From the carpark a steadily graded track descends to the forest park boundary. Shortly after this a picturesque arched wooden bridge crosses high above a narrow gorge in Umutoi Creek. The track, a former logging road, continues on through beech forest to heritage lodge situated with a spectacular view up the Oroua River.
Just before the hut a track leads down to some flats beside the Oroua River ideal for overnight camping and picnicking. From the carpark, allow 30 min to get to the lodge, and 40 min to get to the river.
From the hut it's another 4 hr walk on to Iron Gate Hut or 3–4 hr up a steep climb to Tunupo high point.
Just past the village of Kimbolton turn right onto Āpiti Road which then becomes Oroua Valley Road. Go through Āpiti and take the second turn right onto Table Flat Road and continue for several kms. Turn left onto Petersons Road. Take this road to the car park on farmland at the end of the road.
The Oroua River is one of the main rivers flowing out of western Ruahine Forest Park and is a very popular area for hunters, trampers and fishers. Tracks from the valley give access to the Ngamoko Range and further up to the Whanahuia Range. Regenerating forest on the edge of the park is evidence of past logging in this area. A mix of red beech and broadleaved forest occurs further in.
The original Heritage Lodge hut burned down in 2005. A generous donation towards rebuilding the hut was made by the family of the late Alice Nash, who had loved and explored this area often, during her time living in the local Rangiwahia vicinity. This donation together with considerable time and effort from the Manawatu branch of the NZ Deerstalkers Association, who manage this hut, saw the new Alice Nash Memorial Heritage Lodge completed in 2007.
These interesting short and overnight walks are great options for getting outdoors with children.
Learn about early logging history and see some breathtaking views on this adventure to Alice Nash Memorial Heritage Lodge.