The main route to the Mangamate Hut is from the River Road car park, approximately 15 kilometres down the Minginui Road turnoff on State Highway 38 at Te Whaiti. This turnoff is 21 kms east of Murupara and is well sign-posted. From the other direction, the turnoff is 77 kms from Aniwaniwa on SH 38, where there is a DOC visitor centre.
Misty view from Mangamate Hut
The Mangamate Hut is situated in the heart of the Whirinaki Forest Park, approximately 11 kilometres from the River Road car park. To get to the hut, you initially follow the main Central Whirinaki track from the car park past Te Whaiti-Nui-A-Toi Canyon where the Whirinaki river cuts through an ancient lava flow. The track continues on the true right of the Whirinaki river past the Moerangi turnoff.
Te Whaiti-Nui-A-Toi Canyon
After just over an hour's tramping from the car park, a small footbridge across the Mangamate stream is reached. The track to the hut turns off here and follows the stream, dipping in and out of the stream along the way. The track is well-marked with the usual DOC orange markers. At the time of writing there are a lot of stinging nettle plants, some of which are very large, along the route from here to the hut. Trampers should take care to avoid this pest.
Toi Toi Grass
From time to time, it can be hard work fighting your way through the toi toi grass, but after two hours from the stream turnoff, the site of the old Mangamate hut is reached. The only sign that a hut used to be here is the dunny next to the track as you leave the site to reach the new hut. This old site is a great place to stop and have lunch or a snack.
Old Mangamate Hut Site
On leaving the clearing, the track follows the true left branch of the Mangamate stream and passes through some lovely bush. After a while the track crosses the stream and zig zags it's way up to almost the top of a ridge. The track then turns southward again and reaches Mangamate Hut just over an hour from the old site. The hut is now situated on a saddle with the track continuing down the other side to reach either the Central Whirinaki hut or the Upper Whirinaki.
The hut contains nine bunks, a log burner and has a water tank for rain water. It's a great place to spend the night and there's usually plenty of birdlife on hand to keep you entertained.
Map for Mangamate Hut