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TAWAI RIDGE, UREWERA NATIONAL PARK - 26th September 2004

Having now settled in to my new home in Whakatane, I decided to go for a day-hike, up in the nearby Waimana Valley. It's just over an hour drive to the start of this track from my new beach pad, so it's pretty convenient. There are plenty of tracks in the valley and I picked a circuit route with a final section along the gravel road through the valley.

The first section of the hike was along the Otamatuna Track which climbs steeply away from the valley floor. This joined up with the Tawai Ridge after approximately 3 hours. The ridge track then headed south parallel to the valley.

After 90 minutes I reached the junction with the Ngutuoha Stream track at a small saddle. The track down wound through the forest and after about an hour I reached the stream. After all the recent flood damage there was no track as such and I just followed the stream out to the Te Urewera Education Lodge. From saddle to lodge took around 90 mins.

After a quick rest at the lodge, I followed the valley road back to my car, takign about 45 minutes. The whole trip taking about 7 hours including stops, and according the GPS I covered 16.3 kms.

Apart from the final river and road section, the whole track was through beautiful lush Urewera forest, a brief taster of future tramps in my new home tramping region.