|A picturesque tarn on Wanganui Saddle|
Duration: 6 days and 5 nights
Accommodation: Huts and the Karamea Village Hotel
Fitness level: Above average
|Whio or blue duck, an endangered New Zealand species|
The Wangapeka has long been one of the most popular tracks in the upper South Island.
At 52 kilometres, it traverses the park from east to west, ending on the West Coast near Karamea.
It has several rough sections of track with creek and minor river crossings, and so requires a higher fitness level than for the Heaphy Track, but is in the capabilities of most fit walkers, as we travel at a slow pace.
Note: We normally make this trip from east to west, as described here. However, the reverse can also be arranged, particularly in combination with an east to west walk of the Heaphy Track.
|The violent effects of the 1929 Murchison earthquake may be seen on the slopes above the Karamea headwaters|
Fully serviced option:
Self catered option (minimum 4 persons):
4-7 persons, $800 pp
8-10 persons, $750 pp
|Cecil King Hut|
A 1½-hour scenic drive from Motueka to the Wangapeka Valley, on the eastern fringes of Kahurangi National Park.
A 4 to 5 hour walk through beech forest beside the beautiful Wangapeka River, ending at Kings Creek where we have a choice of two huts.
One is a large Department of Conservation hut and the other, Cecil King's historic hut, which is a relic from the gold days.
|One of many gushing sidestreams along the track|
The track, which is an original gold trail, is well graded on this section.
It follows the river to the bush clad Wangapeka Saddle, then descends into the Karamea River catchment where Helicopter Flat hut is our destination for the night.
Blue duck may be seen on this section of river. Approximately 7 hours walking time.
|Always time for a photo, before climbing from Stag Flat to Little Wanganui Saddle|
Once again through magnificent covered beech forest, with numerous picturesque creek crossings.
We cross Taipo River on a swing bridge, and eventually reach Taipo hut where we spend the night. Approximately 4 to 5 hours walking time.
|The Little Wanganui, looking back to the saddle|
Probably the highlight of the trip is this climb through mossy knarled forest to the tussock covered Stag Flat, with mountain vistas.
Then on to Little Wanganui Saddle with it's twin tarns, and where a view of the Tasman sea can be seen in the distance on a clear day, on the West Coast.
We now descend into the Little Wanganui catchment area, with the bush getting lusher as we descend, including beautiful groves of mountain cabbage trees.
We then follow the river to the new Belltown Hut for our last night on the track.
Approximately 7 to 8 hours walking time.
An easier day following the Little Wanganui River to the track's end, near the Little Wanganui Township on the West Coast.
A short drive takes you to Karamea for a comfortable night in Karamea, a traditional pub with real West Coast hospitality.
Approximately 2½ to 3 hours walking time.
On the morning of day 6, we will leave Karamea in our own transport at approx. 9 to 10:00am for the 5 1/2 hour scenic drive to Motueka or Nelson.
This route will take you down the Northern West Coast to Westport, then through the picturesque Buller Gorge.
We will be stopping en route at Murchison for a light lunch, supplied by Bush and Beyond.
Arrival time in Nelson will be approx. 3 to 3:30pm, so it is advisable not to book a flight out of Nelson until after 4:30pm in the event of unforeseen circumstances delaying our return
Continuing down the West Coast?
If you are continuing on down the West Coast after your Wangapeka walk, we can drop you off in Westport if desired
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