Submitted by Daniel Parkinson
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Back country - remote
Undulating, small hills only
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A brilliant loop. From the carpark, follow the signs to the Waterfall Loop track. At the first junction a km in, turn left and follow the signs for Central Whirinaki Hut. At the 4km mark after very easy, rolling trails (you will cross a bridge over the awesome Whirinaki Canyon), you'll cross a bridge and turn left, following the signs to Mangamate Hut. The track immediately deteriorates and you'll follow the stream for the next 5.5km, crossing it 30-40 times. It's very low normally, but be aware of conditions during wet periods. The stream is good fun to splash in on a hot summers day. There are some flat, easier sections in the bush to briefly break it up.
At around the 10km mark, you'll head up away from the stream, along a well-benched trail to arrive at Mangamate Hut at the 11km mark. From the hut, head down to the stream again, following it for 5km to a junction. Again, follow the signs to Central Whirinaki.
After another km in the stream, you pass a footbridge and the trail is much easier for the final 2km to Central Whirinaki Hut (19k mark). From Central Whirinaki the trail is almost to a Great Walk standard, and gently flows down alongside the river to the next junction pointing to the waterfall. Turn left to the waterfall, enjoy the view and then enjoy the final 5km back to the River Rd carpark.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 25%
Moderate Single Track: 5%
Easy Single Track: 70%
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Drive to Minginui, a bit over an hour's drive from Whakatane or Rotorua. Head up River Rd for a few km on gravel road, following the Whirinaki Forest Park signs.
Plenty of carparking.
Remove all valuables from your car as there are known issues in this area.
Be aware of the markers in Mangamate Stream as you cross in and out of it.
Short-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), First aid kit, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map.
Plenty of beautiful water in the streams and at both huts.
Be aware after or during heavy rain, as 60+ stream crossings are required.
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