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Creeping along Carkeek

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April 2021 Issue

Carkeek Ridge, Tararua Forest Park

There’s a remoteness along Carkeek Ridge that is seldom felt on North Island tramping trips.

The ridge separates the headwaters of the Park and Waiohine rivers and it can be reached from either the Tararua Northern Crossing route or the unmaintained track from Park Forks. However you get there, you are rewarded with stunning views encompassing nearly all the major Tararua peaks.

Carkeek Ridge is made up of three prominent peaks: Lancaster (1504m), Thompson (1448m) and Carkeek (1435m). Travel along the ridge is relatively straightforward in good weather but requires navigation skills in poor visibility.

Descending the ridge, the bright orange Carkeek Hut can be seen tucked into the bush line. This hut has been lovingly restored by a group of ex-deer cullers and is surrounded by amazing goblin forest. It’s a wonderful place to stay.

From Carkeek Hut, parties with suitable off-track skills can complete a crossing of the range or simply retrace steps back along Carkeek Ridge to the main Tararua Range.

– Jonathan Astin

Total Ascent
Moderate / Difficult
Two days. Road end to Te Matawai Hut, 6hr; To Carkeek Hut, 6-8hr
Te Matawai Hut ($5, 18 bunks), Carkeek Hut ($5, six bunks)
Poads Road end
BN33, BN34

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