Weekend Trip - Friday 10 August 2018 to Sunday 12 August 2018 (3 days)

by Murray Gifford

This trip is sort of a west-east crossing of the northern Kaimais and has to be one of the best in the park for ease, variety and scenic features

The weekend forecast was great, fine and calm for two days and I’m sure this contributed to a memorable weekend for all of us.

Saturday: The trip commenced at the Karangahake new hall adjacent the historic road/rail bridge over the river from SH2, 7.30am.

A leisurely trip along the Ohinemuri river to the park swing bridge, which is currently being replaced. Some signage to catch up on some of the history of the area and gold mining era.

A climb up through the bush beside a pretty cascading stream to the road end and a gravel track leads towards the east and the Dubbo/County track.

We turned off and headed up the steeply rising ridge, 300m climb with views expanding by the minute. A breather at half way at the lone pine.

1.5hrs to the top at 540m with extensive views to the east, Waikino, Waihi and ocean beyond, views to the north, the Coromandel ranges, views to the east, Paeroa and the massive inland swamp.

Further east and a possible Kaimai wind farm site, grassed hill tops at the park boundary with wide exposure to the westerly winds through the gorge.

Turning south, Te Aroha in the distance, the Mangakino stream valley stretching south and further east the Waitawheta gorge with the Dickeys flat oxbow.

Time for photos and a morning snack.

We then headed south and east, gently down a wide access track to meet the top end of the County Rd. Turned off here onto the Mangakino Stream Track. The top end of the track had a fair bit of wind fall. This track sidles and follows the contour, meaning slow travel rounding ridges and back into the gullies to cross the streams. We made slow but steady progress, finally surfacing at the power line cutting for a morning break, sun shining and a restful stop.

On into the forest and a descent to the Waitawheta river at the Mangakino stream junction. There is good camping here between the track and the river and we stopped for lunch on a grassy bank in the sun, most pleasant. Geoff discussed the trees surrounding us in view.

Over the Mangakino stream and straight into a steep 300m climb, finally grading to a gentle climb through a wonderful nikau undergrowth and mature forest, most pleasant. 1hr up and past the Dean tack exit route to the east and another half hr to the Daly’s hut turnoff. Up and over a small rise to exit to a fine grassed area in front of Daly’s Hut, a solid day, GPS said 21km, 8.5hrs. Most of us camped as the hut was full with three families with young children, even a baby.

Sunday: was up to a crisp frosty morning, away by 8.20am. Down the track to Waitawheta river again, turned right or south at the bottom and 100m up the track was an unexpected waterfall washing down over the track.

15mins on and opposite a significant tributary from the east we crossed the river, some managed this dry by rock hopping, others took the wet feet route.

The track east enters the bush 50m downstream and a steep incline up the side of Maungawhio hill. The trail rises to 400m with a couple of magnificent 600 year old Kauris on route. What a sight, easy to see why the early settlers would want to cut them down and mill the timber. Time for photos and read the sign board.

The trail continues to 500m elevation through pleasant forest and then slowly descends through a small amount of mud and swamp and finally a very peaceful rimu/kauri/red beech forest. The track exits the bush above a steep cliff and there is a 5 min walk to the east to the Ananui falls.

This is a spectacular 106m sheer drop with a magnificent stand of kauri guarding over the falls. One can tempt death and peer out over the falls on the edge rocks if inclined.

Down the ridge 10mins is a grassy spot and a great view point looking back to the falls and lunch for us all. Further down I understand a small side track has even better views.

We dropped into the Waitengaue river, the junction to the direct route to Waitawheta hut, past a grassy camping site, around the Kauri grove hill. Multiple stream crossings and a final 1.5hrs out to the Woodlands road end. All up the GPS recorded 16kms and 6.5hrs. Bus awaiting with the easier group.

We were:: Murray Gifford (leader), Bill Mancer, Lynda and Tayla Going, Geoff Fisher and Grace. Photos - Murray Gifford.