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A welcome front country retreat

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November 2022 Issue

Herepai Hut, Tararua Forest Park. By Simon Foley

Here’s a perfect intro to the outdoors: Herepai Hut, a short but rewarding tramp either as a day trip or an overnighter. 

The well-worn track follows the Mangatainoka River, an attraction itself due to its clarity and the surrounding birdlife, which appears prolific. In summer it’s tempting to dive into the cool water.

All river crossings are bridged, so this is an all-weather, all-ages trip. There are excellent views along the river from the second bridge.

After 40 minutes the track heads up with tree roots providing foot- and hand-holds. The climb is steep and steady, gaining approximately 350m – but it’s nothing a seasoned Tararua tramper won’t have experienced before. 

At the top, the track splits. Left goes to the popular Roaring Stag Hut; turn right for Herepai Hut, which is reached by an easy stroll along the ridgeline. 

The hut has recently been renovated with funding from the Backcountry Trust. There’s a new deck and roofing, space for 10 people, and a wood burner. 

The hut is at approximately 800m so warm clothing is advised, especially in the cooler months.

If conditions allow, a 45min walk up past the hut to Herepai (1125m) will reward with views of Eketāhuna and the surrounding plains and peaks, and directly below is the hut and Ruapae Stream. 

4.5km to hut
Total Ascent
Herepai Hut ($5,10 bunks)
SH2 to Priest Road and then on to Putara Road

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