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A worthy destination

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March 2018 Issue

Aokaparangi Hut, Tararua Forest Park

When I first started tramping in the Tararua Ranges in the late 1980s, Aokaparangi Biv had a bad reputation. It was known to be damp, poorly located and hard to find. Worst of all, it was not even on the nearest track, which climbed from Mid Waiohine Hut to the summit of Aokaparangi (1354m) in the central part of the range.

That largely changed when DOC made the enlightened decision to build a new hut at a better site in 2008, with support from the Horowhenua Hunting Club. Although small, ‘hut’ is a much better description for the comfortable, fully-insulated shelter which has capacity for two, plus a boot room, water tank and deck. Situated near the bushline, high above the Waiohine Valley, about 250m below the summit of Aokaparangi, it’s  a remote location, usually requiring at least two days to reach. While still not on the main track between the summit and Mid Waiohine, it’s now more easily located on a clearly defined and marked side-route.

Whatever the weather conditions when you arrive, you’ll appreciate the hut; either as shelter from the Tararua elements or as a worthy destination to admire the extensive folds and features of this rugged range.

The route from Otaki Forks:

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The route from Mt Holdsworth Road end:

Distance
23.3km from Otaki Forks; 15.9km from Mt Holdsworth Road
Grade
Moderate / Difficult
Time
From Anderson Memorial Hut, 2-3hr; From Mid Waiohine Hut, 3.5-5hr
Accom.
Aokaparangi Hut (free, two bunks)
Access
Either from Otaki Forks (via Waitewaewae and Anderson Memorial Huts), or Mt Holdsworth Road end (via Powell and Mid Waiohine huts)
Map
BP33