Waiopehu Hut

Walk Kapiti (January Edition)

With Penny Redward
23rd January 2010


Waiopehu Hut – neither a walk nor in Kapiti really!  However it is an interesting local overnight tramp, worth considering during the summer holidays.  It is not a difficult track but is fairly long, 9kms one way, and up virtually all of this!

Access is from Levin, Gladstone Road then over a bridge on the right (the second bridge) into Poads Road.  Cars can be left safely at the parking area at the end of this

road.  Fill in the intentions book then follow the orange markers across farmland for 10 – 15 mins to the Tararua Forest Park.  Once in the park the track is clearly signed.

With a total climb of 800m there are a couple of steep sections.  One 2 ½ kms in, but don’t be put off with this; the track levels out to a more gradual climb and although it is a long way the bush is beautiful and there are two or three spots to stop and admire the views out across to Kapiti.  After rain the bush is particularly beautiful but the track very muddy, be prepared for ankle deep slosh in places!  There are another couple of steeper sections before the hut and when you get to open leatherwood rest assured you are getting close.

The hut is relatively new and in good condition.  It has 18 bunks and a spacious living kitchen area.   It is a “standard”  DOC Hut: no heating or cooking facilities; so you need to buy one $5 hut ticket for each adult for each night ($2.50 for children).  These can be purchased at Stirling Sports in Coastlands or the DOC Office in Parata St Waikanae.

Because it is officially above the bush line it has no heating and can be particularly cold, I was there last week and it had just been hailing but we decided it was warmer outside than in.  Another time I was refilling my tramping hotty every half hour and swore I would never go again unless mid summer; then I struck an early warm spring day and a sun filled hut in the evening and sun pouring in the back door next morning.

There are amazing views from Kapiti, across Levin (night lights great), Taranaki and Ruapehu in clear conditions, and back across the Tararua Main Range.

Times:  I have taken over 6 hours (on the warm spring day), 5 hours last week (cold summer day), and walked with younger trampers who do it easily in 4 hours.

There are return trip alternatives if you are feeling fit, e.g. Gable End ridge, and the Waiopehu Peak and Twin Peaks with it’s memorial beacon to explore if you decide to have two nights.

Take lots of warm clothing (even in summer), your own cooking facilities, and camera.  Allow plenty of time to enjoy the trip.