Motutapere Hut Walk

Start on the Tuahu Track, walk to top where you meet the North-South Track & turn left, walk around 45 mins to get to Motutapere Hut © Freewalks.nz

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The Motutapere Hut walk is 640m along the top of the Kaimai Ranges going south on the North-South Track.

You’ll start out on the Tuahu Track and walk to the top where you meet up with the North-South Track. Hang a left and head south to the hut. The first part of the walk to the North-South Track is a medium walk, but to the Motutapere Hut is a hard walk. You can stay overnight in the hut and carry on to Thompsons Track the next morning or return the same day. The hut is free. You can look out to Tauranga from the hut. Located in the Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park. 

There are two ways to reach Motutapere Hut. The first is described below in full detail or you can take a look at the Thompsons Track Loop Walk which will take a little longer but is slightly easier.

About the North-South Track

The North-South track is not for beginners. It requires at least 5 to 7 days of hiking with all your gear and food. This demanding route has many river crossings, steep & technical terrain and remote areas where you may have to navigate around landslides and fallen trees etc. DOC recommends the North-South track is hiked via Waitawheta Hut, and the Waitawheta and Wharawhara valleys.

Other walks from the summit of the Tuahu Track on the North-South Track

Once you get to the summit of the Tuahu Track you hit the North-South track. From here you can turn left and go to the Motutapere Hut, continue past the hut and turn left onto the Mt Eliza Mine Track which then takes you further onto Thompsons Track

Or you can turn right and do the Te Rereatukaihu Hut Loop walk which comes out just a bit further past the Hot Springs car park.

Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: Kaimai Ranges, Katikati, North Island, NZ
  • Distance: 11 kms return
  • Time needed: 6 Hours
  • Difficulty: Starts off medium then turns to hard once you are on the North-South Track.
  • Wheelchair Access: No
  • Route: Double back
  • Elevation: 560m
  • Wet Feet: Yes
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Dogs: No
  • Mobile Coverage: Yes
  • Last Updated: March 2022

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Points of interest along the walk​

Hot Springs Road car park is where the walk starts

The start of the Tuahu Track walkway is a 5.5 km drive to the end of Hot Springs Road, and a total of 8 km south of Katikati. There should be plenty of room to park your car. But don’t leave any valuables inside, it’s not safe in the car park.

The North-South Track turnoff

The start of the Tuahu track is easy to find just follow the signpost. After 20 minutes into the walk, there is a turnoff on the left to the Tuahu Kauri. It is a loop track and the five minute walk is well worth it.

The Rereatukahia Stream can be tricky to cross if it has been raining in the last day or two, otherwise, you can rock hop the stream without getting your socks wet.

After you cross the Rereatukahia Stream it is uphill all the way. You will skip across two more creeks. Take the opportunity to fill up with water.

At the top of the saddle, you will meet up with the North-South track.

Walk along the ridge line to the old 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 are well worth the sweat. 

There is a small bluff to walk under, but there is a wire rope to hold on to. You will only need the wire rope if the gale force westerly is blowing.

The next challenge is the steel ladder to descend. I found it so narrow my backpack was getting caught up in the rails every step I took, but the worst was to come. I stepped onto the start of the wooden step and took a short trip down to the next two steps. But all was forgotten when I climb out of the ravine thinking about a hot cup of coffee would go great about now.

Then I came head to head with a young hind. The hind deer barked at me then jumped over the ridge and disappeared leaving me with a small heart attack to get over.

The next set of steps I had to climb were also wood, this was followed by a slip and slide section down hill to the Motutapere Hut and a hot coffee. The Motutapere Hut was over due for a clean up before I had my hot cup of coffee and a slice of carrot cake. It was an interesting night, with the rats trying to get into my pack and eat my delicious carrot cake and the possums dancing on the tin roof, I was not lonely that night.

Stay the night and continue the walk along the North-South track to Thompsons Track or return the same day.

About the Motutapere Hut

This is a basic three-bunk hut. No bookings are needed, it’s free to stay overnight. It’s first come, first served. You could pitch a small tent but the ground is not very flat. The hut is managed by the Thames Valley Deerstalkers Association.
 
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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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