Karamatura Stream Loop
This one is pretty tough and before you think of attempting this, you need to be confident climbing slippery precarious rocks, not mind
getting wet, have a head for heights and you should have plenty of tramping experience. A GPS won't hurt either.
Head to Karamatura carpark (down a gravel drive opposite Huia
Museum). Straight ahead alongside the Karamatura Stream is the start of
the Karamatura Track. This starts off as a flat gravel walkway designed for the masses. You pass a bridge and then on your left, you’ll also pass
the Fletcher Track, then the Karamatura Loop Track. This track runs alongside the Karamatura Stream.
After close to 20 minutes you’ll pass the junction to the left for the top of the Karamatura Loop Track and a few metres later you’ll pass the junction on your right to the Tom Thumb Track heading down to the stream. From here the gravel ends and the nature really begins. There is a bit of mud & a few roots underfoot and you’ll also encounter some interesting rocks overhanging a type of bog. After another few minutes you’ll cross the Whites Stream running into the Karamatura Stream.
After this crossing you reach a T Junction, Karamatura Track continues on the left & a sign “To Falls” is on the right. We head right. After a few minutes (& about 35 minute from starting out) you’ll see one of the
Karamatura Stream’s fine waterfalls & pool behind a great big rock. We
cross the stream over the top of another waterfall below & scramble up the
nearly vertical track until it just becomes a tad steep then heads downwards and you find yourself at the top of the waterfall in a really cool mossy place and at the bottom of another waterfall.
The next one is another scramble up the side of the hill, the one after that is up a vertical slippery rock face. We scale a waterfall and we then find ourselves at the bottom of another one. This happens numerously and we discover numerous, absolutely stunning falls & awesome moss & cool fungi. Waterfall number eight (the Led Zep waterfall) sticks in my mind as does number ten (Timotai waterfall). We stop for Morning Tea & Golden Crunch cookies at the beautifully tranquil mossy waterfall number thirteen.
It really is quite hard keeping track of these waterfalls as not slipping and
falling and also locating the track can be quite distracting. After maybe about 15 waterfalls or so we come to a log jam that takes a wee bit of negotiating as some logs don’t quite hold your weight, so test each step first. From there the stream splits in two, the left heading towards Ghost Glen and right continues up Karamatura Stream. We head right. The waterfalls are less frequent and not as high, but are still beautiful. The stream closes in a bit now and it’s noticeably darker and mossier.
There is some different types of moss up here too. There is also the occasional bit of wading. After a while we reach another intersection where the stream splits again. The Peters Stream is to the right and the Karamatura continues on the left. The stream closes in even more and
there are a few rapids and at one point there was a waist deep wade (a tad
bracing in winter). There’s a quite a few obstacles on this stream now with
logs to climb over, trees to duck under and plenty of supple jack to contend
After a while we arrive at a very high sheer rock face of a waterfall (this one is more of a constant trickle) covered in cool overhanging moss. I think this was the twenty sixth and was the final waterfall we encountered. We find this the perfect spot to stop for our overdue lunch of Curried Egg & Fejoa Chutney sarnies. Refuelled we discover through the dense supplejack that this spot is also another intersection of the stream.
The Karamatura Stream continues up & beyond the waterfall but there is another small stream on the left. Here we head left and we have to battle through the tangle of supplejack and densely overhanging bush.
This last stretch of stream is a bit of a battle which lasts for close to half
After 5 hours from starting this stream we make it to the junction
(covered head to toe in mud) of the Huia Ridge Track going both left &
right. We head left. The track is nice & muddy and undulates a fair bit.
There’s lots of roots and the occasional tree/log to clamber over, bush to duck under and plenty of slipping and sliding on the mud, especially on the downwards parts. There’s also another wee stream crossing too (this one barely seems to be moving).
After about 50 minutes we pass the junction to the Walker Ridge Track
on our right. We continue straight ahead and about 3 minutes later we arrive at the junction of the Karamatura Forks. The Bob Gordon Track is on the right, the Donald McLean Track is straight ahead and the Karamatura Track is on the left.
We head left. This starts off flat and there was once heaps of mud at the top of this track, but there’s now portions of a brand new slippery wooden walkway at the start. It’s not all covered though, so you can still enjoy a few muddy patches for a good ol’ squelch. After a while the tracks starts to have some down bits, until it heads down fairly steeply. After about 45 minutes we reach the junction for the waterfalls which we pass , now on our left. We cross the stream again and backtrack the way we initially came and it’s another 20 minutes or so until we arrive back at the car.
Loop time: about 7 hours
Pretty tough going in parts. Best to have a few tramps under belt before
attempting this one.
Level of Difficulty
7 Hours - Anticlockwise (Winter 2012)
7 Hours - Anticlockwise (Autumn 2016)