- Location: Kaimai Mamaku Forest, Bay of Plenty. Click here for Waitawheta hut information.
- Access: Franklin Road, off Waitawheta Road in the Karangahake Gorge
- DOC Duration: 3-4 hours one way Forest Family: 4-5 hours one way with 6 adults and 7 children aged 4-10 years old.
- Track Grade: Intermediate
- Highlights/Features: Five swing bridges cross over the stunning Waitawheta river. Tramway remnants and information boards showcase the history of the area and glorious rocky bluffs frame the valley. There are plenty of waterfalls and places to stop for a scenic picnic. The Waitawheta is a serviced hut and sleeps 26 people, it is quite a busy hut, so make sure you book. If you are wanting a shorter day walk, we reached the first swing bridge in 1.5 hours and there are many tramway treasures within that time to be worth the trip.
- Notes: This is a great overnight walk for kids, though the track is flat, it is uneven so you must watch your footing and good footwear essential. This is quite a long walk for little legs so if the kids haven’t done many long walks before it might be better to start with a shorter walk e.g. Daly’s Clearing hut which is a 2 hour walk, especially for under 5s. Rivers in the area can rise very quickly after rain, there is a flood route which we took instead of doing the only river crossing on this tramp.
Also check out part two where we cover the highlights and challenges of tramping with 7 little people and 6 amazing mamas!