Dalys Clearing Loop + Bluff Stream Kauri Loop, Waitawheta Valley (Kaimai Ranges)
Head to Franklin Road carpark (close to the end of the no exit road).
We start out upwards on the Dean Track through farmland and some paddocks with some pretty staunch cows. One of the paddocks had really tall grass (some of it waist height) and being wet, it didn’t take long to make our bottom halves the same. After close to half an hour we reach the bush and continue heading steadily upwards on a pretty easy going gradient. Also in the bush, the canopy covers us from the rain, but underneath it has a roomy feel with the bush not as dense, also there is a pleasant carpet of leaves underfoot.
Close to an hour from starting out, the Dean Track ends at the T junction of the Mangakino Pack Track going left and right. There’s also quite a spacious feel to this intersection with the high trees above and some long hanging vines about. We head left and the terrain changes to be slightly rocky underfoot, also the gentle upwards gradient continues. This track sure has some cool trees too with plenty of palms and buttressed Pukateas amongst heaps of other stuff. It’s on this track that we stop trackside on some dry, dead fern branches for morning cuppa and peanut brownies. After a while the track flattens off again and we pass some cool big rocks.
After about 50 minutes we reach our next junction. The Mangakino pack Track continues straight ahead and the Dalys Clearing Track is on our left. We head left. This track is also pretty easy going and after about 15 minutes we come out at a grassy clearing with a picnic table and also the Dalys Clearing Hut. We have a wee look inside and it’s nice and clean with plenty of bunk beds (with mattresses too). We then continue straight ahead on the track and it’s not long before we are heading downwards, with a few stairs in parts leading down to the peaceful Romanga Stream where we make an easy crossing. Then its up again for a wee bit, before heading steadily downwards. It’s not long before you get a few peeks at the domed shaped knoll and rocky bluff ahead.
After about 40 minutes from starting this track we reach its end at the T junction of the Waitawheta Valley Tramway Track going both left and right. We head right. This is a flat wide track which runs alongside the Waitawheta River. After a few metres we come across a beautiful small waterfall on our right surrounded in purple and green Parataniwha. We then follow this track for about 15 minutes until we reach our next junction. The Waitawheta Valley Tramway Track continues straight ahead and the Bluff Stream Kauri Loop Track is on our left.
We head left and down the river bank and cross the Waitawheta River. As there is a bit of rain, the river is slightly swollen, but still easy enough to cross, but not with dry feet. Once across the river we head left along the river side following the orange markers then up the bank and then we cross over to where the Bluff Stream runs over the rocks and feeds into the Waitawheta River below. From here it becomes a bit more of a tramping track with mud, moss, some steeper inclines as well as negotiating the odd fallen tree and the occasional small creek running into the Bluff Stream. We also get some great views of the impressive rocky bluff opposite.
After a while we stop trackside finding a fallen log for a backrest and tuck into lunch of some Millet, Sun Dried Tomato, Onion & Blue Cheese Pattie Wraps. Afterwards we continue on up an easy gradient and it wasn’t too long before we came across a massive mature Kauri with some wooden rails to protect it and a few more metres further we are treated to a second massive one. After plenty of ogling at these amazing spectacles we continue upwards and about an hour from starting the track we reach our next junction. To the right is the track to the Ananui Falls and Waitengaue Track and on the left the Bluff Stream Kauri Loop Track continues.
We head left. The track is pretty easy going from here, also with a crossing of the Trig Stream and then it descends to Waitawheta River. After even more rain the water level has swollen well over boot level. We cross over at the marker points, then veer right and walk along the bank for a few minutes. After about 2 hours from starting the Bluff Stream Kauri Loop Track, it ends at the junction of the Waitawheta Tramway Track going left and right.
We head right. From here it’s about a 25 minute walk alongside the river, through farmland passing some more curious cows until we reach the road. About 5 ¼ hours from initially starting out, we reach the car.
Level of difficulty
Easy, with the odd moderate incline & river crossings
5.25 Hours (Spring 2012)