Whirinaki Forest Park - Mangamate Hut & Kakanui Stream

This was a tramp that took a lot of energy, fairly high levels of personal skill and waterproof skin.

The tramp started and ended at the River Road car park Minginui and sets off walking southwards on the Whirinaki Track where, if you like forest, the magic begins. Some of the trees are just so huge and majestic! Anyway after 90 minutes of very easy walking we slipped off left following the sign for Mangamate Hut – from here on there was hardly any track, more like a route in fact, and most of this was wading upstream in knee deep water which was anything but warm and was fast flowing.

Whirinaki Forest

After three hours of this, which included one of us trying a bit of swimming instead of walking – leaves you cold and wet – the site of the original Mangamate Hut was reached. From here it was only another hour to the new site. This last part was largely on “motorway” type manicured track and great after all the water-work.

Hearts sank when we found a large school party ensconced but they were mainly in tents with the teachers in the hut. A bit of rearranging and topping-and-tailing in the bunks plus sleeping mats on the floor saw everyone settled for the night. No disturbances from the kids – we oldies were impressed.

Day two saw us head further south on good track till the Kakanui Stream was reached, then the really exciting stuff started. The plan was now to follow the Kakanui Stream – no track and no marked route at all – north westwards to meet the Whirinaki Track. The 3km or so distance took a full three and a half hours so progress was slow and just as wet as the day before, but no one went for a swim and there were some great sights to be seen of river and forest scenery.

Once back on the Whirinaki Track, which is generally first rate and easy walking, progress was fast and the distance up through Verns Camp back to river road soon vanished with the whole day taking just on 8 hours. There was only one bit of excitement and that was when quite a tricky landslip area had to be traversed but all made it without any problems.

Once back in the car park we heard from the Department of Conservation that the school party had come out from the Mangamate Hut the way we went in on day one and in a time that we oldies considered would have been impossible – again we were impressed.

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