Time: 2 - 3 hr
A short distance after Makahu Road enters the park it climbs to a saddle. It is from this point the track to Makino Hut leaves the road.
The track leads up a manuka ridge for 20 minutes (plus climb) – from where there are good views of the Mohaka valley and surrounding plateau farmland. Look and listen for fernbirds in the ground level scrubland and listen for kiwi at night. The track continues along a manuka covered flat, then climbs again to a further flat section. Manuka vegetation gives way to red beech as altitude is gained. The track continues past the Middle Hill turnoff to the left, then to the right to the steeply descending track to Te Puia Lodge. About 15 - 20 minutes from this junction, in a small clearing, is Makino Hut.
For experienced tramping parties there is access from Makino Hut to Ballard Hut (via the main Kaweka Range) or to Mangaturutu Hut (via the upper reaches of the Makino River).
Time: 2 - 3 hr
The track to Middle Hill Hut begins at the north-west corner of the carpark. Follow up the Mangatutunui Stream for 15 minutes.
The track crosses a stream, then climbs and sidles through manuka forest to a plateau. Middle Hill Hut is located on a clearing.
An alternative route to Middle Hill for experienced trampers is via the Makino track. However because of the constant “up and down” nature of this track, as it winds in and out of major creeks, this is not a popular option.
From Middle Hill, tracks lead further afield to for example Kaweka Flats, Makahu Saddle, or over the Kaweka Range to Ballard Hut.
Time: 6 - 7 hr
An interesting day or overnight trip is the circuit from Makahu Road to Makino Hut, descending to Te Puia Lodge, (perhaps diverting to Mangatainoka Hot Springs), following the Mohaka River to the Mangatutu Thermal Springs, then returning to the starting point along Makahu Road.
Time: 6 - 7 hr
This day or overnight trip, along the eastern side of the Kaweka Range, passes through a variety of manuka, beech and sub alpine forest, and rewards trampers with good views of the mountain tops. There is a bivouac on Kaweka Flats. Organisation of transport is necessary from Makahu Saddle to Makahu Road.
The track follows the true left of the Makino River from its meeting with the Mohaka for about 30 minutes. Good access for fishing and hunting. The track ends by a gorge and upriver from here there is no marked track.
Alternatively, a track which drops steeply down from the Makino to Ballard Track provides access to the river’s upper reaches. A three-wire bridge which crosses the Makino River, links with a track to Mangaturutu Hut.
Makahu Road is 75 km north-west of Napier. From Napier follow Puketitiri Road for 40 km before turning right into Pakaututu Road. Makahu Road is 9 km on the left.
At the very end of the road, 500 metres from the Mangatutu Hot Springs and camping area, is "The Gums" parking area and shelter. The tracks to Te Puia Lodge and Mangatainoka Hot Springs begin here.
The trip involves about 1 hr of travel on unsealed gravel roads. There is a river ford on Makahu Road 7.5 km from the road end – heavy rain and snow melt can affect the water level.
Makahu Road is steep and narrow in places. It may be slippery when wet. Take extra caution driving this road.
The road is not suitable for caravans or campervans.
Check with Hasting's District Council for road closures.
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