Altitude: 473m to 1517m. Gain: 2097m. Loss: 2734m . Gradient: 3 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
Altitude: 627m to 788m. Gain: 279m. Loss: 127m . Gradient: 3 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/6)
The track branches off the Mavora Walkway to follow a rough 4WD track through river crossings over the Mararoa River and Windon Burn. A rough 4WD track runs up the true right of the Windon Burn through tussocked paddocks.
Forks Hut is reached by crossing a few small side rivers, and then the Windon Burn near the hut.
Altitude: 791m to 1517m. Gain: 973m. Loss: 876m . Gradient: 6 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
From Forks hut head westwards up the hill behind the huts and head up valley through tussock and occasional scrub. Under normal flows the Windon Burn can be crossed as required to avoid the worst of the terrain, but in general the open valley is pretty easy travel. After rain it not possible to cross the river until north of Pt 1397. A boulder field covered in scrub on the valley floor east of Pt 1557 can be avoided by crossing to the western side of the valley.
The Windon can be followed all the way to the head of the valley, climbing directly up to Pt1553 on decent scree, but a worthwhile route up to the ridge line involves going by the lake and swamp shown on the topomap. Cross a large side stream and climb the spur that comes off Peak 1711 at the 1060m contour and climb up to about 1300m before sidling northwards below the scree shown on the map. You'll soon reach a delightful area of alpine boglands and tarns with firm travel between the water features. Cross the outlet of the largest lake and climb directly northwards up onto the ridge line of the Livingstone Mountains at about Point 1508.
Follow the ridge line eastwards and either go up and over Point 1553, or do as I did and sidle under bluffs beneath it, at the head of the valley draining down into the East Eglinton. Sidle northeastwards across a mixture of scree, tussock and talus. Theres a lake at CC09 149 028 at the head of the northern branch of this first side stream which looked like it had good camp sites. Climb up to the ridge line between Point 1417 and Peak 1991 and then drop steeply down into a 2nd, larger valley containing a stream draining the northern slopes of Moffat Peak. Climb northwards out of the valley to the ridge line between Point 1305 and Peak 1731. From CC09 148 045 there is a steep but straight forward descent to the northwest all the way down to the floor of the East Eglinton, initially on rock/clay and then tussock and scrub. Skirt around bush and cross a large tussocky clearing to another steep descent down to a large side stream at the top of the East Eglinton gorge at 800m. Walk up the true left side of the East Eglinton, once clear of the gorge there are exposed camp sites by the river, or continue up the tussock flats for an hour to camp at the bush edge near where the eastern tributary drops into the flats.
Altitude: 869m to 1098m. Gain: 109m. Loss: 319m . Gradient: 3 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
From your camp spot in the East Eglinton river flats flats make your way to roughly where the eastern tributary joins up with the main wast branch of the Eglinton. Cross to the true right to avoid scrub at the head of the flats and continue up river for about 1km before crossing back to the true left. Continue up valley as the river drops through a gorge at about CC09 135 093. The upper valley is all tussock with numerous thickly scrubbed side creeks but there is decent travel close to the main river.
Eventually reach the low, swampy saddle that separates the East Eglinton from the southern branch of Cascade Creek. Keep to the west side of the valley to avoid swamps and eventually drop down to the thickly scrubbed southern branch of Cascade Creek and cross to its true right side. Sidle around the head of Cascade Creek and make your way up the true left side of the northern branch crossing scrub filled side creeks. A large boulder field at CB09 148 163 is best avoided by crossing to the true right. Carry on up the creek until clear of the boulders and return to the true left. There is camping in the creek bed, the flat ground outside of the creek was swampy in December 2019. To carry on to the Duck/Cascade Saddle follow a spur on the true right up to the obvious low ground at the Duck Creek/Cascade Creek saddle about an hour further on.
Altitude: 630m to 1322m. Gain: 9m. Loss: 692m . Gradient: 17 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
From the low point on the saddle climb eastwards to the broad ridge north of Point 1362. A dry water channel runs down the spur through the tussock, a few metres back from the drop off into Duck Creek. Head down towards the tree line where the water channel enters the trees. Follow as it drops steeply down through the bush. When the gradient slackens off the dry water channel becomes a ground trail which runs parallel to Duck Creek. Follow the trail, past the inlet pipe and water storage tank for Mckellar hut to connect with the Greenstone track at the true right side of the bridge over Duck Creek. McKellar hut is a couple of hundred metres southeastwards down the track.
Altitude: 473m to 630m. Gain: 375m. Loss: 269m . Gradient: 2 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
From Greenstone Hut drop down the hill and cross the bridge across the impressive lower Greenstone Gorge, climbing up the other side to connect with the Greenstone track. Follow the track up valley crossing flats, the occasional bog, and a long stretch of forest upstream of Rats Nest Hut. Side streams on the Greenstone can pose problems with flooding but otherwise the track is very simple.
Altitude: 517m to 744m. Gain: 67m. Loss: 267m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
Note: there is no bridge across the Pass Burn. Do not attempt to take the Mavora Walkway track if has been raining as the ford half a km south of Passburn Hut will be impassible. This route guide takes the old cattle track which is usable even after heavy rain, and entries in the Greenstone gut book suggest it is faster then the adjacent Mavora Walkway.
From Taipo Hut cross fields northeast of the hut and a couple of small lakes to make your way to the Pass Burn/Pond Burn Saddle. At a gate the track divides, orange triangles go up the hill to the left forming the official Mavora Walkway track. Orange topped waratahs, which you've been following along the whole length of the Mavora Walkway, head northeastwards to the eastern side of the valley. Follow the waratahs up a small hill where an obvious ground trail enters knee high scrub. This is the last marker you'll see all the way down the Pass Burn but it doesn't matter, simply follow the ground trail, an old cattle track. The track meanders through the knee high scrub above the Pass burn, skirting the edge of bush, and crosses a small side stream. Half a km north of the side stream you'll see markers on the opposite side of the Pass Burn which is the Mavora Walkway approaching to converge at a 4 way intersection a short way ahead on the true right. Turn right at the intersection and follow a well marked track through bush, across a large clearing, then more bush to reach the bottom of the clearing that Greenstone Hut is located in. Climb up the hill to the hut.
Altitude: 615m to 739m. Gain: 285m. Loss: 184m . Gradient: 2 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
From Careys Hut follow the 4WD track northwards, around a bluff at the top of North Mavora Lake and then down onto flats of the Mararoa RIver. The 4WD track is followed all the way to Boundry Hut. Cross the swing bridge just south of the hut and carry on up the true right of the Mararoa. The track passes through a farm gate and then for a short distance follows a farm track. The marked Mavora Walkway then leaves the farm track behind and from then on follows the western side of the valley northwards, quite differently from what is shown on the map. The Walkway is quite indistinct with snow poles very spaced out and it can be hard to see where you are supposed to be walking. Finally, a large side creek is crossed and Taipo Hut is visible on the true left of the Mararoa River. Cross a swing bridge to reach the hut.