The North-South Track takes at least five days of serious tramping. The walk can be shortened by entering or exiting the Forest Park at a side track. This tramp involves many river crossings, steep and technical terrain, and includes remote areas which are challenging to maintain and may involve navigating around landslides and fallen trees.
The old North-South track along the crest of the main range from Mount Te Aroha through Pahiko and Wahine Rock is an unmaintained route, extremely muddy, and often overgrown. It is suitable for expert backcountry trampers only.
The recommended North-South track is via Waitawheta Hut, and the Waitawheta and Wharawhara valleys.
There are some huts that can be used during this tramp but camping is also necessary along the way.
Kauritatahi and Mangamuka huts are well off the main track
These two huts are accessed by difficult routes and should only be attempted by experienced trampers.
This is because the distance between these two huts is not considered a reasonable day’s tramp, camping is unavoidable. It is, therefore, better to skip both huts and plan to camp once or twice near Thompson’s Track junction, along the Aongatete River, north of Wairere Falls Track junction, and/or at Ngamuwahine Shelter.
The following itinerary, over seven days, is a guide only:
- Day 1 – Karangahake Gorge (SH2) to Daly’s Clearing Hut
- Day 2 – Dalys Clearing Hut to Waitawheta Hut
- Day 3 – Waitawheta Hut to Te Rereatukahia Hut
- Day 4 – Te Rereatukahia Hut to Poupou Stream
- Day 5 – Poupou Stream to Te Whare Okioki
- Day 6 – Te Whare Okioki to Hurunui Hut or Kaimai Summit (SH29)
- Day 7 – (optional) Hurunui Hut to Kaimai Summit (SH29)
The track starts from Karangahake Gorge, off SH2 at Karangahake. The track exits on to SH29 at the Kaimai Summit.
You must be well prepared when tramping. Ensure you have a tent, sleeping bag, topographic map, torch, strong boots, warm clothing, a good raincoat, first aid kit, ample food and drink, a hat, and sunscreen. Do not rely on mobile coverage, which is intermittent.
There is a river crossing on this track.
Stay safe when crossing rivers
If you plan to cross unbridged rivers, know how to cross safely and be prepared for if you cannot cross.
Do not cross if the river is flooded, you cannot find safe entry and exit points or are unsure it’s safe. Turn back or wait for the river to drop. If in doubt, stay out.