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Toaroha-Kokatahi Circuit, West Coast

Approaching a snowy Adventure Bivouac with the Toaroha Range behind. Photo: Jo Stilwell
Total Ascent
Road end to Cedar Flats Hut 3-4hr; Cedar Flats Hut to Adventure Ridge Biv, 3-4hr; Adventure Ridge Biv to Top Kokatahi Hut, 3-4hr; Top Kokatahi Hut to Crawford Junction Hut, 3-4hr; Crawford Junction Hut to BooBoo Hut, 6-7hr; Boo Boo Hut to Kokatahi Road end, 3-4hr (allow extra time in winter conditions)
Cedar Flat Hut (12 bunks, $5); Adventure Bivouac (two bunks, free); Top Kokatahi Hut (four bunks, free), Crawford Junction Hut (six bunks, free), Boo Boo Hut (four bunks, free)
From the end of Middlebranch Road, off Upper Kokatahi Road and inland from Hokitika
GPX File
Toaroha-Kokatahi Circuit.West Coast (gpx, yo 71 KB)
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Start by heading up the Toaroha River to Cedar Flat Hut.

From the hut, travel up the valley for a while longer, where the track passes through striking cedar forests to the upper Toaroha swingbridge and an impressive canyon.

A side-stream is crossed before climbing above the bushline, 500m up to Adventure Bivouac at 1020m. Then it’s on to Zit Saddle. Nearer the saddle, the terrain steepens, and the views from the saddle into Kokatahi Valley are spectacular. Though just a long day’s walk from the road end, it gives the feeling of being in a remote wilderness – especially in winter.

It’s about three hours from Adventure Biv to Top Kokatahi Hut in good conditions. There was apparently a feeble attempt at a track in the middle part of the Kokatahi. It was known to be a good bush-bash, with thick bush and huge boulders to negotiate.

It’s downriver travel all the way to Crawford Junction Hut, before crossing the Crawford River en route to Boo Boo Hut.

Travel in this untracked section of the valley means sticking close to the river, climbing up and around giant boulders with an occasional thigh-deep wade.

A semi-cut, half-marked track is eventually reached, with Permolat track markers guiding the rest of the way to Boo Boo Hut. A thick ground cover of ferns means the track underfoot is barely decipherable.

From Boo Boo, a good track, lush west coast forest and another incredible canyon with deep turquoise pools provide interest on the walk to the road end. The final stretch is across farmland to the car park.