New Zealand

Upper Whirinaki Hut, Whirinaki Forest Park

How To Get There
The Upper Whirinaki Hut can easily be reached in a day by starting at the Plateau Road car park. To get to the car park, turn off State Highway 38 at Murupara, taking the forestry access road marked with a red sign near the over pass. Soon turn left onto the main forestry road, Kiorenui Road. Follow this road for approximately 40 kms, ignoring a left turn to Minginui and Whirinaki, and then turn left at a crossroads - this turn is signposted Whirinaki Track and Main Road. From here the car park is reached after 24 kms by following the Whirinaki Track signs along Main Road, Pine Milling Road and Plateau Road respectively.
Tramp Description
I left the car park at around 12.30 after a quick lunch to set me on my way. It was a beautiful day, sunny but not too warm. Not far along the track, I came to a fork, left was the Whirinaki Track which led to the Central Hut and right was marked to Upper Whirinaki Hut, my destination. The track followed a ridge and every now and again I was able to spot views away to the north east of the impressive peaks behind the Upper Whirinaki Hut.
Eventually the ridge began to drop (90 mins) and the track led steeply downwards to the Whirinaki River and a track junction (2 hrs). The track to the left led along the Whirinaki River to the Whirinaki Track and Onepoto Cave. However this track, difficult at the best of times, was blocked by debris from the heavy snowfall earlier in the year in the area. In fact there was evidence on every track of damage from the snow and DOC had gone a great job opening these tracks up again.
At the junction the right turn led to Upper Te Hoe Hut another 5 hrs way. According to the log book at Upper Whirinaki this track has only been cleared up to a point 1.5 hours along it. However the track to the Upper Whirinaki Hut was clear and a friendly bird helped me spot the sign showing the way to the hut.
This track led along a small stream that had branched off the Whirinaki, along the way there were a few river crossings to negoiate. Twenty minutes later I reached a lovely clearing with the hut bathed in glorious summer afternoon sun (2.5 hrs). I had forgotten what a beautiful spot the hut was in, a sunny clearing with a lovely stream. The hut also has a deck, great for catching those afternoon rays. I spent the rest of the day wandering around the clearing trying to get photos of the tuis that were swooping around. An awesome spot.
Tramp Details
Time: 2 to 2.5 hours
Distance: 3.5 kms
Grade: Easy to medium, along a well marked track with a steep section in the middle. Few minor river crossings near hut.
Hut Description
Category: Standard
Bunks: 9
Heating: Log Burner
Water: Rain water tank
Cost: One standard hut ticket
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