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Mid King Bivouac, Tararua Forest Park

Arriving at Mid King Biv. Photo: Lauren Schaer
Tararua Forest Park
3 days
Jumbo Hut, 20 bunks; Mid King Bivvy, two bunks
Holdsworth car park via Norfolk Rd, Masterton
BP34, BP33
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Mid King Bivouac (gpx, yo 33 KB)
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The well-trodden track from Holdsworth car park begins easily, with the final push up to Jumbo Hut, via the Raingauge Spur Track, cranking the calf muscles.

From near the hut you can view the next day’s route via McGregor, 1540m, the Broken Axe Pinnacles and The Three Kings, as well as the wide vista of the Wairarapa below.

Head off the next morning and, if the ,Ruas are in a good mood, you can clamber happily over the dry, jagged humps of the Broken Axe Pinnacles with 360-degree views. Only the last pinnacle is slightly exposed and requires a little nerve. There are options to sidle should you prefer.

After South King tarn you reach the signposted turn-off to Mid King Bivvy, the thin ground trail leads down a classic Tararua slope with scratchy leatherwood, spiky speargrass and slippery tussock.

You’ll spot the bright orange biv through the trees. It,s simplest to continue to the bushline then follow markers.

The cosy two-man shelter looks like it has come straight from a fairy tale, with nearby babbling stream, thick ground ferns and moss-draped, gnarly stunted beech.

The hut book dates back to 1999. Curiously, the ‘Fire Exit’ sign above the door emits a glow-in-the-dark aura so bright you could just about read by it.

The terrain changes on the descent along the spur towards South Mitre Stream, scraping along a tight trail among stunted beech and scrub, then through open forest and past impressive old trees. Occasional cairns and pink tape can be found lower down, useful for uphill travellers.

Crossing Baldy Creek, follow South Mitre Stream on the true right. The Mitre Flats footbridge soon appears like a vision, and the DOC track is welcome after hours brushing through vegetation on the damp, rooty spur. Still, a long walk remains: the Barton Track requires two uphill grunts.

Around the elevated junction with Baldy Track, the forest becomes quite beautiful. Descend to Atiwhakatu Stream and pass the spacious Atiwhakatu Hut, then head along the compacted track to the car.