Katikati, tuahu track, tauhu kauri loop track, sentinel rock track, valley views, north south track, kaimai ranges, te aroha, pirongia, Te rereatukaiha track, te rereatukaiha hut, wharawhara link track, te reatukaiha track, kauri, te reretukaiha stream, hot springs road
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 a stream running alongside, giving the valley a nice ambiance. After about 15 minutes we reach a junction. Straight ahead the Tuahu Track continues and on the left is the Tauhu Kauri Loop Track which is also the first part of the Sentinel Rock Track.
We head left and climb a few stairs and are shortly greeted by the massive Tauhu Kauri (with a platform/boardwalk around it protecting its roots) that managed to survive the old millings days of destruction. A few metres afterwards we pass the junction where the Sentinel Rock Track splits off on the left. We continue straight ahead and downwards. Less than 10 minutes from starting the loop, we reach its end at the junction that meets the Tuahu Track again, going left & right. We head left.
The track heads upwards at an easy gradient and curves around and crosses the stream that was running alongside. We continue upwards on the other side of the valley and get a few views over & down the valley. Its not too long that from this side of the valley you get the first of the spectacular sea views. As we continue making height, each view spot reveals even more. After just over an hour from starting out the track crossed an exposed rocky slip. This was also a lovely sunny spot with an awesome view, which seemed to time itself perfectly for morning tea to soak in the sea view.
Continuing on, we also pass another larger rock slip, which is at a gradient where you can walk up the side to gain even more height as a vantage point to take in even more of our surroundings. Shortly afterwards we reach a cross roads junction (just over 1 3/4 hours from starting out) where the Tuahu Track crosses the North South track (which runs down the spine of the Kaimais) going left and right. We head right and upwards on the North South Track. This part of the track is surrounded by tussock grass, flax and cool short trees covered in hanging moss. A few metres further we get the first of many spectucular views out over the Waikato. We also get to see the brilliant contours and peaks of the Kaimai Ranges as well.
The track undulated with an abundance of stunning views. There were also quite a few flat tussock bits with those cool short mossy trees too. The track runs in and out of the bush. In the bush the trees are quite goblin like covered in rich green moss. Each time we came out of tree cover the views were seen from quite a few different perspectives. From some of the view points amongst the peaks of the ranges you see Te Aroha and out in the Waikato we see the prominant Mt Pirongia.
After 1 1/2 Hours on the North South track we reach the junction of the Te Rereatukaiha Track on the right. We head right and downwards. After a couple of minutes we arrive at another junction where the Te Rereatukaiha continues left and the Te Rereatukaiha Hut is straight ahead. We head straight ahead for about 30 metres where we reach the hut in a clearing of nice long grass. Our tummies tell us it's lunchtime, so we kick back in this nice suuny spot in the long grass and tuck into our Egg Mayo, Red Pepper, Sundried Tomato, Gherkin & Spinach sarnies.
Refuelled we head back to the junction and continue on the Te Rereatukaiha track (now to our right). From here the track is on a steady downwards gradient for quite a while, before heading upwards again. After flattening out, The track headed steadily downwards as it meant to continue. In between gaps in the trees you can see the ridge of where the North South Track follows, that we had been on previously.
After about 1 1/2 Hours from starting out on this track we reach the junction where the Wharawhara Link Track heads to the left. We continue straight ahead & still downwards on the Te Reatukaiha Track. Its around here that we are walking amongst a beautiful grove of large Kauri and there is a carpet of the small Kauri leaves underfoot. These Kauri trees pretty much grow right down to the bottom of the valley where the tracks weaves between them.
Once at the bottom of the valley we walk alongside the Te Reratukaiha Stream before we cross it on an easy rocky bit. From here it was upwards for a couple of minutes until we reached Hot Springs road again. We headed right for about 100 metres back to the car.
Total tramp time about 5 1/2 hours.
Level of Difficulty
5.5 Hours (Autumn 2013)