient: 16 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

From the route junction at McIntosh, a narrow but good ridge runs east to Tuiti. Exposed to weather, but a trampers track.

Once on Tuiti thing become more challenging. A wire rope leads you on an exposed scramble down the northern face to the head of the ladder, with high bluffs below. This section was hairy before the rope was installed, but feels OK with something to hold onto. Several parties report members 'freezing;' on this section - not for the faint-hearted.

An unnerving side-step is required to step onto the ladder (especially with a full-grown collie dog under your arm), but once on it it;s a long but easy descent to the base of bluffs below.

Back on tierra firma at the base, a roped route sidles north to a small saddle on the face of Tunui. This section across a creek-head has been scoured back to bare rock in recent years and the rope is very welcome. Once on the saddle, the track sidles the face back to the next saddle on the main range, with a couple of scrambles aided by ropes. From here we're back to walking - east along the ridgeline to the base of Maungahuka, then a brief zigzag scramble on fine gravel to the sumit. A signpost on the summit marks the turnoff to Niell Forks, and Maungahuka Hut is 150m further north along the main range.

Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-16 00:04:26. Experienced: 2018-03-02

From Maungahuka Hut to Neill Forks Hut via Concertina Knob
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Distance: 4.1 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 341m to 1315m. Gain: 338m. Loss: 1306m . Gradient: 24 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

Heading briefly south from Mangahuka Hut follow the main range track some 200m to Mangahuka highpoint, where a signpost just before the descent start marks a track SW to Neill Forks. Although the sign says 2 hours, allow 3 to be more realistic! A brief 5m climb is followed by a long descent over rock and tussock tops. The track is not marked, but the ridge is fairly obvious so long as you remember to swing east rather than south after crossing Mangahuka highpoint.

A DOC triangle on the bushedge is the first marker, and is followed by a good cut marked track through cloud forest. Several climbs and descents are required to reach Concertina Knob - an apt name.

On the summit the track swings south and descends precipitously to the Hector River. You could almost roll a rock off the top and have it stop at the swingbridge below. Crossing the bridge, Neill's Forks hut is on the opposite bank.

Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-12 18:48:09. Experienced: 2018-01-01

Distance: 1.9 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 341m to 923m. Gain: 29m. Loss: 611m . Gradient: 20 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills:
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

The track heads briefly upriver from Neill Forks before swinging SE to climb steeply to the ridgeline above. The track is well marked though a little loose in places low down. Quite a bit of windfall crosses the track and some (mostly well-worn) diversions are in place. Just keep an eye out for orange markers in several spots as some animal tracks are present. 600 vertical meters on unchanging gradient follows before suddenly it ends and you find yourself on flat, boggy, wooded tops. A signpost 100m beyond marks the junction with the Cone-Totora Flats track.

Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-11 22:49:34. Experienced: 2018-01-01

Distance: 4.4 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 199m to 942m. Gain: 202m. Loss: 924m . Gradient: 15 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

A well marked track through forest along the ridge to Totara Flats. Fairly gentle gradient until the final descent to the Flats. The hut is reached a hundred metres or so past the bridge

Created by: Ellya on 2018-04-11. Experienced: 2018-01-01

From Cone / Totora / Neills track Jn to Totara Flats Hut via Totara Creek Track
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Distance: 5.8 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 199m to 760m. Gain: 773m. Loss: 217m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

A poorly marked, infrequently cut (2010) track follows the broad wooded ridgeline NW from the Neill Forks turnoff along Cone Ridge. The track was easy to lose in 2010, but following the main ridge was possible to pick up again.

2018 - this track is clear and marked, although the forest is quite open in places, so be observant of markers. It appears as though the track drops slightly off the west of the ridge as opposed to traversing the top, but this is well indicated with orange tape and markers. A quick easy traverse along the top without too many roots or bogs, until it drops steeply (as below description).

The ridge narrows as you start to descend, and the track becomes better defined, dropping first gently, later steeply to reach flats upriver of Totora Flats Hut. The hut is 500m downstream just beyond the swingbridge.

Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-04-11 22:43:28. Experienced: 2018-01-01

From Holdsworth/Kaitoke track Jn to Holdsworth Lodge via Holdsworth Track
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Distance: 4.4 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy terrain
Altitude: 314m to 757m. Gain: 218m. Loss: 661m . Gradient: 12 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

Easy benched track from Totara Flats/ Holdsworth Track Junction down to Holdsworth Lodge

Created by: Ellya on 2018-04-12. Experienced: 2018-01-02


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