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Biggs Tops camping, Kahurangi National Park

Image of the November 2018 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more articles from the
November 2018 Issue

Between two rivers

Celestial. Sublime. Godlike. Dramatic terms yes, but no exaggeration when describing the sun’s evening rays pouring out from behind the Scarlett Range. This alone was rewarding enough for the toil...

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Looking across the small tarn to the tarn-side campsite with Mt Kendall to the left

Back at Wangapeka Saddle, we climbed a spur to the north, through more beech and an impressive grove of grass trees (Dracophyllum). Above the tree line, the poled route traversed beneath Pt1457 and Pt1414 until it reached a small saddle at 1300m. The best camping spot is beside a small tarn to the east of the saddle.

To the north, the route soon begins its relentless descent back down to Karamea River.

The tarn, sitting in open rolling tussock land, offers a few suitable tent sites. But don’t get so transfixed by the views that you forget about your gear – kea and weka also like this lovely spot.

That evening, we enjoyed calm weather, finishing dinner just as the sunset drama began to unfold. And next morning, as the dawn light just kept getting better and better, I struggled to find time to eat my breakfast.

On the northern side, some 800m below Biggs Tops, is Trevor Carter Hut beside Karamea River. That was our next destination, once we eventually put our cameras down long enough to pack and get moving. From the hut, you have the option of walking out to the West Coast via the Taipo River, or circling back along the Lost Valley Track via Helicopter Flat Hut to rejoin the Wangapeka Track.

Total Ascent
Car park to Stone Hut, 6-8hr; Hut to Biggs Tops, 2-4hr
Stone Hut ($5, 10 bunks)
Rolling River car park on Wangapeka River Road
BQ24, BQ23

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