Distance: 40.2 km (24.7 DOC hours) - Marked route - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 560m to 1445m. Gain: 2771m. Loss: 3249m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Occasional rivers (3/5) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)


Distance: 5.9 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 935m to 1222m. Gain: 294m. Loss: 244m . Gradient: 5 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A rough poled route heads down the valley from Boyd Lodge, passing the airstrip on the western side. Poles are sporadic, and it is possible to lose the track across open low tussock.

The track crosses the Ngaruroro River (less than knee deep, 3m wide, but could flood easily after rain), and passes below a steep truncated spur of vertical river gravel. Soon beyond a metal signpost on the eastern bank marks the turn east out of the valley to Tussock Hut. This is the start of a 2m wide Kaweka 'highway' - a well maintained cut, marked track through first Manuku scrub and later beech forest. This climbs gently to the summit before dropping into the head of the Harkness and exiting the beech just above and opposite Tussock Hut, Poles lead the lad few hundred meters to the hut. 1h45-3hrs

Created by: Madpom on 2014-12-03. Experienced: 2012-09-02

Distance: 5.0 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 944m to 1089m. Gain: 73m. Loss: 195m . Gradient: 3 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The head of the Harkness at Tussock Hut lives up to the hut's name – a broad, gentle, V of a valley, clad in golden tussock. The track crosses the trickle of a stream and sidles the western face. The valley becomes slowly scrubbier as we head downstream – tussock becoming low scrub , later rising to waist height. The poled track changes from a foot-worn slot between tussocks to a full 1.5m-wide, cut Kaweka track. The gentle valleysides become steeper and rocky, and finally the track abandons efforts to sidle and drops to the Harkness River – now a couple of meters wide. Some 20 crossing follow – most of which can be hopped across with dry feet intact, but near the end there’s one which always catches me out. Fill your boots! The route should be navigable in all but extreme rain,

The track junction (on the western bank at the major forks) for the turnoff to Harkness Hut is signposted.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05

NZTM2000: 1879745, 5656535 (alt: 980m)

Harkness is another standard forestry 6-bunker, pimped up in Kaweka style. 40m above the valley floor on a small clear spur. Lagged and lined, a large deck across the front, woodburner and sink fitted - a comfortable spot. On a cold morning, with frost coating everything in the valley floor below, you appreciate that you made that last climb to this warmer spot.

Standard Hut

Created by: Madpom on 2014-07-17
Last updated by: Madpom at 2014-10-05 04:14:47

Distance: 0.7 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 943m to 980m. Gain: 5m. Loss: 42m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Harkness Hut, a marked track drops to the creek. A poled route then follows the vallyfloor 800m downriver to the forks, crossing the creek 4 times. A signpost at the forks marks the track junction.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-05

Warning: this route segment has not been experienced by the author

Distance: 4.6 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 811m to 1050m. Gain: 212m. Loss: 345m . Gradient: 7 deg (Gentle)
Skills: - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Below the Harkness forks the track remains on the valley for for a further 2km with a handful more stream crossings. The stream is knee deep (normal flows) at most crossings, but still quite narrow - 2 to 3m wide. The track then climbs the western valleyside through mature beech forest and sidles the remaining 3km before dropping to Ngaawapurua Hut 50m upriver form the forks with the Ngaruroro. 1.5-3 hrs

Created by: Madpom on 2014-12-07. Experienced: 2012-09-02
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-06-10 04:44:53

Warning: this route segment has not been experienced by the author

Distance: 2.4 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Unmaintained track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 796m to 1363m. Gain: 589m. Loss: 35m . Gradient: 15 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The route towards Otutu/Manson from Ngaawapurua Hut crosses private land and as such DOC no longer maintain it. To hammer the point home they have removed the swingbridge over the Ngaruroro too,.

From Ngaawpurua hut, head downriver either on terraces or in the Harkness riverbed to the forks. There is a good pool with the options to either ford at the outflow, or swim in the deep slow section at the forks. The river was waist deep when I visited in normal flows, could eisily become impassible, and even at in normal condiitions would not be recommended for those uncomfortable/unfamiliar with river crossings.

Once across, head up onto the terrace just downstream/opposite the forks - there remains of the track climb there, or just make your own way. A clearing exists on the terrace with potential for camping if the river were up, heading north. From the clearing the old track heads up the spur to the SW. The track is still marked with intermittent permolat / tape, but it not maintained. However, the ground-trial is fairly obvious - the track is moderately well used - and the spur itself is obvious. The route should not pose trouble to people used to following routes/badly maintained tracks.

Climbing through beech and later scrubby manuka you emerge onto a sharp rocky ridgeline, and 800m later reach the signposted track junction at pt1373. 1hr15-2hr30 hut to juncton

Created by: Madpom on 2014-12-07. Experienced: 2012-09-02
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-06-10 04:29:46

Distance: 2.9 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1249m to 1419m. Gain: 164m. Loss: 234m . Gradient: 8 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map
From pt1373 to Otutu Hut

From the track junction at pt1373 the cut, marked track to Otutu Hut drops through beech forest to a saddle, before climbing onto tops of scrubby subalpine plants. The tops route is poled & clear on the ground. Swinging south, it drops back into the beech for another saddle before emerging into a second clearing at Otutu Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-12-07. Experienced: 2012-09-02
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-08-18 22:51:45. Experienced: 2018-07-30

Distance: 2.6 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1051m to 1445m. Gain: 397m. Loss: 252m . Gradient: 15 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Streams (2/5)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Heading south from Otutu Hut, keep an eye on the eastern bush edge. The track is poorly defined and featured only a coupe of poles on my visit. Crossing the highpoint south of Otutu then swinging east it drops to the bushedge, where a good marked, cut track starts - indicated by a triangle on the bushedge.

The track drops steeply to the small creek (normally easy - dry feet - but could flood in really heavy rain), then climbs the opposite valley side, soon emerging into clearings. A climb up the tussock ridgeline, dotted with beech follows to reach the Manson tops. The poled route crossed the Manson highpoint & drops to meet the main track at a signposted junction 200m east.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-12-07. Experienced: 2012-09-03
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-08-18 22:36:41. Experienced: 2018-07-28

Distance: 0.6 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1400m to 1421m. Gain: 12m. Loss: 28m . Gradient: 4 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the signposted Otutu Hut turnoff, the Manson Tops track continues SE across broad tops. After about 500m the track starts to swing south & a stamped metal signposted junction is reached with the main poled route dropping south off the main ridge towards Manson Hut & a poled (though not shown on maps) route continuing SE along the ridge to Manson Biv.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-26
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-08-18 22:19:35. Experienced: 2018-07-28

Distance: 2.3 km (1.3 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1224m to 1409m. Gain: 45m. Loss: 230m . Gradient: 7 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the Manson Biv turnoff the poled Manson tops route drops south of the broad tops onto a narrow ridge, which it follows for 2km to the stamped metal signposted turnoff to Manson Hut. The hut lies on the bushedge 50m down the sidetrack.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-28
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-08-18 22:16:10. Experienced: 2018-07-28

Distance: 5.5 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 621m to 1287m. Gain: 114m. Loss: 709m . Gradient: 9 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Manson hut, climb 50m back to the ridgeline track. The poled route runs south along exposed tops & is well marked & well travelled. The descent to pt. 1045 on steep, slippery clay-pan can be dodgy when wet & at pt. 1045 the track cuts south across a clay-pan/ fine scree face to the west of the peak to reach a saddle beyond - this section is steep & not well marked. At the saddle south of pt. 1045 the track enters bush & is well cut & well marked (2018)) as it zigzags down to the Ngarurora River which it crosses on a swingbridge 700m downriver of Kiwi Mouth Hut. An excellent track runs up the true left side of the river to the hut. I've never spotted the 'short-cut' track shown on maps which drops directly to the hut. I suspect it no longer exists.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-28
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-08-18 21:31:11. Experienced: 2018-07-27

Distance: 1.9 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 636m to 1230m. Gain: 594m. Loss: 54m . Gradient: 21 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Behind Kiwi Mouth hut the signposted track climbs steeply up the face towards pt1238. Initially the spur is ill-defined. The track is well marked, but in places not obvious on the ground where it follows chutes or open claypan faces. At 600 vertical meters in 1km it is a steep, hard climb.

On reaching the summit, the track enters beech forest on the flat tops. A signposted track junction is reached 300m beyond marking the turnoff south to Cameron Hut (and the faster route to Kurikapango bypassing the descent to Kiwi Saddle), the main track continuing east to Kiwi Saddle Hut.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-26
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-08-17 21:55:53. Experienced: 2018-07-26

Distance: 1.1 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Unmaintained track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1138m to 1189m. Gain: 55m. Loss: 42m . Gradient: 5 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A rough & unmaintained but sporadically marked track runs north-south between the Kiwi Saddle - Kiwi Mouth track & the Cameron Hut track. From the Cameron Hut - Kiwi Mouth track junction the track drops gently 100m into a beech-clad saddle, where care should be taken to keep to the right as you near the actual saddle to avoid heading down a false spur that runs between the heads of two streams west of the track as shown on the map. As you approach the saddle the markers become increasingly sporadic but as you near the north side of the saddle a foot-bed is evident & the climb out is straight forward. In a surprise, you reach the bush edge, emerging into an open area & are met by what can only be described as a 'single-lane highway', such is the width of the track as it passes through shoulder height alpine scrub. This is followed to the bush edge not far below the Kiwi Mouth - Kiwi Saddle track junction, which sits inside the bush. There are steel sign posts at both ends of this track.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-26
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-08-17 21:33:44. Experienced: 2018-07-26

Distance: 2.4 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Marked route - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 560m to 1182m. Gain: 59m. Loss: 681m . Gradient: 18 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From the Cameron - Kiwi Mouth junction, the track continues a further 500m west along the ridgeline, popping out into open tops almost immediately beyond the junction & there are magnificent views of Mt Ruapehu. The track skirts along the bush edge through pockets of clay-pans & then into beech forest as it gradually descends the ridge until reaching a prominent rocky outcrop. Here, the track abruptly veers steeply south into a gully. This descent is short before the track sidles & re-joins the ridge line below the rock outcrop. From this point on a precipitous descent to the Ngaruroro River begins; the broad 'Kaweka highway' is gone; the track cut only by the passing of feet as it zig-zags its way down a narrow foot bed & through a series of crumbling slips & two major clay-pan chutes with brief linking gravelly sidles between them. The descent goes on for ever - in & out of scree chutes & out onto smaller clay-pan faces. These faces are 'fine' in the dry but lethal after rain.

The track climbs very briefly to the top of a small open rocky knob from where it veers across the spur & enters the reprieve of the beech forest. At this knob, features on the valley-floor resolve into objects as you descend to a semi-circular flat, trapped between a sweeping curve of the river & the steep sides of the gorge. A large, circular clearing in the middle of the flat is a small dry lakebed. The sea of green becomes tall, mature manuka, growing some 10m tall on the flat. At the base of the spur a mossy highway is met & the track makes it's way along beautiful beech covered river terraces to a track junction: Kiwi Mouth Hut & Te Iringa to the right, Kurikapango (via the river) left but no mention of Cameron Hut. Closer inspection of the steel signs shows someone has scribbled Cameron Hut being to the left. Tall manuka poles line the track as it heads briefly downriver before swinging south towards the point of the peninsula. Cameron Hut sits in a moss-carpeted clearing 50m back from the river.

Created by: Madpom on 2014-10-06
Last updated by: Reidpaulnz at 2018-08-17 21:19:19. Experienced: 2018-07-25

Distance: 0.6 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 868m to 931m. Gain: 63m. Loss: 16m . Gradient: 8 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Dropping gently east through bush the track reaches a boggy saddle, and the starts to climb gently. Leaving the bush out onto a scrubby broad ridgeline, the junction with the Mangahao track is soon reached. A signpost marks the junction.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-21. Experienced: 2013-12-21
Last updated by: Madpom at 2015-06-21 23:23:14. Experienced: 2013-12-21

Distance: 0.6 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 868m to 931m. Gain: 16m. Loss: 63m . Gradient: 8 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The signpost at the Mangahao junction say 30 minutes to Te Matawai, but you could crawl it in that!

A good track heads west from the junction, soon entering mature bush and shelter from the elements. After a boggy saddle, the track starts to climb gently, and soon Te Matawai Hut appears beside the track.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-21. Experienced: 2013-12-21
Last updated by: Madpom at 2015-06-21 23:23:14. Experienced: 2013-12-21

Distance: 0.6 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 868m to 931m. Gain: 16m. Loss: 63m . Gradient: 8 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

The signpost at the Mangahao junction say 30 minutes to Te Matawai, but you could crawl it in that!

A good track heads west from the junction, soon entering mature bush and shelter from the elements. After a boggy saddle, the track starts to climb gently, and soon Te Matawai Hut appears beside the track.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-21. Experienced: 2013-12-21
Last updated by: Madpom at 2015-06-21 23:23:14. Experienced: 2013-12-21

Distance: 0.6 km (0.3 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 868m to 931m. Gain: 63m. Loss: 16m . Gradient: 8 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Dropping gently east through bush the track reaches a boggy saddle, and the starts to climb gently. Leaving the bush out onto a scrubby broad ridgeline, the junction with the Mangahao track is soon reached. A signpost marks the junction.

Created by: Madpom on 2015-06-21. Experienced: 2013-12-21
Last updated by: Madpom at 2015-06-21 23:23:14. Experienced: 2013-12-21

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