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Track description

This track description is for information only. When on a tramp, always carry a compass and a Topomap of the area and know how to use them or ensure you have at least one experienced person in your party.

Warning: this track has unbridged stream crossings that can become impassable after heavy rain. Please ensure you monitor weather conditions before leaving and do not attempt to cross flooded streams.

Please note:

Kaitoke carpark has been relocated. The new car park is clearly marked on the left hand side of Kiwi Ranch Road, located near the end of Marchant Rd. It connects to the Puffer Saddle track, Smiths Creek and Marchant Ridge and will increase vehicle security and improve the visitor experience at this important access point.

A section of the Totara Creek track has been re-routed from the below the Gentle Annie Track turnoff to Totara Creek. The track now meets Totara creek and the original track via a swingbridge about half way down the creek. See track description below.

Day one: Holdsworth – Totara Flats Hut: 4 hr

From Holdsworth Lodge, cross the bridge and continue up the track in the direction of Donnelly’s Flat. Turn left at the signpost and climb the Gentle Annie track towards Mountain House Shelter.

This track is well graded, and offers several lookout points. The track follows the ridge to the Totara Creek turnoff.

Follow the track along the ridge to a high point, 575m, and continue along the track, heading down towards Totara Creek. Follow the creek on the true left to the swingbridge crossing, then continue down stream on the true right.

At the Waiohine River, cross the bridge and follow the signs to Totara Flats Hut which has mattresses, wardens’ quarters and toilets. It requires 3 standard tickets/person/night.

Totara Flats has numerous camping sites. Campers who use hut facilities are required to pay one hut ticket.

Day two: Totara Flats Hut – Tutuwai Hut: 5 hrs

Cone Ridge, Tararua Forest Park. Photo: Joe Hansen.
Cone Ridge, Tararua Forest Park

From the hut the track continues down river across the flats. Before reaching a high bluff, swing away from the river, following the track up a steep short climb onto a high river terrace and continue to the river.

A large slip will be encountered shortly. Either follow the all-weather track over the slip (30 minutes), or travel downstream on the river terrace to Makaka Creek (only possible when the river is low). Cross the Makaka Creek bridge and climb up the bank to the marked junction.

Turn right onto the Cone Saddle track and climb steadily up a spur to the ridge top.

From here the track sidles into Clem Creek and climbs to Cone Saddle.

Descend the track to Cone Hut in the Tauherenikau Valley. Cone hut is a basic hut and does not require hut tickets.

From Cone Hut go down river, crossing muddy terraces and grassy flats, to Tutuwai Hut, which has mattresses, wardens quarters and toilets. It requires 3 standard tickets/person/night.

Day three: Tutuwai Hut – Kaitoke Roadend: 4 hr 30 min

From Tutuwai Hut continue down the true left, crossing grass flats and bush terraces past low wide slips. Climb onto the river terraces, where the track continues downstream to a swingbridge.

Cross the bridge and follow the track. Some side streams must be treated with care in wet weather. After crossing grassy river flats, Smith Creek shelter is reached. The shelter is not suitable for overnight stays.

The track from here follows Smith Creek up-stream to the base of the Puffer Track.

Climb the Puffer Track to a saddle and down to the Kaitoke roadend carpark, located along Kiwi Ranch Road.

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