Length: from 13.0 up to 25.0 days
Distance: 326.1 km (156.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, hard - Hard terrain
Altitude: 0m to 2003m. Gain: 13930m. Loss: 14091m . Gradient: 5 deg (Steep)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/5) Winter - High avalanche risk, snow/ice underfoot (6/7)

A moderately hard tramping trip crossing the north of the South Island. Taking in the Seaward Kaikoura Range, Inland Kaikoura Range, Molesworth Station, Nelson Lakes, Matiri Forest Park and Kahurangi Forest Park, this si a diverse trip.

The trip is on public land or easements throughout, and is a mixture of tramping tracks and unmarked routes.

The trip as described below crosses the Rainbow Pass. This is a hard / very hard tramping scramble with exposure to serious falls. It is not recommended to anyone unless you have good experience in such alpine situations. The Paske Saddle- Clarence Saddle - Upper Eastern Sabine route is recommended over the one described here for this section, described by others as a straight forward crossing on scree saddles. I will write it up once I have walked it.


Distance: 15.4 km (6.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 9m to 182m. Gain: 180m. Loss: 9m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Riverbed route with 4WD tracks. River ankle-deep or dry in normal flows. Easy going but mix of soft tiring surface and hard river stones. Forks in river require attention to map to choose the correct (main) river. Limited (or no) clean drinking water due to cattle in the riverbed until the Inland Route, above which the river is likely to be dry.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-12-23
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-21 02:29:53. Experienced: 2016-04-03

Distance: 14.2 km (6.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 192m to 1194m. Gain: 1254m. Loss: 588m . Gradient: 7 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A 4wd track starts from the highway at the bridge, following the northern bank. After 2km a locked gate is reached. A 4WD track climbs first through farmland and later bush / scrub / tussock passing Blind Saddle to reach the unnamed saddle on the watershed. Only reliable water is in the last 500m to the summit. (3hr)

A good 4WD track sidles through sheer bluffs before descending a spur towards the Heron River. Candlestick Hut sits 20m off the track up a dry riverbed 2.5km before the Heron is reached. The turnoff is signposted. (1hr)

Created by: Madpom on 2015-12-23
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-21 03:01:12. Experienced: 2016-04-03

Distance: 2.2 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 617m to 847m. Gain: 16m. Loss: 246m . Gradient: 7 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

20 mins. The good 4WD track continues to wind down from Candlesticks Hut until it reaches the Heron River. Crossing twice, a grassy flat containing both Wardens Hut and the historic Bluff Dump hut is reached. River is shin deep in normal flows.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-21. Experienced: 2016-04-03

Distance: 5.7 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 532m to 618m. Gain: 8m. Loss: 94m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Good 4WD track down the valley floor. Frequent crossings – ankle deep. Turnoff to Black Spur hut is passed after 1km.

2.5km before the Clarence the 4WD track starts to leave the river and climb the northern face (to head over to Quail Flat). A signpost and information kiosk at this point mark the junction, with a riverbed route continuing down river and another 4WD track climbing the southern face towards Palmer Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-12-23
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-21 03:12:21. Experienced: 2016-04-04

Distance: 2.9 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Road - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 495m to 542m. Gain: 52m. Loss: 87m . Gradient: 3 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the info kiosk / junction, drop into the riverbed and follow it downriver. A 4WD track exists in places on the norther bank, in others remain on the river gravel. After a brief flat-bottomed gorge you emerge onto gravel flats in the Clarence. Follow the wheel marks 500m downriver and up onto a grassy paddock on the eastern bank where you will find Seymour Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-21. Experienced: 2016-04-04

Distance: 5.9 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 494m to 752m. Gain: 297m. Loss: 150m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Head upriver from Seymore Hut for 1.5km, ideally making three crossings of thr Clarence. The river was waist deep with steady, rapid flows but a good stable gravel bed when I visited in ‘normal’ conditions (recent light rain, no major storms). The first 2 crossing can be avoided by climbing over the low knob north of the Heron. The track to Elliot starts on the western side of the 2nd side-creek shown on maps upriver (and opposite) the Heron. A cut track climbs through briar to the saddle and ends. Cattle / goat tracks lead north down the far side in the valley before swinging sharply west to join the Elliot Stream. Follow the Elliot valley upriver in willows / briar flats. Elliott Biv is 1.5km upriver just above the next major forks. On the true left of the main river (above the forks) push through the willows and ascend onto a low terrace beyond. An overgrown bulldozed track may be visible climbing through willows from the creek. The hut is is the location shown by topomaps, atop this terrace.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-12-23
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-21 03:31:24. Experienced: 2016-04-04

Distance: 7.8 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 642m to 917m. Gain: 350m. Loss: 197m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Above Elliot Biv, willows end and a good ground trail heads up the main Elliot valley. After the 1st fork the track is predominantly on the northern bank. Take care to swing left at each of the three major forks until you pick up an old 4WD track climbing to the low saddle due east of Lake McRae. Drop to the lakeshore and follow the northern lakeshore to the north-western end of the lake. Push though a narrow band of rosebriar on cattle tracks and pick up the old 4WD track as it emerges from the scrub. Follow it as it sweeps down to the valley floor below, where Lake McRae Hut lies 1km beyond the lake, tucked against the riverside willows.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-21. Experienced: 2016-04-04
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-21 03:35:05. Experienced: 2016-04-04

Distance: 20.6 km (9.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 750m to 1441m. Gain: 796m. Loss: 735m . Gradient: 4 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Streams (2/5) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Follow the overgrown farm track 2km downriver from Lake McRae Hut to the first major confluence from the west. Leave the track and head up the river through willows / briar scrub for 1.5km until you are level with the saddle between pt914 and pt1193. Climb the spur west of the saddle leading to pot 1193. Going is briefly scrubby but soon opens to a steep face of dirt and sparse rosebriar. Follow the ridgeline west climbing in a series of steps, over the summit east of Robinson Saddle, then sidling the southern face of the next peak directly west to the saddle on a well worn track across fine scree.

Descend the tussock slopes into the valleyhead and follow the Robinson downstream on good open flats, cattle tracks and gravel riverbed. An old bulldozed track appear and disappears and can be followed where still present. At the confluence with the Awatere, cross the fenceline and Awatere River and pick up the good farm track heading down the true left. This can be followed all the way to the Molesworth Road, crossing the river twice more. Crossings are ankle deep in normal flows. Cob Cottage and the homestead campsite are 1km east along the gravel Molesworth Road. All river crossings are ankle deep in low-normal flows.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-12-23
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-21 03:41:02. Experienced: 2016-04-05

Distance: 13.1 km (4.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 864m to 1172m. Gain: 319m. Loss: 216m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Head north from the Molesworth campground along the road (towards the east coast) for 1km, and take the signposted turnoff up Molesworth Stream. A good farm track follows the stream, climbing gently to the Saxton Pass, before descending into the Acheron. The track rejoins the Molesworth Road 2km down the Acheron. The Saxton Roadend is 2.5km further west along the gravelled Molesworth Road.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-21. Experienced: 2016-04-05

Distance: 4.3 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 967m to 1027m. Gain: 91m. Loss: 31m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A rough farm track head up the flats on the east bank of the Saxton, crossing three times in the next 2.5km. Crossings are shin deep in normal flows, but can clearly flood after rain. Saxton Hut is on a small terrace above the western bank, upstream of the first major confluence on the true right.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-12-23
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-21 03:52:46. Experienced: 2016-04-05

Distance: 10.7 km (6.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 1016m to 1731m. Gain: 715m. Loss: 647m . Gradient: 7 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

An unmarked route follows the unnamed valley west from Saxton Hut. Good cattle tracks lead up the gentle valley to the pass. A steep scree ‘V’ descends beyond to the Severn. This can either be ‘run’ on it’s northern side, or you can climb the spur to the north of the saddle and follow a firm tussock ridge down to the Severn valley floor. Severn Hut is at the confluence, on the eastern bank.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-12-23
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-21 03:59:54. Experienced: 2016-04-06

Distance: 16.4 km (8.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 979m to 1117m. Gain: 303m. Loss: 376m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Follow the Severn River downstream. There is no track but going is good on terraces on the eastern side, with a brief climb over low bluffs. Look for the 2nd major stream entering from the west – Dog Stream. Cross to the western valleyside (shin deep in normal flows), and climb the low ridge downstream of the Dog confluence and drop west into the Waimea. Travel is easiest low on the southern face of the Waimea where short cattle-cropped grass and cattle trails provide travel west to the saddle. Follow good cattle trails down to Bowscale Tarn, following the eastern then southern banks of the lake until you pick up a good 4WD track heading west. Follow the track 4km to the Sedgemere information kiosk where the public roadend and carepark are also located. Sedgemere Chalet (private) and Sedgemere Sleepout (DOC) are 1km west along the track from the kiosk / public roadend just before the junction with the Rainbow Road.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-12-24
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-21 04:04:32. Experienced: 2016-04-06

Distance: 6.6 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 1019m to 1142m. Gain: 169m. Loss: 47m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A good gravel road heads up the Wairau from Sedgemere. After 6km the road swings south. A rough 4WD track turns right off the road, continuing up terraces on the south side of the Wairau, signposted Island Gully Hut. The hut is 300m beyond the turnoff.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-12-24
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-21 04:07:21. Experienced: 2016-04-07

Distance: 13.3 km (6.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 1128m to 1890m. Gain: 787m. Loss: 792m . Gradient: 7 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Head up flats on the southern side of the Wairau from flats below Island Gully Hut, following good cattle tracks. The valley swings north, just after you cross a fenceline. Follow the creek north up the main valley through a landscape of moraine and scree into the scree head basin. No crossings are required, but crossing the creek can speed travel (ankle deep in normal flows). Climb to the obvious U notch at the western side of the saddle at the valley head. Scree is firm lower down but very mobile higher up – slow going.

From the saddle drop good runnable scree on the far side into a side-valley off the Paske. Follow the northern bank downriver (NE) until you get to the start of beech forest. Drop to the main valley floor through beech. Paske Hut is 1km downriver on the southern bank.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-12-24
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-21 04:11:48. Experienced: 2016-04-07

Distance: 6.3 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 930m to 1140m. Gain: 93m. Loss: 297m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

2hr+. Animal track lead downriver from Paske Hut, crossing to the true left after 400m. An orange circle marks the start of a rough track through beech. Dropping back to the creek, tussock terraces on the TL lead downriver. Climb the clear benched track to terraces about 4km below the hut as the river gorges out. Follow terraces down to the confluence with the Rainbow on good cattle tracks.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-07

Distance: 8.0 km (6.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, hard - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 936m to 2003m. Gain: 1073m. Loss: 66m . Gradient: 8 deg (Steep)
Skills: Prolonged scrambles (4/7) - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Note: This is a tough alpine route with serious exposure to potentially fatal falls. Can be completed in summer with some means of self-arresting on scree (ice-axe, etc). Not for the inexperienced.

3hr. Head up broad flats on the south side of the Rainbow until beech forest starts. Stick close to the creek, heading upriver through beech, river rocks and the base of scree fans on the TR. Remain on the TR as the valley swings north, sidling in, or above, beech until you reach the head basin.

2 routes appear possible.

1) climb the scree gut direct to the western side of the pass – though bluffs near the base mean you have to sidle into the bottom of the gut. I’ve not tried this, but from the top it looks possible but very steep. The last 50m will be the worst.

2) climb the last grassed rock face on the west to the base of bluffs. Sidle / climb north along the base of these bluffs, crossing one tricky ravine. The bluffs shrink back to the ridgeline, and following thoir base up and west leads to a large rocky basin 20m below the western ridgeline. It is possible, with extreme care, to sidle from this basin to the western side of Rainbow pass (20m to the NE of the basin). Ledges are narrow, but stable with good hand-holds, but the sidle is very exposed and a fall would be fatal.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-07
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-30 21:50:41. Experienced: 2016-04-07

Distance: 1.0 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate-hard terrain
Altitude: 1788m to 1946m. Gain: 1m. Loss: 159m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Winter - High avalanche risk, snow/ice underfoot (6/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the middle of the pass, climb a little to the left before descending, very steeply at first, towards the obvious tarn. Skirt the water (on either side, but the right is marginally shorter) and descend to Travers Pass.

Created by: Bernieq on 2015-06-30. Experienced: 2011-04-12

Distance: 5.5 km (5.0 DOC hours) - Marked route - Moderate-hard terrain
Altitude: 659m to 1788m. Gain: 129m. Loss: 1242m . Gradient: 15 deg (Steep)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Descending from the pass, the route picks up the obvious tounge of tussock and moves to the TR of the initial gut. Descending further and moving away from the initial gut, the footpad stays close to the bottom of scree and crosses a slight ridge.

The main descent gut comes into view - move to the top of the chute and descend (left, right or on the scree - whatever is easiest) steeply to the treeline. The track descends the final 100m to the East Sabine River then continues a few hundred metres to a fixed bridge that crosses to the TL of the river.

Now under beech, the track descends gently at first, finally a very steep short descent to a little upstream of the East and West branch confluence. A few hundred metres upstream is the West Sabine Hut.

Created by: Bernieq on 2015-06-28. Experienced: 2011-04-14
Last updated by: Bernieq at 2015-06-29 08:22:19. Experienced: 2011-04-14

Distance: 13.9 km (5.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 450m to 686m. Gain: 319m. Loss: 544m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Cross to the TL on the swing bridge, just upstream of the hut, and follow the well defined track downstream. There are a few clearings suitable for camping but the track, never very far from the river, is mostly under the canopy. There is only one climb of note, shortly before the bridge which crosses to the TR - just a km from Sabine Hut.

Created by: Bernieq on 2015-06-21. Experienced: 2013-02-14
Last updated by: Bernieq at 2015-06-28 22:46:13. Experienced: 2013-02-14

Distance: 4.7 km (4.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Hard terrain
Altitude: 583m to 1597m. Gain: 1076m. Loss: 125m . Gradient: 15 deg (Steep)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Parties report climbing both the spurs east of pt1609 and pt1640. I chose pt1609. Starting east up the boulder fan south of the spur, cut onto the spur as the side-valley tightens. Going is good – steep but open on faint deer trail - up to 1150m. Above 1150m the bush becomes stunted and tight with thick undergrowth. It is often necessary to drop north off the spur to find bush open enough to permit travel. The last 250 vertical meters to the bushedge are hard. From the bushedge cross to the small tarn 600m ESE of pt1609, and climb good stable rock-scree to the summit. A good ground trail follows the rounded (but narrow) ridgeline north to Mt Misery, crossing three low intermediate peaks. Mt Misery Hut is 200m east of the Mt Misery summit, nestled out of sight in a small basin beside a tarn. Warratahs lead north from the hut, so look out for those as you descend to avoid passing it.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-07

Distance: 3.7 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 459m to 1534m. Gain: 6m. Loss: 1079m . Gradient: 17 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

2hr+. A poled route heads south from Misery Hut, gaining the ridgeline and following it NNE. At an unmarked point the route drops NW off the ridgeline to bush below – be alert for the ground trail ending – the face below has marker poles but there are none at the turn. A good but steep cut track descends through beech, with long sidles in places. At the lakeshore, it meets the Sabine-D’Urville track at a signposted junction.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-08

Distance: 1.4 km (0.8 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 455m to 459m. Gain: 8m. Loss: 5m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

30 mins+. From the Misery turnoff, follow the Sabine-D’Urville track west along the head of the lake in mature bush. One bridge is missing, but a bypass track is marked for 50m upstream to a good crossing. The track ends at the D’Urville. The river is not bridged, but good (thigh-deep) crossings were present 100m downriver when I visited after a night of steady rain. Note that this crossing will be impassable after heavy rain. From the far bank continue west through a band of beech then a hummocked clearing, to pick up the D’Urville track on the far side. D’Urville Hut is 500m north along the track, on the lake shore.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-08

Distance: 2.2 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 456m to 488m. Gain: 35m. Loss: 6m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

30min+. From D’Urville Hut, head south for 2km upriver along the D’Urville Track. A signposted track junction marks the turnoff to Tiraumea. Note: this section of valley floor can flood after rain.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-08

Distance: 5.0 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 479m to 678m. Gain: 259m. Loss: 220m . Gradient: 5 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A good cut track climbs to the Tiraumea Saddle then descends the Tiraumea River to the west through mature beech forest. Tiraumea Hut is located at the start of the third clearing and is on the track.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-08

Distance: 13.2 km (7.0 DOC hours) - Unmaintained track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 293m to 536m. Gain: 147m. Loss: 374m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

4hr+. Follow river flats downriver from the hut. The valley soon tightens to a gorge and travel is in the riverbed with short sections of track until the Tirauma Forks 5km downstream. Crossings are frequent – generally knee deep in normal flows. This section is impassable after rain.

Below the main forks river flats are present and a track follows them downriver, crossing a further 8 times. The track is not marked, but is fairly obvious on the ground. A run-down fence is crossed, and soon after the route makes its final crossing to the northern bank. From here the track is poled, soon entering paddocks on terraces on the northern bank. The track ends at a DOC carpark 1km from the main road.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-09

Distance: 14.5 km (5.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 179m to 293m. Gain: 57m. Loss: 167m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

3hr+. From the carpark a 16km walk takes you north up Tutaki Road then west along the asphalt Mangles Valley Road to SH6 at Longford where River Lodge provides upmarket accommodation. Murchinson is a further 5km west along the highway and has a range of accommodation options, cafes and shops.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-08

Distance: 17.9 km (5.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 161m to 222m. Gain: 243m. Loss: 205m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

3hr+ The road bridge is 2km east of Longford along the highway. 16km of road walking follows along the Matiri Valley Road, crossing to the western valleyside at the bridge, to reach the DOC carpark at the 2WD roadend.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-10

Distance: 6.7 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 219m to 398m. Gain: 341m. Loss: 199m . Gradient: 5 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

1.5hr+ 3km of walking along a 4WD track from the carpark takes you to the West Matiri. The riverbed is huge, but the river small and easily crossed in normal flows – rock-hopping or knee deep. In flood the river is impassable.

Scramble up the far bank at the forks. An old roadbed continues up the valley, passing the West Matiri Emergency Shelter – for those caught by the flooded river. Interrupted in one spot by a slip where you must detour onto the rivedbed, the roadbed runs all the way to Lake Matiri Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-10
Last updated by: Madpom at 2016-04-30 23:19:14. Experienced: 2016-04-10

Distance: 8.8 km (5.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 353m to 464m. Gain: 336m. Loss: 242m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

3hr+. The old roadbed drops to the valleyfloor and ends. An occasionally-poled route leads up river flats through thistle and tutu – wasps are apparently a real hazard. The track alternates between sidling the steep valleyside and pushing through marshy flats all the way to McConchies Hut. The sidle sections are generally well-marked, occasionally cut, and in places windfall is a nuisance. One brief steep climb is required to bypass slips, and is not well marked.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-11

Distance: 12.2 km (8.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 455m to 821m. Gain: 688m. Loss: 339m . Gradient: 5 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

4hr. After brief flats the track resumes sidling the western valleyside, climbing 100m over a spur before descending nearly to the river. A massive slip has taken out the valleyside, and the route winds and scrambles over the resulting boulderfield, marked with cairns. Back in the bush the track is good up to the East/West (wet/dry) Matiri forks. The track is poled up the dry West Matiri, climbing through a scrubby boulderfield. Woody vegetation has been regularly cut, but the track soon wills with tutu and toetoe and so this section is slow through waist-high scrub. After 2km the track swings north and climbs to the ridgeline. An easy, well cut, well marked ridgeline route follow before dropping to a large grassy clearing. Follow the eastern side of the clearing north (not well marked) and find orange markers on the bushedge beyond. Again, a good cut marked track leads through beech, dropping into a creekhead.

Follow the creek downriver, crossing a few times before ending up on the northern bank. The track soon diverges from the creek, so don’t be tempted to follow the open creekbed. The creek is low (ankle deep) in normal flows, and crossings are not well marked. The track swings north and climbs adjacent to the East (wet) Matiri over a beech-covered boulder dam and into broad marshy flats above. The track follows the western valleyside past a lake, some distance upriver, before crossing to the east just below Hurricane Hut. Parts of this section are not well marked or well defined on the ground and it is easy to loose the track. Hurricane Hut is tucked against beech forest on the eastern valleyside upstream of the major confluence, as shown on maps.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-11

Distance: 13.6 km (8.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 810m to 1489m. Gain: 1537m. Loss: 1322m . Gradient: 12 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

5hr+. A cut, marked track climbs from Hurricane Hut to the bushedge, poled beyond to the summit of pt1442. An unmarked route heads north along the Matiri Tops – a faint ground trail present in places. A small tarn is reached after 3km. A small campspot at its northern end is sheltered from the southerly but exposed to its north. Larger campspots to the west are exposed to all winds. This is the only reliable water source on the ridgeline.

From the tarn, drop east with the ridgeline to a saddle of stunted beech. Good sidling in open beech is available just north off the ridgeline. Climb to the next peak, then drop to the saddle beyond. This is scrubbier, but a rough track has been bashed through the scrub near the ridgeline, finally sidling the western face in open fuchsia before emerging onto open tussock. North of pt1431 the ridgeline becomes narrow in places, but generally you can sidle just off the western side with rock to hold onto. The climb to Nugget Knob crosses a brief rocky slip – exposed to falls. A good route exists, so have a good look before committing yourself to anything dangerous.

From Nugget Knob, descend west then swing north with the ridgeline. At the first saddle, at a cairn, drop to (or near to) the bushedge to the west. Sidle the bushedge north until you are 50m past a large bite out of the rocky ridgeline, before climbing back to the now-broad ridge. Continue north until you hit the east-west bushedge at the end of open tops. A small orange triangle at the western edge of the clear area marks the start of the track to the Wangapeka Saddle. Descent the faint but well marked steep track to the saddle. The junction with the Wangapeka Track is obvious, and marked with a signpost.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-12

Distance: 2.1 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 661m to 1019m. Gain: 0m. Loss: 358m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

30mins+ + Follow the Wangapeka Track east for 3km to Stone Hut. The track is benched, cut and marked, though a little rough underfoot. Riverbed sections are marked with cairns. The only stream crossings were below boot depth when I visited 24 hours after heavy rain, though they could flood during heavy downpours.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-12

Distance: 2.1 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 661m to 1019m. Gain: 358m. Loss: 0m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Note: Described in the reverse direction to your journey

30mins+ + Follow the Wangapeka Track east for 3km to Stone Hut. The track is benched, cut and marked, though a little rough underfoot. Riverbed sections are marked with cairns. The only stream crossings were below boot depth when I visited 24 hours after heavy rain, though they could flood during heavy downpours.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-12

Distance: 5.1 km (4.0 DOC hours) - Marked route - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 495m to 1386m. Gain: 363m. Loss: 891m . Gradient: 14 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

2hr+ A signpost at the Wangapeka Saddle marks the start of the Biggs Tops route. A cut track climbs to the bushedge, from where a poled route sidles west into a basing and then north to the saddle at its head. Alternatively you can climb to the summit and follow the ridgeline to the saddle.

From the saddle poles sidle onto the northern side of the ridge through tussock basins until beech rises to meet the tops. The start of the track down was not clear when I visited (2016) but nosing around down into the beech from the last marker pole, I soon picked it up. The cut track is well marked and descends very steeply to the Karamea below: initially on a spur; later sidling west and descending a damp gully; finally climbing back east onto the spur and into scrub. The track ends at a signpost 100m upriver of Tervor Carter Hut,

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-13

Distance: 3.5 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 495m to 856m. Gain: 398m. Loss: 167m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

1.5hr+ 200m west along the track from Trevor Carter, the Lost Valley route to Helicopter Flats is signposted Follow markers through tall tutu and toetoe, dropping into the Lost Valley Creek. 50m upriver a marker shows the point to climb out on the eastern bank. A good cut, marked track runs from here over the saddle. The climb is gentle, and the descent steep. The Karamea must be crossed at the end of the track: knee deep in normal flows, but easily floodable after rain. Helicopter Flats Hut is 100m downriver on the opposite bank.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-04-30. Experienced: 2016-04-12

Distance: 2.7 km (1.3 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 657m to 799m. Gain: 207m. Loss: 290m . Gradient: 11 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A good benched track heads north from Helicopter Flat Hut, sidling in beech forest high above the river. After 2.5km a signposted turnoff to Trevor Carter Hut via Saxon Falls is reached.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-05-15. Experienced: 2016-04-12

Distance: 1.0 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 556m to 666m. Gain: 34m. Loss: 123m . Gradient: 9 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The benched track continues north from the Saxon Falls turnoff, rounding the spur into the Taipo. A small benched area contains the remains of Broughs Tabernacle - an old road-surveyor's hut. The track then starts to descend to the valley floor, where a swingbridge crosses to the north bank, intersecting the track from Trevor Carter Hut to Taipo Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-05-15. Experienced: 2016-04-12

Distance: 4.3 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 563m to 683m. Gain: 152m. Loss: 32m . Gradient: 2 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A well cut tramping track runs up the north bank of the Taipo from the swingbridge to Taipo Hut. The track is through mature beech forest, and has roots and rocks underfoot in places, so can be slower than expected.

After 1.5km a signpost marks Herbert Creek. This is the turnoff for an unmaintained route over Kakapo Saddle.

A further 3.5km up the main Taipo River track takes you to Taipo Hut, which sits in a small clearing on the track.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-05-15. Experienced: 2016-04-12

Distance: 1.6 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 679m to 935m. Gain: 256m. Loss: 4m . Gradient: 10 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Taipo Hut, the Wangapeka Track continues up the flat valley floor for 500m, before crossing a sidestream on a swingbridge. The 1km climb to Stag Flat from the bridge is steady, well marked, but rougher underfoot than most of the Wangapeka Track. Stag Flat hut is located on the track at the start of the Stag Flat clearing.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-05-15. Experienced: 2016-04-13

Distance: 2.9 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 572m to 1093m. Gain: 229m. Loss: 587m . Gradient: 17 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Stag Flat Hut, the boardwalked track continues briefly west across the marshy flats before swinging north and climbing steeply. Though steep, the climb is brief and well marked and the Little Wanganui Saddle is reached just 200m above the flat. Beyond the pass, a tussock basin containing a tarn provides good camping and water.

Beyond the tarn, the track drops steeply at first: loose stones over clay. before sidling into mature beech forest on the valleyside and zigzagging down to the creek. Following the main creek down on the southern bank, a signposted turnoff to Wangapeka Biv is reached 2.5km from the pass. The two-bunk biv is just 200m south up the signposted track.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-05-15. Experienced: 2016-04-13

Distance: 5.1 km (3.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 224m to 578m. Gain: 97m. Loss: 444m . Gradient: 6 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Wangapeka Biv the Wangapeka Track descends the Little Wanganui River, soion crossing to the northern bank. The area has suffered badly in the 2014 Cyclone Ita, and many slips and windfalls affected the track. The track has been well cleared (2016) but is far rougher than it was.

The turnoff up Kiwi Creek to Johnson Hut is passed after 1.5km, and is not marked or signposted.

2.5km from the biv, the only large side creek is crossed: Tangent Creek. A bridge has been installed 5 minutes upstream, but the river can be crossed with dry feet in low flows. Soon after the track climbs and sidles the northern face 100m above the river.

Do not be tempted to follow the old riverbed track on the southern bank - marked with pink markers / tape.The river has severely undercut the banks here, obliterating the old track on the south bank, and resulting in very unstable boulder slips to cross if you follow the riverbed.

The high track drops back onto riverside terraces at Smith Cfreek and follows the river a further 1.5km to Belltown Manunui Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-05-15. Experienced: 2016-04-13

Distance: 9.6 km (4.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 58m to 238m. Gain: 131m. Loss: 310m . Gradient: 3 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Belltown Hut the well-marked, well cut tramping track continues down wooded, muddy flats and terraces ont he northern bank of the Little Wanganui. Occasional riverbed sections are unmarked, but large triangles mark where the track restarts. The area has suffered badly from Cyclone Ita and several sections of track have been washed away - detours are cut and marked but of lower standard. Major Windfalls have been cut, forming a canyon beside the track in places.

The track gradually solidifies into a roadbed as you head downriver. Soon mature bush is left behind, replaced by regenerating farmland flats. The road is vehicle-sized and gravel by the time it swings north over a low saddle, before returning to the river for a last gorge. Further alternating sections of roadbed and dry riverbed follow until you reach the carpark at the end of Wangapeka Road. A telephone is located in a wooden box 300m west of the carpark along the road.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-05-16. Experienced: 2016-03-14

Distance: 8.5 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Road - Easy terrain
Altitude: 0m to 62m. Gain: 20m. Loss: 79m . Gradient: 1 deg (Flat)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

An easy 8km road walk connects the Wangapeka Track roadend to the township of Little Wanganui and the Tasman Ocean

The beach can be reached through the gate west of the corner on the main road.

Created by: Madpom on 2016-05-16. Experienced: 2016-04-14

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