- Kahurangi National Park
- 19.6km (one way)
- Waingaro Forks Hut (free, 4 bunks)
- From Uruwhenua Road, off Takaka Valley Highway
This trip on the Waingaro Track features two restored historic huts and a shelter.
The first few kilometres are ominously called Kill Devil Ridge, but the track is much kinder than the name suggests. Its a well-maintained historic pack track zigzagging up the hill with ever increasing excuses to stop for views of Takaka Valley and Golden Bay.
It takes about three hours to reach the tops and Tin Hut Shelter.
For the next couple of hours, the track is stony and scrubby but with expansive views east, south and west overlooking rivers and valleys, mountains and ranges.
At a track junction overlooking Porterhouse Flat, high above the Waingaro River, hut baggers can take the 30min diversion along an old stock fence to Riordans Hut. Originally built in 1926, it was restored in 2003. It has just three bunks but is roomy.
The track then meanders gently down through beech forest, crossing a few small spring streams, until the Waingaro River is reached.
A swingbridge over the Waingaro provides a thrilling end to the tramp: a wire rope attached to rocks is held for balance as you step across the thundering flow of the river.
Waingaro Forks Hut is a cosy four bunker. A skylight has been added and the window enlarged to allow more light in. The open fire is elevated and easily lit.