Waipakihi & Umukarikari Range

Waipakihi & Umukarikari Range
Kaimanawa Forest Park

19 - 21 March 2021

For the weekend, I decided to check out the Umukarikari Range in the mighty Kaimanawa's again. I was joined by Chris S and Cameron.

COVID-19 Alert Level: 1

! Warning Warning: This tramp should be only be attempted by experienced trampers.

Day 1 Travel to Kaimanawa Road-End
Kaimanawa Road-End - Urchin track / Waipakihi River campsite ​​​​
Urchin Track
4 Hours
Day 2 Urchin track / Waipakihi River campsite - Waipakihi Hut
Waipakihi River route
7 Hours
Day 3 Waipakihi Hut - Kaimanawa Road-End​​​​
Umukarikari Track
Travel back to Auckland
5 Hours 20 Minutes

Track Profile

Track Profile

Day 1 (Friday):

Today we left Auckland first thing in the morning.  On the way we stopped at Matamata for a feed before continuing on.  We made our way down south to the Desert Road, where we turned off onto Kaimanawa Road.  Reached the road-end with the start of the Urchin track, unloaded car and sorted out our packs.  Chris S then relocated the car to Umukarikari track end and then met us back at the start.

We then put on our packs and started tramping uphill towards Urchin trig.  A rest at the top was in order while we admired the view all around.  Then it was downhill to Waipakihi River, crossed the river and searched for a suitable campsite to setup tents for the night.  We managed to do a small fire and had some dinner before going to bed.

View of Waipakihi River from Urchin
View of Waipakihi River from Urchin | Photo Credit: Chris Foster


Day 2 (Saturday):

This morning we woke up to a sunny day.  Had breakfast and then packed up tents ready to head up river.  Basically we followed and crossed the river many times during the day, which the water was cold but quite nice.  We stopped several times for breaks and taking in the scenery.  For lunch we stopped at a dry sunny spot next to a potential swimming spot.  Continued up river for the rest of the afternoon.  Finally the hut came into view as we came round the last corner of the river.  Reached the hut and there were two other people there enjoying the sunny deck of the hut.

For the rest of the day we relaxed on the deck, soaking up the sun and cooked dinner before going to bed.


Day 3 (Sunday):

An early start today as we have a long day ahead of us.  Had breakfast and packed up, left the hut just as the sun was about to rise.  It was a pretty grey morning with the clouds threatning to rain.

Waipakihi River
Waipakihi River | Photo Credit: Chris Foster

Firstly it was climbing uphill onto Umukarkari Range.  Once on the top it was quite windy and cold, so we put some warm layers on.  Luckly the threatning clouds are staying away.  Had some amazing views and had a couple of stops out of the wind, when some shelter was found.

Then it was downhill through the bush to the end of the track.  We ended up doing the track faster than expected, out by lunch time.  Once reached the car, got changed, loaded up and headed to Turangi for lunch.

After lunch we continued driving home to Auckland, where we reached by dinner time.  A great weekend.


  • NZTopo50: BH35 - Turangi
  • NZTopo50: BH36 - Motutere


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