Length: from 6.0 up to 10.0 days
Distance: 72.5 km (43.7 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 338m to 1721m. Gain: 6874m. Loss: 5677m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Prolonged rivers (4/6) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)

A 8 day traverse travelling North to South.
Starting from Napier/Taihape Road and exiting from Purity Hut (via Private farm)


From Comet Road End to Shutes Hut via track
View
Distance: 6.0 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 338m to 1078m. Gain: 424m. Loss: 827m . Gradient: 12 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A good track runs south from the Comet roadend, climbing steadily the 100m to the plateau.From there an easy 2km follows through pine plantation and beech on a good cut track, before the plateau ends and the abyss of the Taruarau valley opens up before you. The track remains well cut and benched as it zigzags down the steep spur to the valley floor. A lot of contours crossed, but on a decent track. Sidling down and downriver, the track crosses a sidecreek where there are good campspots, and then drops the final few meters to the river.

Bozzy 2024 added: Did not spot markers from campsight to river which resulted in a scramble down a bank (presumably river bank damaged by cyclone Gabrielle in 2023). Suggest having a good look around for best way down to river and best crossing point.

The Taruarau must be forded - knee deep on fine shingle in low conditions, but it's a big river and can easily flood.

Once across the track heads downriver on a low terrace of open manuka - more well used campspots. Triangles mark a steady climb to higher open terraces, before a cut track heads in thick low bush at their rear, sidling into the sidevalley which holds Shutes Hut. A further 1km of sidling steep valleysides follows before the track reaches a basin with a large grassy clearing, a stand of mature pines, and Shutes Hut.

Comet->Shutes 1h45 to 3hrs

Last updated by: Bozzy at 2024-05-04 06:45:35. Experienced: 2024-04-20

Distance: 4.3 km (3.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 480m to 1181m. Gain: 728m. Loss: 45m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A broad, moss-covered track climbs the spur behind Shutes Hut through manuka bush. Moderately steep at first it eases further as you climb towards the bushedge at around 850m. Beyond the bushedge, claypan and low scrub replace the manukua bush and the track becomes indiscinct, meandering between adjoining clearings of claypan. Occasional cairns and warratahs mark the way, but often you are left to follow your nose.

Passing the first 956m summit you swing south and enter scrubby tussock tops, dropping to a saddle then climbing another 100m to the next high point. Throughout, you are left to find your own way south along the ridgeline - there are very few markers and no clear ground trail. A long climb leads to pt1183, and in bad weather compass work was required on these brad tops.

Thankfully, the ridge narrows between pt1183 and pt11800 and the route is identifable along the escarpment of the Koau valley. A wooden signpost at the point where the ridge swings west marks the turnoff to Dianes Hut in the Koau valley below. Shutes -> Junction, 2 - 3.5hrs

April 2024: The track seems to be better marked than when MadPom wrote the above in 2014. Frequent Markers and Cairns made the route fairly easy to follow.

Last updated by: Bozzy at 2024-05-04 06:44:59. Experienced: 2024-04-21

Distance: 7.1 km (3.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 1142m to 1359m. Gain: 382m. Loss: 186m . Gradient: 5 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

No track marked past Taruarau Bivy turnoff sign, except for the odd cairn.
Near Pt 1190 the travel through the beech forest on East side of ridge was good.
The plateau approx 1km before Pt 1282 was scrubby and hard going. The likely best option is to stick to the West side of plateau.
About half way between Pt 1190 and Pt 1282 you leave public land and go onto private land where permission is required. This seems to list the names of the owners https://www.maorilandinfo.co.nz/groups/te-koau-a/members.html
Eventually you hit the track that goes directly north south. THis is suitable for a quad bike and is distinctive in the tussock.
The junction with the turn off to Ikawetea Forks Hut is signedposted (2024).

Last updated by: Bozzy at 2024-05-12 00:26:28. Experienced: 2024-04-21

Distance: 4.5 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 589m to 1392m. Gain: 102m. Loss: 869m . Gradient: 13 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Sign follow poles along spur to trig. This is a trapline so gets regular use.
The track is marked with big orange triangle on the bushline.
Steep descent onto plateau. Mature Beech forest with some big trees.
Another steep descent to the river.
Hut is on spur inside the confluence.

Created by: Bozzy on 2024-05-12. Experienced: 2024-04-21

From Ikawatea Forks Hut to Ruahine Corner Hut via stoat line
View
Distance: 5.7 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 592m to 1226m. Gain: 646m. Loss: 53m . Gradient: 7 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Streams (2/6) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Cross river next to hut and then follow track markers up steep section to get onto spur.
We followed Pink triangles and did not notice the Blue markers that Madpom refers to from a decade ago.
Trapline is easy to follow and good going. Once above the treeline,follow the poled route across the plateau to the hut.
The track had been cleared of weeds in 2024 to assist the checking of traps.
THere is a track to the hut from the middle of the airstrip.

Last updated by: Bozzy at 2024-05-16 05:27:40. Experienced: 2024-04-22

From Potae Track Junction to Ruahine Corner Hut via Potae Track
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Distance: 2.2 km (0.8 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1186m to 1260m. Gain: 118m. Loss: 166m . Gradient: 8 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

From the track junction, the cut, marked Potae-Ruahine Corner track follows the defined ridgeline NNE, passing the top of a large, grassy slip. After this it enters flat tops of young bush, descending gently before emerging 600m later at the stark line dividing the bush of the Ruahines from the tussock tops beyond. Ruahine Corner Hut is 300m west along the bush edge along a poled route.

Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-02-09 23:08:12. Experienced: 2018-02-04

Distance: 0.9 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1220m to 1298m. Gain: 88m. Loss: 105m . Gradient: 13 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

From the Colenso turnoff, the track towards Ruahine Corner climbs over the Potae highpoint - one of several spectacular carved sandstone tors on the ridgeline. Descending the far side, a 2nd track junction is reached, where a track joins from the south from a saddle connecting Potae with the main range.

Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-02-09 23:25:39. Experienced: 2018-02-05

From Potae - Waiokotore - Colenso Junction to Colenso Hut via Potae - Mangatera River Track
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Distance: 5.3 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 699m to 1220m. Gain: 319m. Loss: 825m . Gradient: 12 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

A mix of track, marked route and open river travel

From the signposted junction 200m west of Potae, the track drops steeply SW into the branch of the Mangatera River. On reaching the first forks, the track stops and you are left to work your way down the small riverbed. This was reasonable going, even in steady rain, with crossings knee deep in wet conditions. 2018 - travel was mostly along the banks which are frequently marked by orange triangles, and not requiring too many crossing on the slippery rocks within the river bed. Further down the river becomes more open, passing under several large cliff faces to join the main river.

On reaching the main Mangatera the river becomes much larger, and travel is on a wide riverbed of rounded riverstones. In steady rain the river occupied the whole bed, and crossings were knee to thigh deep. Some pools in the first 200m required scrubby bush-bashed to bypass. 2018 - no sidling required in low flows and travel easy and straight forward. 2024: travel easy in low flows.

The valley becomes scrubby as it nears the forks below the hut. About a 1km down the main river a fork appears on the true left. Enter the fork and orange triangles can be seen a few metres up on the true right bank. 2018 - clamber up true left of log waterfall and walk up the river is easy and straight forward to Colenso Hut, which is situated above the river on the true left. Note: plenty of mozzies were inside the hut - take repellent! 2024: No markers at turn off to Colenso hut. Look for side stream coming from narrow gap with large overhanging tock on East side.

Madpom's previous notes state: An uncut, badly marked track cut off the last corner above the forks and deposited us back in the riverbed heading upriver towards Colenso. If you can't find it, just follow the riverbed.
Colenso Hut is 600m upriver on the western bank.

Last updated by: Bozzy at 2024-05-16 05:49:36. Experienced: 2024-04-23

Distance: 1.6 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 655m to 747m. Gain: 79m. Loss: 113m . Gradient: 7 deg (Gentle)
Skills:
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

A track heads west from Colenso Hut, passing Lake Colenso. It is well worthwhile taking the signposted 100m side-track down to the lake, which is a unique gem rich in birdlife and surrounded by mature bush and limestone bluffs.

After the lake turnoff the track wanders across marshy flats through bush and clearings until the valley begins to narrow. Dropping slightly towards the river, the track sidles the southern face. A signposted track junction is soon reached with a track dropping from the south from Unknown Campsite and Maropea Forks.

Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-02-09 23:46:09. Experienced: 2018-02-05

Distance: 2.8 km (1.8 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 658m to 914m. Gain: 402m. Loss: 424m . Gradient: 18 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

Crossing the creek at Unknown Campsite (small, ankle deep, only likely to pose problems in extreme conditions), the track follows the northern bank upriver. After 600m it climbs the face to the north, a steady climb passing several sculpted rock outcrops similar to those on Potae. The ridge, once reached is narrow. It drops steeply north into the Mangatera and has several steep, exposed scrambles on soil prone to be slippery after rain. Not for the faint hearted.

The track junction with the Colenso-Iron Bark track is signposted.

Last updated by: Ellya at 2018-02-09 23:54:07. Experienced: 2018-02-05

From Unknown Campsite to Iron Bark Hut via River
View
Distance: 3.0 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 536m to 674m. Gain: 105m. Loss: 217m . Gradient: 6 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Unknown campsite, river travel is easy in low to moderate flows although many river crossings are required. Would be difficult in high flow.
The waterfall bypass climbs much higher than shown on the map and goes to the top of the spur.

We missed the sign or marker when travelling downstream, although we were not paying attention! There is a narrow gap with small waterfall that requires some careful navigation. We suspect the sign was before this.
After arriving at the top of the waterfall we back tracked up the river 200m and then scrambled up the hillside to find the Orange triangles of the track.
2 bridges at the junction with Maropea River. One across the river just traversed and a swing bridge across the Maropea River.

Iron Bark Hut has been recently renovated (2024). A short walk from the swingbridge although track is partially eroded and requires you to go through the bush at one small section.

Created by: Bozzy on 2024-05-16. Experienced: 2024-04-24

Distance: 2.3 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Benched track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 538m to 893m. Gain: 369m. Loss: 22m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Good track

Created by: Bozzy on 2024-05-17. Experienced: 2024-04-24

Distance: 1.1 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Road - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 606m to 893m. Gain: 17m. Loss: 304m . Gradient: 17 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: - Occasional rivers (3/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Steep descent at the bottom. Great view of hut.
River would be unpassable after heavy rain.

Created by: Bozzy on 2024-05-17. Experienced: 2024-04-24

From Otukota Hut to Old Cattle Yards on Mokai Patea Range via Bruce Ridge part 1
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Distance: 3.0 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 613m to 1307m. Gain: 694m. Loss: 0m . Gradient: 14 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

A marked track climbs the spur to the south of Otukota Hut. The track is cut and marked. The ascent starts steep through mature bush, later entering beech forest as it nears the bushline where the track ends. The route up the spur from here is unmarked, but obvious in good weather. Travel is slow on large, rolling tussocks - especially when they're covered in slow!. In poor conditions, keep the western bushedge in sight as you climb until it ends 200m before the summit. Old yards are present at the top of the spur, where you swing west round the head of a creek to the saddle on the main range.

Last updated by: Bozzy at 2024-05-17 05:26:07. Experienced: 2009-06-20

Distance: 4.1 km (2.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1360m to 1535m. Gain: 191m. Loss: 39m . Gradient: 3 deg (Gentle)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Follow broad top of range through low tussock. Mostly very easy going.
We did it in cloud so had the compass out to ensure we stayed on track. Would be very easy in fine weather.
We missed the turn side spur in the cloud , but the ridge gets narrow shortly past the turn off so it is easy to realise you have gone to far.
THere are waratahs on the poled route, but they are fairly sparse.

Created by: Bozzy on 2024-05-17. Experienced: 2024-04-25

From Crow Hut to Top of Spur above Crow Hut via track part 1
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Distance: 2.2 km (2.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 797m to 1499m. Gain: 741m. Loss: 39m . Gradient: 21 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Occasional scrambles (3/7) - Streams (2/6) Winter - Iceaxe/crampons (4/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

From Crow Hut, cross the swingbridge and follow the track upriver. The track drops into the riverbed to sidle below bluffs - this section was in-water when I visited with a bit of meltwater around, could become impassable after heavy rain. Sidles, if possible, looked scrubby.

After crossing the 1st sidecreek upriver, triangle mark the start of the track proper. This climbs east up the spur upstream of the sidecreek. A steady climb through mostly open bush - good going to the bushedge.

Above the bushedge, the track emerges onto a narrow, steep, exposed spur. A couple of very steep sections were tricky in soft snow, and an ice-axe at a minimum was required in winter. Once above the scrub the spur gradually becomes wider and the potential falls recede.

Attaining the summit of the Mokai Patea plateau you find yourself on broad tops of tall tussocks. Occasional warratahs give hints of where to go, but the track has little or no ground trail. For those heading towards Wakelings or Rongotea highpoint, swing SW for 500m along the untracked tops, pass a small tarn and climb to the rounded summit of Rongotea.

Last updated by: Bozzy at 2024-05-17 05:30:25. Experienced: 2009-06-17

From McKinnon Hut Turn off to Crow Hut via Kawhatau River part 2
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Distance: 1.1 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 797m to 848m. Gain: 73m. Loss: 106m . Gradient: 9 deg (Flat)
Skills: - Prolonged rivers (4/6)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

An relatively easy route in low flows for most of the length. Travel is all in the river - there are limited options for sidling.

Last updated by: Bozzy at 2024-05-17 05:43:22. Experienced: 2020-01-19

From McKinnon Hut Turn off to McKinnon Hut via Spur Track
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Distance: 1.5 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 822m to 1401m. Gain: 580m. Loss: 1m . Gradient: 23 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Steep ascent. Track in great condition.

Created by: Bozzy on 2024-05-17. Experienced: 2024-04-25

From Pt 1625 Sign to McKinnon Hut via Poled route part 2
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Distance: 0.8 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1391m to 1619m. Gain: 9m. Loss: 237m . Gradient: 19 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

From the Sign at Pt1625, the poled route drop down to McKinnon is short and sharp before easing off to reach the hut on the bush line.

Last updated by: Bozzy at 2024-05-09 19:54:22. Experienced: 2024-04-27

From Pt 1625 Sign to Mangaweka via Hikurangi Range
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Distance: 4.4 km (3.0 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1545m to 1711m. Gain: 334m. Loss: 245m . Gradient: 8 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Reasonably easy walking along Hikurangi Range. The odd section of thigh deep tussock, but mostly much shorter and easier going.
The odd Cairn exists and the odd evidence of a trail from other people and/or deer.

Created by: Bozzy on 2024-05-09. Experienced: 2024-04-27

From Mangaweka to Iron Peg via Hikurangi range
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Distance: 1.1 km (0.5 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1659m to 1721m. Gain: 38m. Loss: 63m . Gradient: 5 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

East travel along the tops. Big tarn (and baby tarn) tucked into the Eastern slope.

Created by: Bozzy on 2024-05-09. Experienced: 2024-04-27

From Wooden Peg to Iron Peg via Hikurangi Range
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Distance: 0.7 km (0.2 DOC hours) - Unmarked route, clear - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1640m to 1691m. Gain: 51m. Loss: 28m . Gradient: 6 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

Unmarked route from Wooden Peg to Iron Peg, clear ground trail for most part, until close to Iron Peg ground becomes eroded and difficult to follow a track. Stay to the right (east). Big tarn exists by Iron Peg.

Created by: Ellya on 2017-04-02. Experienced: 2017-01-20

From Purity Hut to Wooden Peg via Hikurangi Range
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Distance: 2.2 km (1.5 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 1308m to 1666m. Gain: 363m. Loss: 5m . Gradient: 10 deg (Moderate-hard)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) Winter - Snow/ice underfoot (2/7)
GPX info source: Uploaded from GPS

Intermittently poled route with clear ground trail to top of Wooden Peg

Created by: Ellya on 2017-04-02. Experienced: 2017-01-20

Distance: 2.3 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Easy-moderate terrain
Altitude: 874m to 1310m. Gain: 14m. Loss: 448m . Gradient: 12 deg (Moderate)
Skills:
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Well defined track on good gradient.

Created by: Bozzy on 2024-05-17. Experienced: 2024-04-27

Distance: 2.3 km (1.0 DOC hours) - Marked route - Easy terrain
Altitude: 584m to 887m. Gain: 7m. Loss: 310m . Gradient: 8 deg (Moderate)
Skills: - Streams (2/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Steep descent and then flat across farm. WHite markers and Doc Orange Markers.
Private land. Permission must be granted from farmer.
1 stream to cross. should be crossable except in very heavy rain.
he likes Steinlager Pure

Created by: Bozzy on 2024-05-17. Experienced: 2024-04-27


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