Trip information, past trips and contacts for Wanderers Tramping Club

Waitawheta 27 March 2022

Our walk began at the end of Franklin Road, which is reached by turning right shortly before  the end of the Karangahake Gorge road. We initially followed a track through farmland until we reached the bush entry, enjoying a pleasant but cool breeze.

Kauri trees were quickly obvious along the edge of the track as we walked the old tramway up the valley. We were following the river which offered numerous swimming holes, but access was often muddy and challenging. The track was also challenging, going gently uphill, with part-buried rail lines, cobbles and metal pegs (dogs) holding down old timber sleepers.

At times towering cliffs loomed above the river and track. A small waterfall at the edge of the track fed a stream which then ran along the path before gravitating to the river, A point of interest was a bogie on rails holding a large timber log.

The Tramway finished at Devil's Elbow where the S-bend was so tight that the locomotive that pulled the logs along the tramway could not pass - it was no problem for us trampers.

As we got higher up the track we encountered a number of swing bridges with views up and down the river quite a distance below. We found a sunny spot for lunch and prepared for a warm return. The sun had come out, the temperature had risen, and there was little shade close to the river. It was great to get back into the bush and shade. 

We had seen many family groups coming towards us on our way up, who had been staying at Waitawheta Hut overnight. On our return we continued to meet others on their way up, including a school group from St Peter's School, Cambridge. 

We also encountered a large group of twittering silvereyes right above the track in a shady spot, and were visited by a number of inquisitive fantails. 

Once back on the farmland, we split into 2 groups; the fit, and the laggard (me!) and supporters. Thanks to them, I made it back to the van. The carpark was still full and the track obviously popular. We had walked 14kms.

A very enjoyable day! Thanks to the organizers.


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