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Roaring Stag Hut, Tararua Forest Park

Roaring Stag Lodge. Photo: Nina Mercer
Tararua Forest Park
Total Ascent
Roaring Stag Hut, ($5, 12 bunks)
Putara Roadend, access from Eketahuna
GPX File
Roaring Stag Hut.Tararua FP (gpx, yo 26 KB)
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A few minutes down the track, cross a swingbridge and follow the Mangatainoka River for about an hour. It’s an easy walk with several short tracks along the way down to the river.

Crossing a second swingbridge over a small creek, the track moves away from the river and starts to climb. An initial gentle gradient up the spur quickly becomes steeper with short banks, huge tree roots and other obstacles to clamber up.

The track can be slippery and muddy in places, but a steady pace with regular breaks will take you to the top of the spur in just over an hour. The forest on the ridge is more open and spindly with very little undergrowth.

At the top of the spur, the track reaches an intersection: to the right is the track to Herepai Hut, a standard 10 bunk hut (2hr from the roadend) and to the left the track continued to the 12-bunk Roaring Stag Hut.

The descent is much more gradual and pleasant.

From the bottom of the slope, it’s about a kilometre or so to the hut. The track is fairly flat most of the way, dropping to cross a couple of creeks with a final short and steep descent to the hut.

Roaring Stag Hut is on a plateau just above the Ruamahanga River. There’s a swimming hole just down from the hut, with several good fishing spots nearby.

On the tramp out, the climb from the hut side is easier due to its more gradual nature, with the subsequent downhill being steeper. There are a couple of campsites and swimming holes alongside the river, with one such area set up with wooden benches around a clearing – a great place for a family picnic in summer.