New Zealand

Te Waiti - Pakihi Circuit, Urutawa Conservation Area

Day One - Pakihi Track

How To Get There
The Urutawa Conservation Area is situated just south of Opotiki in the Bay of Plenty. The circuit tramp is situated in the northern part accessed by Otara Road which turns off State Highway 2 about 1 km south of Opotiki. The tramp is not quite a true circuit so transport is required to complete the tramp. The easiest option and possibly the safest is to use the facilities available at Bushaven Lodge run by John Donald. They will provide a shuttle service to the Pakihi track and secure parking for your vehicle at their lodge which is situated at the end of the Te Waiti track.
Tramp Description

It was a beautiful sunny morning when I was dropped off at the start of the Pakihi track by John from Bushaven. The Pakihi track is signposted and follows the true left of the Pakihi stream. On the other side of the stream you can spot a few remote homes accessed either by 4wd across the stream or by foot across a private swing bridge a few minutes after the start of the track.
I had last tramped along Pakihi about a year ago and the track was just as I remembered, an easy tramp through beautiful New Zealand bush. Generally the track stays about 10 metres above the stream, occasionally dropping down to cross a tributary feeding into it. About 90 minutes from the start is the site of a massive slip where approximately 500 tonnes of rock slide into the stream. Water dammed up behind the slip and then flooded down the valley. Today all that is left are large boulders in the stream and a great scar in the valley side.
It was good to see that DOC had cleared another large slip that had blocked the track on my last visit. I couldn't even spot where it had happened. Despite having to clamber over the odd fallen tree blocking the track, it's still an easy tramp to reach the Pakihi hut.
There is one river crossing along the track about twenty minutes from the hut. The track climbs back up the other side of the stream and the hut is can spotted through the trees on a bend in the track. It was along this section that I disturbed a deer in bush just above the track - obviously some good hunting to be had in the area!
The hut is situated in a small clearing between the track and stream. A sign post is positioned at the point where you drop down from the track to the hut. The hut is a standard backcountry hut sleeping six with a couple of kennels in a smaller clearing towards the river.
An annoying feature of the hut is that the windows are on the bush side making the hut quite dark, but despite this I spent a pleasant evening sat on a bench watching the moon rise above the bush clad ridge to the north and listening to small rocks sliding down the valley side opposite.
Tramp Details
Time: 3 to 3.5 hours
Distance: 8 kms
Grade: Easy, a benched track with one river crossing.
Hut Description
Category: Standard
Bunks: 6
Heating: Log Burner
Water: Rain water tank
Cost: One standard hut ticket
Tramp Map
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