Of the various huts dotted along the old logging and mining trails in Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park, Mangamuka Hut is perhaps one of the less frequented. Located a nudge off the North-South Track, it makes for a worthwhile weekend in the bush.
With many possible access routes, the trip to Mangamuka Hut can be made from either side of the Kaimai Range.
The Ngamuwahine Track, on the eastern side, begins just after the parking area and toilet at Ngamuwahine Lodge. After a gentle climb through mixed native bush and pine, a junction marking the Ngamuwahine Loop Track is reached. Although either way can be taken, right is the most direct. Promptly after, the track crosses Mangaputa Stream, easily negotiated in summer but prone to swelling after sustained rain. It’s then a steep climb to continue right at the second junction with Ngamuwahine Loop and an intersect with the Leyland O’Brien Tramline. It’s about 1.5hr to here.
Turning left, the next hour is easy, following the historic tramline towards the North-South Track. Rusting relics of the logging era are passed and an impressive section of track cuts directly through a large hill.
It’s right again at the North-South Track junction along the flat tramline for a while before the track undulates and roughens, soon following the headwaters of the Ngamuwahine Stream. Roughly an hour from the last intersection, a sign marks the turn-off to Mangamuka Hut, 75-minutes away.
Turn left here and climb steeply from the North-South Track. The route is well marked, but the track is sometimes overgrown and not easily seen. This is especially so in what is referred to as the ‘Rimu swamp’, a tight boggy section in the last kilometre to the hut where attention must be paid to markers.
Mangamuka Hut has four bunks and an open fireplace. There are tent sites in the clearing behind the hut. There is no water at the hut, but there are containers that can be filled from a water source north of the hut.
Return the same way next day, or continue north towards Te Tuhi and Ngamarama tracks for a different exit. Be aware of old permolat marked routes, one of which strays away from the new route on the descent back down to the North-South Track junction.
- 12.4km to hut
- Moderate / Difficult
- 4-5hr to hut
- Mangamuka Hut (free, four bunks)
- From Ngamuwahine Road end, off SH29