Wangapeka Track's historic huts, native forest & crystal-clear rivers
Getting to the Wangapeka Track provides us a scenic drive from Nelson to the start of our 59km long Adventure. Luckily, the first section allows us to warm up with an easy hike over river terraces and swing bridges, before scrambling over old landslide debris. Our lunch stop marks the first historic spot on our itinerary: Cecil Kings Hut, once inhabited by the gold miner Cecil King during the Depression. While he used to offer passing trampers a cuppa and a chat, the hut is now abandoned but still worth a visit.
Next up is the Wangapeka Saddle at 1,009m, with various side trips to choose from. It’s a short hike to our next accommodation on Day 2, and we should definitely take the chance to explore more of the area. I’ll show you what choices we have on the day, once we know the weather conditions.
Day 3 marks another short section to Taipo Hut, which leads us through the beautiful Taipo Valley. We’ll take our time here – it’s not every day you get to experience such a secluded spot, full of native birdlife, deep gorges and native bush.
We’re in for a climb to the highest point of the route on Day 4, the Little Wanganui Saddle at 1,087m. It’s a great spot to have lunch and soak in the views all the way to the coast before we head to our last hut on the trip. The final day leads over historic earthquake and landslide damage to the car park on the West Coast. Time to reward ourselves with a bite at the local pub I say!