Kaimai OLD North South track from Kauritatahi hut?
Is anyone familiar with this route? I went up to Kauritatahi hut the other night with my intention on doing the old NS track along the Te Hanga ridge towards puketutu hut and Wairere falls the next day. Now, I have been to Puketutu hut a few times and seen the orange markers where the track continues north, but I could not find where the old track starts from Kauritatahi hut and decided to call it quits and go home after half a day wasted following other tracks near the hut marked with green tape. If anyone has a GPX file of it, that would be useful. This is one part of the Kaimais I would love to explore. I have done the old NS track from the falls to Puketutu hut and it was well marked with some old road markers and fairly clear with the odd tree fall, but I didnt see anything like this around kauritatahi hut. I spent along time on a track by the sign that points to the hut but it did not lead anywhere and the tape on the trees stopped and my gps showed i was going to the south of the ridge and it just dropped off. There was also a track near the toilet with similar green tape that appeared to go nowhere.
Headed up to Puketutu Hut today to do this route in reverse and see what I could come up with for you. Unfortunately weather was not playing ball so did not go much further than the hut. The route directly behind Puketutu Hut heading toward was reasonably easy to follow and marked with red permalot and one lot of pink tape. No idea how far that continues. From reading the hut book it seems most people are taking 4 to 6 hours between the huts. Dunno, the bush I was in didn't look that bad... (famous last words!).
Yeah I wish I did the route that way too. The idea was that I would start up with the climb on the first day and then the rest of the trip would be mostly downhill or flat. I know that the old track is still well marked from wairere falls up to and past puketutu going by the orange/red permolat markers as you say. 4 to 6 hours seems about right from what ive heard, I think the GPS said its only around 4-5km between both the huts. I wanted to do it at this time of year while its nice and dry as it reportedly gets very muddy up there. I intend to put more marking tape on the trail when I do it if I dont see any markers. I certainly didnt see any near the Kauritatahi hut, but perhaps I was looking in the wrong spot.
My GPS had it as about 4.2km as the crow flies between huts.
I've been to both Kauritatahi and Puketutu huts and have wandered a bit from both ends of Te Hanga but never connected the huts. I think the main problem with maintaining the old N-S track is that Te Hanga is one massive bog of never ending waist high mud pits. Roger Montgomerie of the Kaimai Ramblers(http://www.kaimairamblers.net/contacts.html) is an expert on the Kaimais and he may be able to provide insight to that route. The Kaimai Ridgeway (http://www.kaimairidgeway.nz) project had visions of re-establishing the N-S over Te Hanga, but I'm not sure that plan will come to fruition. I reckon it would take a hell of a lot of boardwalk to make the tramp possible for the general public. Roger is also the chairman of this body.
Yes I know Roger Montgomerie. I did speak to him a few months ago, might ask him what their plans are. Im suprised how it could be so boggy on top of a ridge, but im assuming during the summer months when its dry there shouldnt be any mud at all. I remember alot of bog around Kauritatahi and some board walks, but didnt see any of the baords when I returned last weekend. It was nice and dry and my boots were dusty when I finished the tramp! Either way, im keen to give it another go in a week or two if the rain holds off.
Sounds great! Please give us a trip report afterwards if you can. I think Kaimai Ridgeway was also contemplating re-establishing the N-S over Pahiko and the flattish ridge to the south to hook up with Cashmore Clearing Track. Flat ridges in mountain ranges often hold water through the dry months. I think Te Hanga has little to no drainage hence it may still hold a bit of mud even with the latest dry conditions. Good luck and I'm cheering for you: I've always wanted to walk the old N-S and it'll be great to hear about your trip.
Will do, Not sure when I will make it back there but will keep you updated. I do intend to mark the track for the next people and ask that everybody takes a roll of flagging tape with them to keep it marked. If anyone reading has a GPS track, let me know :)
Three of us did a Te Hanga rece on 13 February 2021, south to north in fine weather. For the section Puketutu hut to trig A39H, the ridge line was followed, with a sprinkling of tape and orange permolats to show some of the way. This section was very scrubby, with lots of bush lawyer, the saddle just south of the trig was particularly bad. The next section, the trig to Kauritatahi hut, was easier going with just with a bit of cutty grass to deal with. This section was surprisingly well marked with orange permolats, such that if the permolats stop, you are likely off the old track. We found it worthwhile sticking to the old track, spending a little time hunting out markers if necessary, much easier with three people. We saw no mud or bog, or any historical signs of it. The time taken from hut to hut, 5h15. Be aware, the water tank at Kauritatahi hut was empty. A GPX file is included here: https://tramper.nz/17181
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