Route: Te Pua-a-Tāne Circuit Whirinakid (NZ)

Submitted by Luke Godsall on Wed, 03/02/2022 - 10:29am
New Zealand
81.25 km
Vertical Gain
3,103 m

The Route starts and finishes at the River Road car park 15 mins out of Minginui. In the anti-clockwise directing it begins by following the Whirinaki River for 16 km of well-maintained trail and easy running to Wririnaki Central hut. This is the first of six huts of which the front door should be touched to complete the loop. From Whirinaki Central hut the first of many stream crossings being and continue on past the second, Upper Whirinaki Hut until you being a steep climb away from the river and up onto the ranges. Be aware that there is a waterfall in the middle of the climb that must be crossed and the ranges and bluffs can be exposed so take care if heavy rain is about. The tops of the ranges also have a lot of low ferns covering the track which brings the pace down to a walk until you decent to upper Te Hoe hut. Now 34km's into the circuit you begin the second major climb to the tops of the Te Hoe Bluffs before making your way down to Central Te Hoe Hut turn off. Ensure you run over the 300m over the swing bridge to the Central Te Hoe Hut to touch the front door before heading back to the turn of an continuing the loop. More undulating country continues here, following river banks and the low ferns return in some areas. Be aware that stinging nettle is prevalent through this section. 49km's in you will again find a turn off to Mangakahika Hut which is about 200m off the main track. After returning from the hut the track begins to open up and become more runnable on a largely downhill section to Rogers hut. This is a major juntion for other trails so ensure the Moerangi Hut mountain bike track is followed. The trail opens again into a wide well maintained mountain bike track so be aware of traffic and again take the turn off for Moerangi Hut, touch the front door and return to the trail. Now the final 13km stretch begins with the last big climb over Moerangi Saddle. After coming down the saddle you return to a junction of trail you passed at the beginning of the loop and it is just a matter of returning to the River Road car park retracing your steps over this final 3km.

Highlights of the track include the ever changing landscape from low rivers and streams to high bluffs that can have snow in the winter months. There are large numbers of Whio (blue duck) in the streams and its highly you will see deer crashing through the undergrowth. There is water available on all sections of the trail from the various streams and at all huts, but it does say to boil before use.