Wellington

Wellington

Tararua Ranges - OPEN

Note: Extreme care at all times, maybe impassable in certain conditions.
Northern Start
Junction of Gladstone and Poads Rd, Levin
Southern End
Otaki Forks, Otaki Gorge Rd
Distance
45km
Time
3-6 Days
Track Standard
Road margin   Footpath   Easy tramping track   Tramping track   Route   Mixed grade  
Potential Hazards
  • Poisons & traps
  • Farming operations Do not disturb stock
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Weather extremes - be aware of weather forecast and be prepared to wait bad weather out if necessary
Description
(North to South)

This section involves 3-6 days through forest and alpine terrain and includes many steep ascents and descents.It begins at 150m above sea level and reaches its highest point at Mount Crawford 1462m. 

WARNING: Weather in the Tararua Ranges is notorious for deteriorating rapidly. Be prepared for extreme conditions at all times. There can be gale-force winds and heavy rain.Snow can fall in any season.  Be prepared to wait out storms or for streams to subside after heavy rain. Do not cross swollen streams. Be sure to fill in intentions book at start of track.

The trail is divided into three stages of 1-2 days each, depending on fitness and weather conditions.

1) Poads Road (Levin) to Te Matawai Hut (900m), via Gable End Ridge
2) Te Matawai Hut to Nichols Hut (1160m) via Dracophyllum Hut
3) Nichols Hut to Parawai Hut (Otaki Forks, Road End,100m) via Waitewaewae Hut (310m)

Track Notes
If exiting from the Mangahao-Makahika Track, walk approximately 7km down Gladstone Road to Poads Road on left, crossing old concrete bridge and walking uphill to the car park and information boards. Note - the DOC information board here describes the former TAT route via Waiopehu Hut. The official route now bypasses Waiopehu and goes up Gable End Ridge.
 

From Levin, take transport for 7km to car park at end of Poads Road.

Poads Road to Te Matawai Hut via Gable End Ridge - 13.8km / 7-8hr

September 2018 - A new route to Te Matawai Hut bypassing Waiopehu Hut uses Gable End Ridge. This is a tough section, expect lots of mud, allow plenty of time, take plenty of water and be aware of the weather.

The track starts at a DOC noticeboard which describes the no longer used Te Araroa route. The track initially crosses private farmland; follow the blue posts and farm track. Cross the stile at the fence-line on the Park boundary and enter the bush. About 75m along this track pass the former TAT route branching uphill to Waiopehu and continue along the well-defined benched track. The first of three minor creeks is bridged. Pass the Six Discs track (which also goes to Waiopehu), then cross Blackwater Stream on a suspension bridge. Shortly after, bear right on a small grassy patch above the main South Ohau River. The track up Gable End Ridge is on the right, a short distance from the grassy patch, about 1½ hrs from Poads Road.

From here no water is available until Te Matawai Hut – the water tanks are small so in the busy summer period and in hot weather ensure you carry plenty of water.

The track heads steeply up a bushed spur, which eases off slightly after 20 minutes or so. It climbs steadily over Mayo Point (666m) and exits the bush edge just before Gable End (903m) after about 2½-3 hours. You are now in open scrub with good views on a clear day. It is another hour of ups and downs to Richard’s Knob (985m) where the track meets Dora Ridge. Turn left (southeast) and follow the Dora Ridge Track down to Butchers Saddle (690m). Climb to the Yeates Track junction (810m), at the signpost bear right and ascend the ridge for about 30 minutes to a helipad and Te Matawai Hut (900m, 18 bunks).
 
 
Te Matawai to Dracophyllum Hut - 8km / 4-5hr

This route to Dracophyllum Hut (1100m, 2 bunks) climbs Pukematawai (1432m), along the main range, over Butchers Knob (1158m) then through bush to Dracophyllum Hut. 700m ascent, 500m descent.

Follow Northern Crossing Track up the ridge to shoulder of Pukematawai (sign where Main Range Track starts). Much of track is above  the bushline and can be covered in snow in winter (June -September)

Descend on the Main Range Track over various bumps to the bushline beyond Butchers Knob. Dracophyllum Hut is another hour away through beech forest. (Small hut with 2 bunks & water tank).


Dracophyllum Hut to Nichols Hut - 5km / 4hr

The route to Nichols Hut (1160m, 6 bunks) Track climbs Puketoro (1152m)  Shoulder of Kelleher (1142m) and Nichols (1242m) (all unmarked) along Main Ridge to Nichols Hut. 

The track is mainly through bush, climbing into open at Puketoro and Kelleher (un-marked). At Kelleher Shoulder a cairn marks where the track descends  down a steep tussock ridge, zig zagging down to bush. From here it follows an undulating ridge, finally climbing to top of Nichols(unmarked) from where the track descends through tussock to the hut, east of the saddle.


Nichols Hut to Waitewaewae Hut  - 8km / 4-5hr

Route to Waitewaewae Hut (310m 16 bunks) via Mt Crawford 1462m. 380m ascent, 1240m descent.

Note: in strong winds and rain it may be necessary to stop at Nichols Hut until weather clears

Follow the ridge up the summit of Mt Crawford for great views of the Tararua Range, Kapiti Island, the coast and possibly Mt Taranaki. Descend to Junction Knob, turn right to Shoulder Knob, where the track re-enters the bush, and descends steeply to the Otaki River (bridged) and then Waitewaewae Hut. 

Waitewaewae Hut to Parawai Hut - 10km / 4-6hr
Route to Parawai Lodge (100m altitude, 18 bunks) and Otaki Forks car park. Ascend to the Plateau (530m) then descend Saddle Creek (200m), and cross Otaki River swing bridge to carpark. 250m ascent, 460m descent.

Follow the marked track down the terrace the hut is on. The wet weather track then climbs and crosses a number of gullies and streams before the climb to the Plateau. These streams can be difficult and dangerous to cross in heavy rain. Be prepared to let levels fall during wet weather.

(Dry weather route - follow the track to Otaki Forks for a 100 or so metres along the terrace then drop down the bank on the unmarked route and cross the Otaki River.  Below here the river bends around to flow east. Cross back to the west bank on the bend and head to the orange marker by a side stream just below the long slip in the west bank. Follow the markers and track up this stream (Arapito Stream) to join the main wet weather track where it crosses Arapito Stream. This point is signposted.)

After crossing Arapito Stream the track climbs up the valley crossing a number of gullies before reaching the Plateau. The track crosses Plateau Stream three times in a short distance before a short 20 to 30 metre climb to the saddle. From here the new track heads south along the ridge climbing gently. There are a couple of flat boggy sections on the ridge. From the ridge, the new track crosses a steep slope before dropping down to the old tram track. A well graded track leads from here to a swing bridge over the Otaki River. It then climbs over a terrace on the south side of the river before dropping to Parawai Lodge. The carpark and road are across another swing bridge beside the Waiotauru River.

There is a DOC warden located across the swingbridge near the overnight carpark.

If continuing on to the next section (Pukeatua) turn left at the road  and continue for 2km to end of road: camping area, and start of Fenceline and Pukeatua Tracks. Otaki Township is 10km away down Otaki Gorge Road. Transport recommended as road narrow and winding.

Note: Map is indicative only
Extra Info

Weather in the Tararua Ranges is notorious for deteriorating rapidly. Be prepared for extreme conditions at all times.

Be prepared to wait out storms. Snow can fall in any season.  Be sure to fill in intentions book at start of track 

Views in the Tararua Ranges in clear weather are outstanding. 

River swimming at Waitewaewae Hut.
 

Levin

Getting to/from the start
From the north Te Araroa enters the Wellington region at Poads Road, 7km from Levin (Taitoko). Levin has a full range of service and amenities available and is a good point for resupply.

General / visitor information
Levin i-SITE Visitor Information Centre - SH1 next to the adventure playground P: 06 367 8440. 
 
Getting there/away
Levin is on State Highway 1, and on the North Island Main Trunk Line with a station used by the Capital Connection long-distance commuter train between Wellington and Palmerston North - P: 0800 801 700
InterCity - P: 04 385 0520
Naked Bus - P: 0900 62533 (calls cost)
Rental Cars - multiple options available
 
Accommodation
Makahika Outdoor Pursuits Centre, is situated approx 1.7 km from the farm exit of the Mangahao-Makahika Section of the Te Araroa Trail. It is a residential leadership camp, booked most Mondays-Fridays, however, all ‘trail-walkers’ are welcome – anytime! We will readily find a bed for you, and worst case scenario we have acres of beautiful grasslands for your tents. You are welcome to have a night of luxury and book the cottage on AirBnB (Makahika Cottage-Levin), or (if available) access one of the 46 bunks in our Lodge.
Available: Hot showers, cold beer, dinner with your hosts, washing and drying facilities, re-stock (you can pre-order by emailing orders to Makahika@xtra.co.nz, you can pay electronically), PLBs on loan and trail knowledge (for the Te Matawai to Otaki Forks sub-alpine section). There is no charge for dinner with your hosts, tenting or a bunkroom, though you are welcome to gift a small koha to be used to support our Youth Justice Programmes. John and Sally Duxfield 06 367 8438 or email jsdux@ihug.co.nz OR Makahika@xtra.co.nz 

Beni Paroli (AT hiker) P: 06 368 4570, 027 9304151 E: pepperonis@xtra.co.nz for pickup, shower, meal and bed - Levin;
Levin Holiday Park (camping, cabins & motel units) - 38 Parker Ave, Levin - P: 06 368 3549 - E: lhp@xtra.co.nz 
Totara Lodge Motel - Cnr Devon & Bristol St - P: 06 368 4114 - E: reservations@totaralodgemotel.co.nz 
Panorama Motel - 170 The Avenue  SH 1, Levin - P: 06 368 5401 or 0800 660 220 - E: admin@panoramamotel.co.nz 
Bentons Motel - 2 York Street (Crnr of York - P: 06 367 8282 - E: bentonsmotel@xtra.co.nz 
Serendipity B&B - 86 Macarthur St, Levin - P: 06 368 6766 - E: relax@serendipitynz.co.nz
 
Resupply 
New World Supermarket - 21 Bath St, Levin - P: 06 368 6538 
Countdown Supermarket  - 15 Bristol St, Levin - P: 06 366 0050 
 

Otaki

General / visitor information
Otaki I-SITE Visitor Information Centre - 239 Centennial Park, SH 1, Otaki - P: 06 364 7620 - E: otaki@i-SITE.org
Open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm / Sat 10am-3pm/ Sun 10am- 2pm
 
Maps NZTopo 50 series Levin (BN33), Shannon (BN34 briefly), Featherston(BP33)
Views in the Tararua Ranges in clear weather are outstanding.
River swimming at Waitewaewae Hut.
 
Otaki Accommodation
Bridge Lodge Otaki - 3 Otaki Gorge Road, Te Horo - P: 06 364 6667
Standard DOC camping ground 2km up road at School house Flat (near start of Pukeatua Track), $6.00 
Self-catering cottage on Gorge Rd, Te Horo - P: 06 364 3220.
2 Campgrounds at Otaki Beach, - approx 6 km west of SH 1
Otaki Manaaki B & B - 102 Rahui Rd, Otaki - P: 0274 783 220
Otaki Motel - 260 Main Highway, Otaki - P: 06 364 8469 or 0800 662 243 - E: info@otakimotel.co.nz 
Railway Hotel - 6 Arthur St, Otaki - P: 06 364 7165

Resupply 
New World Supermarket - 155-163 Main HIghway, Otaki North - P: 06 364 8640 
Countdown Supermarket - Cnr Mill Rd & Aotaki St, Otaki - P: 06 364 9001

Transport 
Otaki Forks Transport Options: Bookings Essential
If exiting at Otaki Forks the Gorge Road is narrow and winding - not safe for walkers.
Beni Paroli (AT hiker) 06 364 6261 pepperonis@xtra.co.nz for pickup, hot shower, meal and accommodation Otaki Beach.
Pickup/dropoff from Otaki Forks - P: 06 3643220 or 0274 426968 - E: pipsteele@xtra.co.nz
Local Taxi Service - Wally (retired) Phone 06 362 6319
Paraparaumu Taxi Service - Tues,Thurs, Fridays 10am-3pm P: 0800 508 294
 
Accommodation
For the closest self-catering rural cottage accommodation, and pickup/dropoff from Otaki Forks, P: 06 3643220 or 0274 426968 - E: pipsteele@xtra.co.nz
Bridge Lodge Backpackers - 3 Otaki Forks Rd, Otaki - P: 06 364 6667 - Accommodation. Camping Ground, Tent & Backpackers
Beni Paroli (AT hiker) 06 364 6261 pepperonis@xtra.co.nz for pickup, hot shower, meal and accommodation Otaki Beach.
 
Note 
Track distances in the descriptions following are closest estimates. Times stated depend on fitness, weather conditions and how often you stop to take photos, snack or rest.
 
 

 

Requirements
  • Keep to the track marked by blue poles
  • Respect private land keep driveway clear at all times
  • Leave gates as you find them
  • Dogs on leash only
  • No vehicles
  • No bikes
Environment
  • Take all rubbish with you
  • Use toilets provided
  • Bury toilet waste well away from water
  • Conservation Area - No domestic animals allowed (i.e. includes dogs, cats or birds)
Amenities
(Start)
  • Full range of amenities in Levin
  • Car park Orientation signage, Intentions Book
  • Toilets At Poads Road starting point.
  • Shop in Levin
Amenities
(On Route)
  • Toilets At each hut except Dracophyllum
  • Accommodation Tramping Huts - hut fees required
Amenities
(End)
  • Carpark Overnight behind Caretaker's house
  • Picnic area Track links from overnight carpark to Boielles Picnic Area
  • Toilets 3 Flush toilets at Picnic area & 1 at secure carpark
  • Shop Otaki nearest town
  • Phone and assistance at Caretaker's house
  • Standard Campsite Camping ground 2km up road to School house Flat
  • Accommodation 20 bunk Tramping Hut (Parawai) up river before bridge. Hut fees apply - 1 ticket per night.
  • Self-catering rural cottage on Gorge Rd, ph owner 06 364 3220 or 0274 426968 or email pipsteele@xtra.co.nz
  • Total Fire Ban all year
Closest Town(s)
Levin north; Otaki south
Managed by
Department of Conservation (DoC)
Contact
T
Northern Start
Junction of Gladstone and Poads Rd, Levin
Southern End
Otaki Forks, Otaki Gorge Rd
Distance
45km
Time
3-6 Days
Track Standard
Road margin   Footpath   Easy tramping track   Tramping track   Route   Mixed grade  
Description
(North to South)

This section involves 3-6 days through forest and alpine terrain and includes many steep ascents and descents.It begins at 150m above sea level and reaches its highest point at Mount Crawford 1462m. 

WARNING: Weather in the Tararua Ranges is notorious for deteriorating rapidly. Be prepared for extreme conditions at all times. There can be gale-force winds and heavy rain.Snow can fall in any season.  Be prepared to wait out storms or for streams to subside after heavy rain. Do not cross swollen streams. Be sure to fill in intentions book at start of track.

The trail is divided into three stages of 1-2 days each, depending on fitness and weather conditions.

1) Poads Road (Levin) to Te Matawai Hut (900m), via Gable End Ridge
2) Te Matawai Hut to Nichols Hut (1160m) via Dracophyllum Hut
3) Nichols Hut to Parawai Hut (Otaki Forks, Road End,100m) via Waitewaewae Hut (310m)

Track Notes
If exiting from the Mangahao-Makahika Track, walk approximately 7km down Gladstone Road to Poads Road on left, crossing old concrete bridge and walking uphill to the car park and information boards. Note - the DOC information board here describes the former TAT route via Waiopehu Hut. The official route now bypasses Waiopehu and goes up Gable End Ridge.
 

From Levin, take transport for 7km to car park at end of Poads Road.

Poads Road to Te Matawai Hut via Gable End Ridge - 13.8km / 7-8hr

September 2018 - A new route to Te Matawai Hut bypassing Waiopehu Hut uses Gable End Ridge. This is a tough section, expect lots of mud, allow plenty of time, take plenty of water and be aware of the weather.

The track starts at a DOC noticeboard which describes the no longer used Te Araroa route. The track initially crosses private farmland; follow the blue posts and farm track. Cross the stile at the fence-line on the Park boundary and enter the bush. About 75m along this track pass the former TAT route branching uphill to Waiopehu and continue along the well-defined benched track. The first of three minor creeks is bridged. Pass the Six Discs track (which also goes to Waiopehu), then cross Blackwater Stream on a suspension bridge. Shortly after, bear right on a small grassy patch above the main South Ohau River. The track up Gable End Ridge is on the right, a short distance from the grassy patch, about 1½ hrs from Poads Road.

From here no water is available until Te Matawai Hut – the water tanks are small so in the busy summer period and in hot weather ensure you carry plenty of water.

The track heads steeply up a bushed spur, which eases off slightly after 20 minutes or so. It climbs steadily over Mayo Point (666m) and exits the bush edge just before Gable End (903m) after about 2½-3 hours. You are now in open scrub with good views on a clear day. It is another hour of ups and downs to Richard’s Knob (985m) where the track meets Dora Ridge. Turn left (southeast) and follow the Dora Ridge Track down to Butchers Saddle (690m). Climb to the Yeates Track junction (810m), at the signpost bear right and ascend the ridge for about 30 minutes to a helipad and Te Matawai Hut (900m, 18 bunks).
 
 
Te Matawai to Dracophyllum Hut - 8km / 4-5hr

This route to Dracophyllum Hut (1100m, 2 bunks) climbs Pukematawai (1432m), along the main range, over Butchers Knob (1158m) then through bush to Dracophyllum Hut. 700m ascent, 500m descent.

Follow Northern Crossing Track up the ridge to shoulder of Pukematawai (sign where Main Range Track starts). Much of track is above  the bushline and can be covered in snow in winter (June -September)

Descend on the Main Range Track over various bumps to the bushline beyond Butchers Knob. Dracophyllum Hut is another hour away through beech forest. (Small hut with 2 bunks & water tank).


Dracophyllum Hut to Nichols Hut - 5km / 4hr

The route to Nichols Hut (1160m, 6 bunks) Track climbs Puketoro (1152m)  Shoulder of Kelleher (1142m) and Nichols (1242m) (all unmarked) along Main Ridge to Nichols Hut. 

The track is mainly through bush, climbing into open at Puketoro and Kelleher (un-marked). At Kelleher Shoulder a cairn marks where the track descends  down a steep tussock ridge, zig zagging down to bush. From here it follows an undulating ridge, finally climbing to top of Nichols(unmarked) from where the track descends through tussock to the hut, east of the saddle.


Nichols Hut to Waitewaewae Hut  - 8km / 4-5hr

Route to Waitewaewae Hut (310m 16 bunks) via Mt Crawford 1462m. 380m ascent, 1240m descent.

Note: in strong winds and rain it may be necessary to stop at Nichols Hut until weather clears

Follow the ridge up the summit of Mt Crawford for great views of the Tararua Range, Kapiti Island, the coast and possibly Mt Taranaki. Descend to Junction Knob, turn right to Shoulder Knob, where the track re-enters the bush, and descends steeply to the Otaki River (bridged) and then Waitewaewae Hut. 

Waitewaewae Hut to Parawai Hut - 10km / 4-6hr
Route to Parawai Lodge (100m altitude, 18 bunks) and Otaki Forks car park. Ascend to the Plateau (530m) then descend Saddle Creek (200m), and cross Otaki River swing bridge to carpark. 250m ascent, 460m descent.

Follow the marked track down the terrace the hut is on. The wet weather track then climbs and crosses a number of gullies and streams before the climb to the Plateau. These streams can be difficult and dangerous to cross in heavy rain. Be prepared to let levels fall during wet weather.

(Dry weather route - follow the track to Otaki Forks for a 100 or so metres along the terrace then drop down the bank on the unmarked route and cross the Otaki River.  Below here the river bends around to flow east. Cross back to the west bank on the bend and head to the orange marker by a side stream just below the long slip in the west bank. Follow the markers and track up this stream (Arapito Stream) to join the main wet weather track where it crosses Arapito Stream. This point is signposted.)

After crossing Arapito Stream the track climbs up the valley crossing a number of gullies before reaching the Plateau. The track crosses Plateau Stream three times in a short distance before a short 20 to 30 metre climb to the saddle. From here the new track heads south along the ridge climbing gently. There are a couple of flat boggy sections on the ridge. From the ridge, the new track crosses a steep slope before dropping down to the old tram track. A well graded track leads from here to a swing bridge over the Otaki River. It then climbs over a terrace on the south side of the river before dropping to Parawai Lodge. The carpark and road are across another swing bridge beside the Waiotauru River.

There is a DOC warden located across the swingbridge near the overnight carpark.

If continuing on to the next section (Pukeatua) turn left at the road  and continue for 2km to end of road: camping area, and start of Fenceline and Pukeatua Tracks. Otaki Township is 10km away down Otaki Gorge Road. Transport recommended as road narrow and winding.

Potential Hazards
  • Poisons & traps
  • Farming operations Do not disturb stock
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Weather extremes - be aware of weather forecast and be prepared to wait bad weather out if necessary
Description
(North to South)

This section involves 3-6 days through forest and alpine terrain and includes many steep ascents and descents.It begins at 150m above sea level and reaches its highest point at Mount Crawford 1462m. 

WARNING: Weather in the Tararua Ranges is notorious for deteriorating rapidly. Be prepared for extreme conditions at all times. There can be gale-force winds and heavy rain.Snow can fall in any season.  Be prepared to wait out storms or for streams to subside after heavy rain. Do not cross swollen streams. Be sure to fill in intentions book at start of track.

The trail is divided into three stages of 1-2 days each, depending on fitness and weather conditions.

1) Poads Road (Levin) to Te Matawai Hut (900m), via Gable End Ridge
2) Te Matawai Hut to Nichols Hut (1160m) via Dracophyllum Hut
3) Nichols Hut to Parawai Hut (Otaki Forks, Road End,100m) via Waitewaewae Hut (310m)

Track Notes
If exiting from the Mangahao-Makahika Track, walk approximately 7km down Gladstone Road to Poads Road on left, crossing old concrete bridge and walking uphill to the car park and information boards. Note - the DOC information board here describes the former TAT route via Waiopehu Hut. The official route now bypasses Waiopehu and goes up Gable End Ridge.
 

From Levin, take transport for 7km to car park at end of Poads Road.

Poads Road to Te Matawai Hut via Gable End Ridge - 13.8km / 7-8hr

September 2018 - A new route to Te Matawai Hut bypassing Waiopehu Hut uses Gable End Ridge. This is a tough section, expect lots of mud, allow plenty of time, take plenty of water and be aware of the weather.

The track starts at a DOC noticeboard which describes the no longer used Te Araroa route. The track initially crosses private farmland; follow the blue posts and farm track. Cross the stile at the fence-line on the Park boundary and enter the bush. About 75m along this track pass the former TAT route branching uphill to Waiopehu and continue along the well-defined benched track. The first of three minor creeks is bridged. Pass the Six Discs track (which also goes to Waiopehu), then cross Blackwater Stream on a suspension bridge. Shortly after, bear right on a small grassy patch above the main South Ohau River. The track up Gable End Ridge is on the right, a short distance from the grassy patch, about 1½ hrs from Poads Road.

From here no water is available until Te Matawai Hut – the water tanks are small so in the busy summer period and in hot weather ensure you carry plenty of water.

The track heads steeply up a bushed spur, which eases off slightly after 20 minutes or so. It climbs steadily over Mayo Point (666m) and exits the bush edge just before Gable End (903m) after about 2½-3 hours. You are now in open scrub with good views on a clear day. It is another hour of ups and downs to Richard’s Knob (985m) where the track meets Dora Ridge. Turn left (southeast) and follow the Dora Ridge Track down to Butchers Saddle (690m). Climb to the Yeates Track junction (810m), at the signpost bear right and ascend the ridge for about 30 minutes to a helipad and Te Matawai Hut (900m, 18 bunks).
 
 
Te Matawai to Dracophyllum Hut - 8km / 4-5hr

This route to Dracophyllum Hut (1100m, 2 bunks) climbs Pukematawai (1432m), along the main range, over Butchers Knob (1158m) then through bush to Dracophyllum Hut. 700m ascent, 500m descent.

Follow Northern Crossing Track up the ridge to shoulder of Pukematawai (sign where Main Range Track starts). Much of track is above  the bushline and can be covered in snow in winter (June -September)

Descend on the Main Range Track over various bumps to the bushline beyond Butchers Knob. Dracophyllum Hut is another hour away through beech forest. (Small hut with 2 bunks & water tank).


Dracophyllum Hut to Nichols Hut - 5km / 4hr

The route to Nichols Hut (1160m, 6 bunks) Track climbs Puketoro (1152m)  Shoulder of Kelleher (1142m) and Nichols (1242m) (all unmarked) along Main Ridge to Nichols Hut. 

The track is mainly through bush, climbing into open at Puketoro and Kelleher (un-marked). At Kelleher Shoulder a cairn marks where the track descends  down a steep tussock ridge, zig zagging down to bush. From here it follows an undulating ridge, finally climbing to top of Nichols(unmarked) from where the track descends through tussock to the hut, east of the saddle.


Nichols Hut to Waitewaewae Hut  - 8km / 4-5hr

Route to Waitewaewae Hut (310m 16 bunks) via Mt Crawford 1462m. 380m ascent, 1240m descent.

Note: in strong winds and rain it may be necessary to stop at Nichols Hut until weather clears

Follow the ridge up the summit of Mt Crawford for great views of the Tararua Range, Kapiti Island, the coast and possibly Mt Taranaki. Descend to Junction Knob, turn right to Shoulder Knob, where the track re-enters the bush, and descends steeply to the Otaki River (bridged) and then Waitewaewae Hut. 

Waitewaewae Hut to Parawai Hut - 10km / 4-6hr
Route to Parawai Lodge (100m altitude, 18 bunks) and Otaki Forks car park. Ascend to the Plateau (530m) then descend Saddle Creek (200m), and cross Otaki River swing bridge to carpark. 250m ascent, 460m descent.

Follow the marked track down the terrace the hut is on. The wet weather track then climbs and crosses a number of gullies and streams before the climb to the Plateau. These streams can be difficult and dangerous to cross in heavy rain. Be prepared to let levels fall during wet weather.

(Dry weather route - follow the track to Otaki Forks for a 100 or so metres along the terrace then drop down the bank on the unmarked route and cross the Otaki River.  Below here the river bends around to flow east. Cross back to the west bank on the bend and head to the orange marker by a side stream just below the long slip in the west bank. Follow the markers and track up this stream (Arapito Stream) to join the main wet weather track where it crosses Arapito Stream. This point is signposted.)

After crossing Arapito Stream the track climbs up the valley crossing a number of gullies before reaching the Plateau. The track crosses Plateau Stream three times in a short distance before a short 20 to 30 metre climb to the saddle. From here the new track heads south along the ridge climbing gently. There are a couple of flat boggy sections on the ridge. From the ridge, the new track crosses a steep slope before dropping down to the old tram track. A well graded track leads from here to a swing bridge over the Otaki River. It then climbs over a terrace on the south side of the river before dropping to Parawai Lodge. The carpark and road are across another swing bridge beside the Waiotauru River.

There is a DOC warden located across the swingbridge near the overnight carpark.

If continuing on to the next section (Pukeatua) turn left at the road  and continue for 2km to end of road: camping area, and start of Fenceline and Pukeatua Tracks. Otaki Township is 10km away down Otaki Gorge Road. Transport recommended as road narrow and winding.

Note: Map is indicative only
Extra Info

Weather in the Tararua Ranges is notorious for deteriorating rapidly. Be prepared for extreme conditions at all times.

Be prepared to wait out storms. Snow can fall in any season.  Be sure to fill in intentions book at start of track 

Views in the Tararua Ranges in clear weather are outstanding. 

River swimming at Waitewaewae Hut.
 

Levin

Getting to/from the start
From the north Te Araroa enters the Wellington region at Poads Road, 7km from Levin (Taitoko). Levin has a full range of service and amenities available and is a good point for resupply.

General / visitor information
Levin i-SITE Visitor Information Centre - SH1 next to the adventure playground P: 06 367 8440. 
 
Getting there/away
Levin is on State Highway 1, and on the North Island Main Trunk Line with a station used by the Capital Connection long-distance commuter train between Wellington and Palmerston North - P: 0800 801 700
InterCity - P: 04 385 0520
Naked Bus - P: 0900 62533 (calls cost)
Rental Cars - multiple options available
 
Accommodation
Makahika Outdoor Pursuits Centre, is situated approx 1.7 km from the farm exit of the Mangahao-Makahika Section of the Te Araroa Trail. It is a residential leadership camp, booked most Mondays-Fridays, however, all ‘trail-walkers’ are welcome – anytime! We will readily find a bed for you, and worst case scenario we have acres of beautiful grasslands for your tents. You are welcome to have a night of luxury and book the cottage on AirBnB (Makahika Cottage-Levin), or (if available) access one of the 46 bunks in our Lodge.
Available: Hot showers, cold beer, dinner with your hosts, washing and drying facilities, re-stock (you can pre-order by emailing orders to Makahika@xtra.co.nz, you can pay electronically), PLBs on loan and trail knowledge (for the Te Matawai to Otaki Forks sub-alpine section). There is no charge for dinner with your hosts, tenting or a bunkroom, though you are welcome to gift a small koha to be used to support our Youth Justice Programmes. John and Sally Duxfield 06 367 8438 or email jsdux@ihug.co.nz OR Makahika@xtra.co.nz 

Beni Paroli (AT hiker) P: 06 368 4570, 027 9304151 E: pepperonis@xtra.co.nz for pickup, shower, meal and bed - Levin;
Levin Holiday Park (camping, cabins & motel units) - 38 Parker Ave, Levin - P: 06 368 3549 - E: lhp@xtra.co.nz 
Totara Lodge Motel - Cnr Devon & Bristol St - P: 06 368 4114 - E: reservations@totaralodgemotel.co.nz 
Panorama Motel - 170 The Avenue  SH 1, Levin - P: 06 368 5401 or 0800 660 220 - E: admin@panoramamotel.co.nz 
Bentons Motel - 2 York Street (Crnr of York - P: 06 367 8282 - E: bentonsmotel@xtra.co.nz 
Serendipity B&B - 86 Macarthur St, Levin - P: 06 368 6766 - E: relax@serendipitynz.co.nz
 
Resupply 
New World Supermarket - 21 Bath St, Levin - P: 06 368 6538 
Countdown Supermarket  - 15 Bristol St, Levin - P: 06 366 0050 
 

Otaki

General / visitor information
Otaki I-SITE Visitor Information Centre - 239 Centennial Park, SH 1, Otaki - P: 06 364 7620 - E: otaki@i-SITE.org
Open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm / Sat 10am-3pm/ Sun 10am- 2pm
 
Maps NZTopo 50 series Levin (BN33), Shannon (BN34 briefly), Featherston(BP33)
Views in the Tararua Ranges in clear weather are outstanding.
River swimming at Waitewaewae Hut.
 
Otaki Accommodation
Bridge Lodge Otaki - 3 Otaki Gorge Road, Te Horo - P: 06 364 6667
Standard DOC camping ground 2km up road at School house Flat (near start of Pukeatua Track), $6.00 
Self-catering cottage on Gorge Rd, Te Horo - P: 06 364 3220.
2 Campgrounds at Otaki Beach, - approx 6 km west of SH 1
Otaki Manaaki B & B - 102 Rahui Rd, Otaki - P: 0274 783 220
Otaki Motel - 260 Main Highway, Otaki - P: 06 364 8469 or 0800 662 243 - E: info@otakimotel.co.nz 
Railway Hotel - 6 Arthur St, Otaki - P: 06 364 7165

Resupply 
New World Supermarket - 155-163 Main HIghway, Otaki North - P: 06 364 8640 
Countdown Supermarket - Cnr Mill Rd & Aotaki St, Otaki - P: 06 364 9001

Transport 
Otaki Forks Transport Options: Bookings Essential
If exiting at Otaki Forks the Gorge Road is narrow and winding - not safe for walkers.
Beni Paroli (AT hiker) 06 364 6261 pepperonis@xtra.co.nz for pickup, hot shower, meal and accommodation Otaki Beach.
Pickup/dropoff from Otaki Forks - P: 06 3643220 or 0274 426968 - E: pipsteele@xtra.co.nz
Local Taxi Service - Wally (retired) Phone 06 362 6319
Paraparaumu Taxi Service - Tues,Thurs, Fridays 10am-3pm P: 0800 508 294
 
Accommodation
For the closest self-catering rural cottage accommodation, and pickup/dropoff from Otaki Forks, P: 06 3643220 or 0274 426968 - E: pipsteele@xtra.co.nz
Bridge Lodge Backpackers - 3 Otaki Forks Rd, Otaki - P: 06 364 6667 - Accommodation. Camping Ground, Tent & Backpackers
Beni Paroli (AT hiker) 06 364 6261 pepperonis@xtra.co.nz for pickup, hot shower, meal and accommodation Otaki Beach.
 
Note 
Track distances in the descriptions following are closest estimates. Times stated depend on fitness, weather conditions and how often you stop to take photos, snack or rest.
 
 

 

Requirements
  • Keep to the track marked by blue poles
  • Respect private land keep driveway clear at all times
  • Leave gates as you find them
  • Dogs on leash only
  • No vehicles
  • No bikes
Environment
  • Take all rubbish with you
  • Use toilets provided
  • Bury toilet waste well away from water
  • Conservation Area - No domestic animals allowed (i.e. includes dogs, cats or birds)
Amenities
(Start)
  • Full range of amenities in Levin
  • Car park Orientation signage, Intentions Book
  • Toilets At Poads Road starting point.
  • Shop in Levin
Amenities
(On Route)
  • Toilets At each hut except Dracophyllum
  • Accommodation Tramping Huts - hut fees required
Amenities
(End)
  • Carpark Overnight behind Caretaker's house
  • Picnic area Track links from overnight carpark to Boielles Picnic Area
  • Toilets 3 Flush toilets at Picnic area & 1 at secure carpark
  • Shop Otaki nearest town
  • Phone and assistance at Caretaker's house
  • Standard Campsite Camping ground 2km up road to School house Flat
  • Accommodation 20 bunk Tramping Hut (Parawai) up river before bridge. Hut fees apply - 1 ticket per night.
  • Self-catering rural cottage on Gorge Rd, ph owner 06 364 3220 or 0274 426968 or email pipsteele@xtra.co.nz
  • Total Fire Ban all year
Closest Town(s)
Levin north; Otaki south
Managed by
Department of Conservation (DoC)
Contact
T