The Waimana Valley, about 30 minutes drive from Whakatane, contains a large number of tramping tracks. One of these is the Six-Foot Track which winds its way up the valley starting at Tauwharemanuka, leading to Maungapohatu and on to SH 38.

We decided to tramp up the valley track as far as the first hut, Te Pourewa.

Safe parking is an issue in this area, the safest location being the Te Urewera Eduaction Lodge. We parked near the Otapukawa Stream, where it joins the Tauranga River.

Day One - Otapukawa Stream to Te Pourewa Hut

Having left the car near the Otapukawa Ford, we carried on along the gravel road. Around a bend the road led us through some farmland to the settlement of Tauwharemanuka. The Six Foot Track starts at this settlement. Four-wheel drive vehicles with good clearance can probably make it as far as the settlement if required.

The Six Foot Track soon led us into native bush along side the Tauranga River. The track is pretty easy going and we reached the turnoff to the hut after about two hours. The hut can be spotted about 10 minutes before the turnoff.

Although the hut is in the other side of the Tauranga river, there is a swingbridge across so you can avoid getting wet feet. The hut is reached after about 5 minutes from the swingbridge through a couple of clearings - one of which contains some beautiful specimens of cabbage trees.

The hut is a small 8 bunk hut, with a couple of dog kennels outside for hunter's dogs. After a brief period of settling in i.e having a snack, we wandered up the track leading west from the hut leading to Ohane Hut over in the Whakatane Valley. The purpose of our mission was to try and spot some kokako - an endangered native bird, which had been breeding succesfully in the area. After a couple of hours of climbing we reached the dividing ridge between the Waimana and Whakatane valleys. Despite having our ears peeled we heard no sound of the kokako - mind you, we weren't sure exactly what sound they do make, we just tried to listen for something unusual!

After 30 minutes or so of hard listening at the ridge, all we could hear was out tummies rumbling, so we decided to make our way back to the hut for dinner.

That evening we dined alfresco as winter hadn't really kicked in yet, but later we turned the heater on in the hut!

Day Two - Te Pourewa Hut return to Otapukawa Stream

After breakfast we set off back to the car along the same route. The day was beautiful and by the time we had emerged from the native bush near Tauwharemanuka, we were very hot. So we had a little rest and a quick snack, whilst basking in the beautiful sunshine.

This was a lovely tramp in the beautiful setting of the Waimana Valley. It seems to be a very remote part of the National Park as we rarely meet anybody up here - a true wonderful place to unwind from work and the city!