Home / Trips / Hawkes Bay

Iron Gate Hut, Ruahine Forest Park

The seven bunk Iron Gate Hut. Photo: Nina Mercer
Ruahine Forest Park
4-5hr to the hut
n Iron Gate Hut, seven bunks
From Petersons Road, off Table Flat Road
GPX File
Iron Gate Hut (gpx, yo 30 KB)
Your device does not support GPX files. Please try a different device.

Iron Gate Hut, on the western side of Ruahine Forest Park, is a wee gem set beside the Oroua River. With the road end only an hour,s drive from Palmerston North, then an easy five-hour tramp to the hut, it’s a great overnight trip.

Start through the wrought iron gates at the car park, head down the hill and enter the bush. The initial forest is a lovely stand of beech and the track heads down to a bridge that crosses a deep gorge. Within 40-minutes of leaving the car you reach the smart Alice Nash Memorial Heritage Lodge, the local NZDA hut.

From here the track is pleasantly undulating and easy to follow, a mixture of clear patches and forest. Soon you reach Cumberfield Creek which can be almost impassable after heavy rainfall. After the creek is the first big uphill grunt; a climb, scramble and clamber up a root-strewn slope using trees, branches and vines to assist. The track continues at this higher level for a while with pleasant river views before a descent to the riverbed.

If the river levels are low, you can walk up the riverbed to avoid the next steep climb; there are some good swimming holes, though expect some crossings to reach mid-thigh. Rejoin the track at Tunipo Stream for another climb, after which the track eases, becoming a combination of small ups and downs, and, as you get closer to the hut, long flat stretches of goblin-like forest beside the river.

Support Wilderness

Since 1991, Wilderness has had one simple goal: to help Kiwis ‘See more, do more, live more’ of New Zealand.

If you value our mission, please consider subscribing. As a loyal supporter, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • New Zealand’s best outdoor journalism We’ve won multiple awards for our journalism and magazine production.
  • NZ’s best trips. Browse more than 610 trips with downloadable maps and route notes.
  • Trustworthy gear reviews. Each month we review gear we’ve been bashing and thrashing for months so you can determine if its worth your money.
  • Member benefits. Our WildCard provides discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.
  • Your support goes a long way. Your subscription will help us fund NZ’s best outdoor journalists and writers and ensure Wilderness will be there to inspire the next generation of outdoor Kiwis.

A subscription costs as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.