Tararuas - Smith Creek to Puffer Saddle
Hi I’m seeking some updated advice for a day walk with family in the weekend. It’s some time since I’ve done the loop from Kaitoke to the old Dobsons hut site, down to Smith Creek shelter and out via Puffer Saddle. From vague recollection it used to take about 4 hours, but there was a significant slip just past the shelter that extended the walk by another hour or so. Has anyone been in there recently and can advise if this is still the situation? Cheers
the DOC page notes the slip is still there https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/wellington-kapiti/places/tararua-forest-park/things-to-do/tracks/smith-creek-tauherenikau-river/
That slip has been noted for about 20 years. Known locally as blue slip. If you follow Docs alternate track 1.5 hours is about right. However the slip is normally easily traversed or if the Creeck is low/normal its a nice 20 minute ramble down there. Watch out for the exit point which is poorly marked but if you find a significant side stream on the true left this is a viable exit as well
I haven't been that way since October 2017, when the signposting of the alternate route didn't seem to be there and I accidentally reached the slip when the track abruptly ended in a way I thought I couldn't safely get across. I'm assuming this is Blue Slip? In any case I backtracked 50 metres and (good weather!) it was easy to drop into Smith Creek, wade underneath the slip for 2 minutes, and then climb back up to the track. Then, a few minutes later, I found the signpost at the far end (closer to the shelter) for people coming the other way, signposting the alternate route up-hill. I tried following it for a short while, to see where it was meant to come out, but at that time it appeared very eroded. Markers vanished and I felt uncomfortable for my safety. I'd be amazed if whatever was broken with the alternate route hasn't been addressed by now. Can someone who's been there more recently confirm?
That sign is as old as the slip and so rotten its unreadable. That is the blue slip. Only once could I not pick a way across. Someone will force a way across again and a track will be formed by the footsteps
Thanks for the feedback everyone. We ended up going to the old hut site and up towards Marchant ridge and returning the same way, rather than dropping down to Smith Creek. First outing in a long time and was lovely to be in the bush again, although having not used my old Meindls for a few years found that the soles had compressed and come off by the time we got back to the car park!
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