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Kaimanawa Forest Park Walks & Hikes
Kaimanawa Forest Park is filled with mostly untouched native New Zealand forest. Check out this list of hikes and walks from Clements Mill and Taharua Roads.
Road access: 27 km east of Taupo. Turn right off State Highway 5 (Napier-Taupo Road) into Taharua Road. After 9.5 km either turn right onto Clements Mill Road (21 km to the road end) or continue to the end of Taharua Road (10 km).
Clements Mill Road to Oamaru Hut via Te Iringa - 19 km
Time: 6 to 8 hours / 4 to 6 hours*
This shared hiking / mountain bike track in Kaimanawa Forest leaves from the car park 5 km along Clements Mill Road. It climbs to a clearing where the Te Iringa Hut used to be (1-2 hours), then skirts around Mt Te Iringa (1241 m), before dropping down to the Tikitiki Stream / Kaipo River junction, where the track forks at a swingbridge. Take the main track straight ahead and follow the true right of the Kaipo River down to Oamaru Hut (12 bunks), situated near the confluence of the Kaipo and Oamaru rivers.
* Mountain bike use of this track is under trial. Mountain bike access is a return trip only. Absolutely no access through Poronui Station or other tracks in the area.
Note: Te Iringa Hut has burnt down and will not be replaced. It may show on older maps.
Taharua roadend to Oamaru Hut - 12 km
Time: 4 hours
Park in the car park beside the helicopter hangar at the Taharua road end to begin this Kaimanawa Forest hike. Follow the poled route through Poronui Station. From near the Mohaka River a new track links from the end of the poled route to Oamaru Hut via a crossing of the Kaipo River. As a condition of access through Poronui Station absolutely no hunting or mountain bikes allowed. Hunters must remove rifle bolts. Fishing is allowed with marked side tracks to the Taharua River.
Oamaru Hut to Boyd Hut - 16 km
Time: 4 to 6 hours
From Oamaru Hut the track follows the true left bank of the Oamaru River before crossing the headwaters and following the Waitawhero Stream up to a saddle. At this point the track emerges at the forest edge of the upper Ngaruroro. Across the valley the Boyd airstrip can be seen. Boyd Hut is obscured by beech forest behind the airstrip.
Boyd Hut to Cascade Hut via Maungaorangi - 18 km
Time: 8 to 10 hours
This strenuous track from Boyd Hut follows the track over Waitawhero Saddle towards Oamaru Hut. Near the confluence of the Waitawhero and Oamaru streams the route turns left onto a long, steep ridge up Maungaorangi. On the tops the route is marked with poles. It then descends to Te Waiotupuritia Saddle and on down to Cascade Hut. A map and compass are essential. GPS are recommended.
Cascade Hut to Clements Mill Road end (Hinemaiaia Track) - 12 km
Time: 4 to 5 hours
This Kaimanawa Forest Park track follows the open river flats of the Tauranga-Taupo River downstream before climbing away from the river up a prominent beech-covered ridge. The track drops back down to the Clements Mill roadend following the Hinemaiaia Stream and its tributaries.
Upper Kaipo Valley Route (Kaipo Track) - 11.5 km
Time: 6 to 9 hours
A marked route runs from the swingbridge on the Te Iringa/ Oamaru Track to Cascade Hut. In the upper reaches of the Kaipo River there are numerous river crossings and log jams to negotiate, so be aware that this is a time-consuming section. The track then climbs to a ridge just south of Kaipo Saddle. Descend off the ridge to Cascade Stream and the track junction. The right-hand track heads downstream for another 30 minutes to Cascade Hut.