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September 2019 Issue
Home / Trips / Manawatu-Whanganui

Deerford Loop Track, Ruahine Forest Park

A worthwhile view from the steep Deerford Loop;
Total Ascent
From the end of Limestone Road, east of Apiti
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Deerford Loop Track (gpx, yo )
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Up and down in an afternoon

Deerford Loop Track starts with a flat walk over farmland before heading down into the bush. It seems easy to start, until looking up at the looming Ngamoko Range high above and the realisation that soon enough there’ll be climbing.

Soon after entering the bush, there’s the Makiekie (Coal) Creek lazily meandering down the hillside. Fortunately, on our trip, it was running low, so crossing was fairly easy.

After the creek, there’s a junction at which we took the right track. This is steeper, but enabled a good lunch spot to be reached beside the creek at the junction with the Knights Track, which we would encounter on the return leg of the loop. A few hundred metres after the original junction, the track steepens sharply and turns east as the climb of the Ngamoko Range begins. I briefly wondered if we had made the right decision, but there are plenty of stunning viewpoints on the way up which also provide a chance to rest and catch a breath.

At the top of the loop, Shorts Track carries on to the Ngamoko Range and the route into Leon Kinvig Hut. But our trail turns north and then west to complete the loop.

The sharp descent is unfriendly at times. Tree roots and logs lie across the dirt path, and the rocky descent makes for slow going.

It took us until lunchtime before we heard the trickling of the creek nearby, which signalled we had made it to the junction of Knights Track – which also climbs steeply to the Ngamoko Range. We crossed the creek to find our lunch spot in the shade on damp grass. A cup of tea here was just the ticket. There’s a hidden waterfall a short detour off the track.

For us though, it was off down the Deerford Loop Track, past the fork in the track, across the creek and up the farm slope to the car.

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