Camping at Iron Peg, Hikurangi Range
Image: Jonathan Astin | ©
May be closed during lambing season (1 September - 31 October). You must get prior permission from the landowner to access the track to Purity Hut. Details below.
Time: 3 - 4 hr
Climb the marked Purity Hut Track through farmland and forest to Purity Hut, nestled above the bushline on the Hikurangi Range.
Time: 4 - 6 hr
The track follows on up the a tussock ridge from Purity Hut to Wooden Peg (1672 m).
From here turn left along the tops of the range - head northeast to Iron Peg (1703 m) and on past small tarns to Mangaweka Trig (1733 m), the highest point in the Ruahine Forest Park.
Travel is then possible right along the open tussock tops of the Hikurangi Range to McKinnon Hut sitting just above the bushline down a short side ridge at the northern end. Some lovely tarns are passed on the way. Due to travel on the unmarked open tops this section should not be attempted in poor visibility or bad weather. Snow can occur any time of year.
Time: 4 - 6 hr
Walk back on the McKinnon Hut Track along the crest of the Hikurangi Range from McKinnon Hut and down the long ridge to the cableway across the Kawhatau River. Unless the river is up, it is easy to walk across the river here.
Time: 4 - 6 hr
From Kawhatau Base (currently closed), go through the gate and down to the Kawhatau River. Head downstream for approximately 9.5 km to the Rangitane Road bridge. Beware this route may not be accessible during times of high river flow.
Hikurangi Range in snow
Walkers arriving at Purity Hut
You will need to make transport arrangements as the start and end points of this hike are different. You must make prior arrangements to cross private land at the Purity Hut end of the trip.
Heading just north from Mangaweka turn right off SH1, cross the Rangitikei River and follow Kawhatau Valley Road. This eventually leads to Upper Kawhatau Valley Road and not far past this turn right onto Mangakukeke Road. Follow this to the carpark at the end.
There is currently no accommodation available at Kawhatau Base. There has previously been vehicle access to Kawhatau Base through private land but this access is no longer available. Access is now available via a 9 km walk up the Kawhatau River, starting where the Rangitane Road bridge crosses the Kawhatau River. Beware this route may not be accessible during times of high river flow.
To get to the Rangitane Road bridge, head just north from Mangaweka and turn right off SH1. Cross the Rangitikei River and follow Kawhatau Valley Road. This eventually leads to Upper Kawhatau Valley Road which becomes Rangitane Road. The bridge is just past the turn off to Smiths Road. Please note there is no car park.
To arrange access to Purity Hut Track for day 1 of this trip, phone Richard Gorringe on +64 6 3825856. Please consider going elsewhere during lambing (1 September to 31 October).
Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.