Twin Peaks, Huia Ridge, Karamatura, Tom Thumb Loop Track
Head to Huia Rd carpark.
Once through the gate, head up Twin Peaks track on your right. This track starts off at a slight incline, after you pass a small bridge over a stream it then continues as it means to go on – steadily upwards.
After about half an hour you come across the junction with the Tom Thumb Bypass Track to the left and the Twin Peaks Track carries on straight ahead and upwards. We head straight ahead and past some interesting big mossy rocks on the right. Also from here this track gets noticeably steeper, at one part you are climbing up the rock and there is a rail/fence for your peace of mind. At this point there is a spectacular view of Huia below – this is also the most exposed view point you will get, so take it all in.
After this bit the gradient lessens, but is still dominantly upwards. After about 15 minutes or so from the last junction you will come across the great big Kauri Thom Thumb. This is a massive tree which is also fenced off to protect it and has a surrounding balcony over the roots that you can walk on and marvel at this wonder of nature. To the right is the junction to Goat Hill Track and left after Tom Thumb is the Junction for the Tom Thumb Track. We head Straight ahead on the Twin Peaks track, and yes this continues on upwards and gets a tad steeper again.
There are also lots of fun obstacles, logs and trees to climb over and to duck under as well making your way through the overhanging bush. You also really need to keep an eye on your footing as there are lots of roots and uneven track obscured by surrounding growth and of course lots and lots of mud. This track is really closed in and you really are at one with the bush. After about 1 ¾ hours from starting out we’re pretty sure we’d reached the first peak of the twin peaks so we stopped for a cuppa and some Golden Crunch biccies.
There’re not that many vantage points to see out and how high you’ve climbed. Every now and then you might be treated to a bit of the view, but the real enjoyment is just being on this track, I’d have to say this one is one of my favourite tracks in the Waitaks. This track also undulates with lots of up and down. You can tell when you are pretty high up in the Waitaks as the surrounding bush is different, there are a lot more Rimu and Totara (there are some massive ones too) and most of the trees are covered in moss.
The canopy is quite dense and the light is a dim green hue. We know we are getting closer to the end of this track when we come to a sign in a clearing letting you know you’re at the highest point in the Waitaks. After about 2 ½ hours from starting this track we reach the end at the T junction of the Huia Ridge Track going left and right.
We head left. This track alternates from parts bush to parts of surrounding grassy stuff. We also came across a fairly long suspended board walk through a grassy region. Either it gets really swampy here or DoC were just bored and had a surplus of time and wood. Don’t they realise most trampers are
happy with bit of mud and a few swampy/puddley bits. Mud is natural, pehaps there's some very precious "trampers" out there. The Huia Ridge also had a few bits of uphill and matched with a bit of downhill with a few things to duck under and climb over and a couple of small stream crossings too. You still need to keep an eye on your footing, as sometimes the grass obscures roots and pits in the track, but is still fairly tame after the Twin Peaks. There was no obvious viewpoint or clearing for lunch, so when we could take the tummy rumbling no more, we stopped trackside for some Thai Green Curry Tofu Sarnies for lunch.
After about 1 hour from starting this track we pass the junction on the right leading to the Walker
Ridge Track. We continue straight ahead and after a couple of minutes the Huia Ridge Track ends at the Karamatura Forks junction with the Donald McLean Track straight ahead, the Bob Gordon Track on the right and the Karamatura Track on the left. We head left on the Karamatura Track and are welcomed with plenty of mud. This track starts of fairly flat, but soon descends fairly steeply and offering views now and then of the Waitaks.
The track zig zags at the steepest part and about 45 minutes or so of careful footing we make it to the bottom and to a stream crossing . This track continues over the stream straight ahead, past the sign to the Karamatura Falls on the left . After the stream crossing we carried on the Karamatura Track which continued alongside a the Karamatura stream (which is not the one we crossed) that is obscured by bush, but you can hear the rapids close by. The track is also downwards some more. We also came a across some great bit mossy rocks over hanging a strange type of bog. A few minutes later we reach the junction of the Tom Thumb Track on the left and the Karamatura track continues straight on but turns into a gravel path. We head left on the Tom Thumb and downwards about 15 metres on rocky track to the Karamatura Stream.
After stopping a minute to soak in the our beautiful surroundings with mossy rocks and rapids we continue across the stream. From the crossing, the track winds upwards past great big mossy rocks. The track is narrow in parts and has a great lush bush feel to it and continues as it means to go on, steadily upwards (at a reasonable gradient though). After about 40 minutes of so we come to the junction of the Tom Thumb Bypass track on the right (which is fairly level) and the Tom Thumb Track continues on the left (and upwards).
We head left and continue upwards. Although this incline is slightly steeper, it only last for 5 minutes or so before it levels out again and where the bush is a little less dense. After about 10 minutes since the last junction we reach the end of the track and the massive Kauri, Tom Thumb again, along with the junction. Twin Peaks heads both left and right and across is the start of the Goat Hill track. We take a couple of minutes to marvel at Tom Thumb again, then head right and back-track down the Twin Peaks Track. It’s not until you head down this track, that you realise just how steep the climb up was. The back track takes about 45 minutes from Tom Thumb to the car.
The total tramp time was about just over 6 ¼ hours.
Total Loop Time
6.25 Hours (Spring 2011)
5.75 Hours - starting from Karamatura, anticlockwise (Winter 2014)
5.5 Hours - starting from Karamatura, Anti-clockwise (Autumn 2015)
5.5 Hours - starting from Karamatura. Clockwise (Summer 2016)
Level of Difficulty
Medium to fairly hard going - this is a pretty gutsy loop.
Topo Map does not show the entire Tom Thumb Track.It only shows up the Tom Thumb Bypass Track, then the rest of the Bypass track, omitting the rest of the Tom Thumb Track from the junction.
The Twin Peaks Track is muddy even in good weather.
It takes on another dimension in the rain -For those mud lovers, this is a must.