Altitude: 650m to 1543m. Gain: 1565m. Loss: 1612m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/5) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
A varied overnighter performing an almost-loop in the western Ruahines. Or extendable to two nights by staying at Rangi hut on the Friday night (the track in is a good torchlight possibility).
This walk takes you onto the tussock tops of the western Ruahines for views as far as Ruapehu, Taranaki and the South Island. You cross the barren tops and drop into the head of the Oroua where the remote but warm and welcoming Traingle Hut awaits on the bank of the Oroua River.
A descent of the Oroua follows, a journey from minor stream to major river. The adventurous can follow thew riverbed all the way to Iron Gates Gorge and exit by the stoat trappers track on the upstream side of Umutoi Creek. Alternatively you can use the sidle-track options described here and limit your wet feet to 1.5km plus a river crossing at Iron Gates Hut.
Two further huts lie down the Oroua. The first is Iron Gates, about 3 DOC hours from Triangle, which is a basic 6-bunker, popular on weekends. Alice Nash Memorial Heritage Lodge lies 4 DOC hours beyond - just 45 minutes from the destination roadend, so is of less use for an overnight stay. This is a very popular with families, louts, and hunters. Alternatively good campspots exist upstream of the river crossing at Iron Gates, and on flats below Alice Nash.
As trip starts and ends at different roadends, two vehicles are required.