Thompsons Track Walk

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Thompsons Track Walk is 17 km long and will take you around 7 hours round trip.

You’ll get wet feet along the way. Thompson Track is a typical Kaimai walk, thick, wet bush, a six-foot track for the first 30 minutes to a short climb over a rocky face, sneak around a short bluff, descending down steel ladders, pulling your boots out of the mud and at the end follow a 4×4 track out to road’s end. 02 OCT 2011 Search and rescue were trying to locate a missing hunter on the Thompson’s Track.

Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: North Island NZ
  • Distance: 17 kms
  • Time needed: 7 Hours
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Wheelchair Access: No
  • Route: Round Trip
  • Elevation: 580m
  • Wet Feet: Yes
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Dogs: Leash only
  • Mobile Coverage: Yes
  • Last Updated: November, 2019

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

Summary points about this walk

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Points of interest along the walk​

Point 1: Hot Spring Carpark

TUAHU Walkway is a 5.5km drive to the end of Hot Springs Road, and a total of 8 km south of Katikati. There is plenty of room to park the car.

Point 2: To the North, South Turnoff

The start of the Tuahu track is easy to find just follow the signpost. The toilet is up in the trees on the left-hand side of the car park. 20 minutes into the walk there is a turn off on the left to the Tuahu Kauri tree, the five-minute walk is worth it. The Rereatukahia Stream can be tricky to cross if it has been raining in the last day or so, otherwise, you can rock hop the stream without getting your socks wet. When you cross the Rereatukahia Stream it is uphill all the way to the summit. You will skip across two more creeks and walk through a small grove of Kauri trees. At the top of the saddle, you will meet up with the North-South track. If you have some time up your sleeve, or you brought some lunch with you, walk straight past the north-south junction and follow the track over the top for 3 minutes to a grassy strip alongside the track. There is a small patch of grass for you to sit down on, have a hot drink, and enjoy the great view of the mighty Waikato. With power 10 binoculars you can just make out Hamilton on the horizon.

Point 3: Motutapere Hut

Turn to the left and walk south on the North-South track. From here on it is a few short but steep sections to climb. But the views of the Bay Of Plenty and the mighty Waikato is worth the sweat. There is a small bluff to walk under, but there is a wire rope for you to hold on to. You will only need the wire rope if the Gail force westerly is blowing. The next challenge was the steel ladder to descend. I found it so narrow my pack was getting caught up in the rails with every step I took, but the worst was yet to come. I stepped on to the start of the wooden steps and took a short trip to the next three steps, I was lucky my pack took most of the damage, not my back. But all was forgotten when I managed to crawl out of the ravine and came head to head with a young hind. She saw me first and gave out a loud barked then jumped over the ridge and disappeared leaving me with a small heart attack to get over. The next slippery set of steps were all wood with two runs missing, that was tricky with a pack on. What was very pleasing after the slippery ladder was the downhill slip and slide down to Motutapere Hut and a hot coffee.

Point 4: The Top of Thompson Track

From Motutapere Hut the bush is very dirty, you would have a hard time bush bashing through this rubbish. There were just a couple of gully’s to climb out of but in all, it is a good walk out to Thompson Track. You will pass the turnoff to Mt Eliza mine, if you take this turnoff it is about 2 hours out to Thompson Track car park. To continue on along the North-South Track is about 2 hours and 45 minutes to Thompson Track car park. When you break out onto the grassland you are 30 minutes from Thompson Track, so just follow the marker post while enjoying the fantastic views to the east and west.

Point 5: Thompson Track Road End

From here it is an easy downhill walk to the car park. You will have to pick your way around the giant mud holes the 4×4 boys have made. Do get out of the way when you hear them coming, they do not stop. When you hit the flats there are a couple of massive mud swamps to negotiate as well. This was the worst part of the walk, trying not to sink up to my knees in mud, a lot of time and energy is wasted in these swamps. This was my first and the last walk down Thompson Track, I always take the Mt Eliza Mine Track on a day run.




What sort of walking and hiking gear will you need

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

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