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Cascade Hut, Kaimanawa Forest Park

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December 2020 Issue

Something for everyone

The trip to Cascade Hut takes you deep into the beautiful and unspoilt Kaimanawa Forest Park.

It begins by following the scenic Hinemaiaia Track, crosses a swingbridge and then follows the Hinemaiaia Stream, passing several idyllic and tempting swimming and picnic spots.

After about an hour, the track crosses a tributary to the main river and begins a 460m climb to Pt1240 – the highest point of the track. It pays to keep a close eye on the track markers, because in a couple of places it is quite easy to lose the trail.

The track climbs to a spur with glimpses of distant ridges and mountains. The beech forest and accompanying vibrant green undergrowth is a pleasure to walk through, and, at the right time of year, many different types of fungi can be spotted.

From the spur, the track then turns sharply to the right and begins a gradual and then steep descent to the Tauranga Taupo River. From here, the trail follows the river for about 30 minutes until the hut is reached. A few minutes before the hut, there is one final tributary to be crossed.

The hut has an efficient wood burner and a deck on which we had dinner, and is a cosy and welcoming sight, perched high above the river.

In front of the hut are multiple campsites under the trees.

Upstream of Cascade Hut is a spectacular gorge, known as The Cascades.

Here, the river has eroded a narrow channel through ancient lava flows of andesite and ignimbrite rock to form interesting rock shapes. Thundering water, plus beautiful rock pools suitable for swimming, make this an interesting side trip. Whio are known to live here. This track is not marked but can be reached by heading upstream a few hundred metres.

– Jacqui Dick

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Total Ascent
Cascade Hut ($5, six bunks)
From Clements Mill Road, off Taharua Road and SH5

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