Hot Springs Rd, Katikati, Tuahu Track, Te Rereatukahia Stream, Tauhu Kauri Loop Track, SEntinel Rock Track, North South Track, Kaimais Ranges, Waikato
Head to carpark at the end of Hot Springs Rd, State Highway 2, just outside of Katikati township.
We start out on the Tuahu Track which is leafy underfoot, wide and flat with the Te Rereatukahia Stream tributary running alongside, giving the valley a nice ambiance. There are also a few young kauri & rimu about too. After about 15 minutes we pass the junction on our left, leading to both the Tauhu Kauri Loop Track and the Sentinel Rock Track. Moments later we pass the other end of the loop.
The track then heads upwards at an easy gradient.
About half an hour from starting out, the track curves around and crosses the stream that was running alongside. It’s here that we leave the track and head upstream, up the Te Rereatukahia Stream tributary.
The stream has plenty of mossy rocks and canopy over head is fairly dense giving off a deep green hue. The combination of the gentle trickling of the stream & the birdsong is very peaceful. We make our way upwards, boulder hopping, climbing the small waterfalls & rapids. There are plenty of flat parts alongside the stream too. We are spoilt for choice of serene places more morning tea too, so it’s just a matter of when you’re in the mood for a nice cuppa. After about an hour on the stream, there is a small grotto up on the right with a small, but high trickling waterfall. The ambience here is quite something.
We continue straight ahead & notice there are quite a few smaller tributaries feeding into this one. After about half an hour from the grotto we pass a fairly big stream junction with tributaries feeding from both sides, we continue straight ahead keeping on the steadiest stream flow. About 20 minutes later we pass a really decent deep pool, which would be great for a dip, but perhaps more suited to a warmer day. We encounter plenty of small to medium sized waterfalls and climb under & over plenty of logs & pass may more smaller tributaries too. One of the waterfalls makes are great lunch stop for our Portuguese sarnies. After about 3 ½ hours on the stream we reach a high small trickling waterfall. This one proves a tad challenging, the highest we’ve had to climb as we forge our way up the side with the aid of trusty epiphytes to hold on to. At the top of this we are met by the North South Track. Left, across the stream heads South & right heads north.
We head right & up. This is a lovely narrow undulating track and so far my favourite bit of track in the Kaimais. After close to 10 minutes on the track we reach the junction for the track to the Motutapere Hut on our right, which we decide to check out. Two minutes later we find a small hut which sleeps about 4 people & has a fireplace. There is also a nice view overlooking The Sentinel & beyond to the sea. There is also a track past the hut, upwards, leading to a great viewpoint, where there are panoramic views of the Kaimai Ranges expanding in both directions and more of the coastline, as well as Tauranga too.
We then backtrack to the North South Track and continue heading North and head steadily upwards. The top of this peak has awesome views & lets you know what you’re in for. The views here, as well as out to the coast, also look out beyond the Waikato. You can see the dramatic undulating terrain ahead too. This track just has so much character with its steep ups & downs, lots of growth (flax & cool long grass) obscuring the track, cool mossy trees and even some pretty high ladders. There is also an exposed rocky bit where you can lose your hat on a windy day.
After about 1 ¾ hours we reach the crossroads intersection, where the Tuahu Track crosses over heading both left & right and the North South Track continues straight ahead. We head right. This track is wide, defined & very easy going compared to the one we were just on. This track winds downward at a gentle gradient, hugging the side of the hill. There are a couple of exposed parts, where you get a couple of viewpoints out East to the coast. There are also a few parts with plenty of canopy too and we cross quite a few stream tributaries, with waterfalls, either falling above or below the track. After about 45 minutes or so we can hear the sound of a much larger stream ahead. Soon enough the track reaches the initial Te Rereatukahia Stream tributary, that we had originally gone up. From here we back track and are back at the car in close to 30 minutes.
Total Tramp Time: 7 Hours.
Level of Difficulty
Moderate to Hard
7 Hours (Spring 2013)