Tramp up Golden Crown Ridge, which makes a slow but steady transition from burnt scrub to thin forest.
At the top of the ridge, the gradient eases and soon reaches the derelict Aranga Hut.
Continue on and traverse flat tableland of tops following a poled route through the remnants of a burned forest. A few bleached stumps remain in places.
The range is barely above the bushline, and makes for easy travel, excepting one short push through scrub.
Tramp on to Piopio and beyond, over a strange crusty surface, where a myriad of tarns cluster among the alpine wetlands. Look for campsites around here.
A track descends from Pt1503 to Ikawatea River and then climbs to a limestone-fringed ridge north of Potae.
Good travel on flat terrain through forest leads towards the Mangaohane Plateau, before abruptly coming out of the forest on the edge of rolling tussock lands. The north-facing Ruahine Corner Hut sits on the edge of the bushline.
Make your way through tussock, following a meandering route that leads to the trig beacon at Makirikiri.
Marked by a waratah below Pt1206m, an unmaintained track marked by intermittent pink tape pushes through wiry trees and down to the confluence of the Ikawatea River and Apias Creek, where Ikawatea Forks Hut occupies a terrace.
Follow Apias Creek. The route will require climbing up and over a knoll to avoid a gorge in the lower Apias.
The river runs through a tight, narrow valley, with hardly any flats. expect to get wet feet crossing to and fro.
The route soon reaches the shelter of Rockslide Biv.
From here, more river travel heads up-valley, eventually reaching a major forks near the headwaters, which diverts to Mistake Biv.
Continue following the Apias until you reach another fork, close to a large and unmarked waterfall.
Head out of the valley, and above the forks, where you will bush-bash on steep terrain and soon emerge onto a ridge crest and a well-maintained track.
Descend back down Golden Crown Ridge.
- Total Ascent
- Moderate / Difficult
- Mangleton Road to Aranga Hut, 4-5hr; To Ruahine Corner Hut, 4-5hr; To Ikawatea Forks Hut, 4hr; To Rockslide Biv via Apias Creek, 3.5-4hr; To Mangleton Rd, 6-8hr
- Ruahine Corner Hut ($5, six bunks), Ikawatea Forks Hut ($5, seven bunks), Rockslide Biv (free, four bunks)
- Mangleton Road, Hawke’s Bay
- BK36, BK37