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June 2018 Issue
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Kapakapanui Hut, Tararua Forest Park

Kapakapanui Hut is an inviting six-bunker with a fire. Photo: Mike McGavin
Distance
10.8km
Total Ascent
1090m
Time
Road end to hut, via southern track, 3-4hr; Hut to road end, via northern track, 2-3hr
Grade
Easy
Accom.
Kapakapanui Hut ($5, six bunks)
Access
From Ngatiawa Road end, 10min drive from Waikanae, near Reikorangi
Map
BP32, BP33
GPX File
Kapakapanui Hut (gpx, 24 KB)
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A mid-week refresher

There is nothing worse than sitting at a desk in Wellington looking out over the sun-drenched Tararua Range and not being able to lace your boots until the weekend. 

Unable to hold off, friends and I decided to opt for a midweek outing to Kapakapanui Hut via an old possumer’s hut. 

We left early on a Tuesday and headed for Ngatiawa Road end. Kapakapanui Hut is on a lovely loop track, and we decided to take the slightly longer side of the loop that evening.   

The track ambles along farmland where lots of blackberries grow. Initially, there is a number of river crossings, followed by quite a steep ascent out of the river. About two-thirds of the way up, just off the track, is an unused possumer’s hut. The hut isn’t marked, but one of our party was able to point out its whereabouts. The interior has definitely seen some weather, as the roof is no longer completely waterproof and a blue tarp over the hut is not keeping rain at bay. It’s still a cute little hut, and locals are obviously doing work to keep it maintained. 

About two-and-a-half hours from the road, the bush opens up and the track enters scrubby leatherwood country. We had lost the light at this point, however, on a good day, this vantage point can yield beautiful views of the coast and Kapiti Island. We meandered along the tops for about half an hour, and due to a bit of claggy weather, had to cover up with raincoats. We passed a trig station that marks the highest point on the track – 1102m. The track then drops back into the bush and before long the hut is reached. We found the track a little muddy along this last section.

Kapakapanui Hut is an inviting six bunker, with a fire and standard facilities.  

We awoke to a beautiful sunrise and had a hurried breakfast. While we all had relatively lenient bosses, we were aiming to get one of our party back to Wellington for a 10am meeting. The descent from the hut, via the shorter route is straightforward. The track descends gradually, then more steeply near the Ngatiawa River. We followed the river, crossing it several times, before reaching the cars at 9am. We were slightly late for the 10am meeting, but much more prepared to face the rest of the week in the office. 

Midweek tramping has a lot to recommend it.  

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