Iron Gate Hut to Tunupo High Point LoopIntermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Kym Skerman
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Back country - remote
Undulating, some big hills
Native bushRiversideOpen farmlandsOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Intermediate - Experienced
Not Suitable (Slow)
A couple of slips on the track that you are required to climb around.
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
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The start of the run is fairly straightforward as you start on the popular Heritage Hut track. Once past Heritage hut the track becomes a bit more narrow and technical. It is a fantastic track up to Iron Gate Hut, undulating and mostly beech forest along the side of the Oroua River.
If it was bad weather or you didn't want to head to the tops an out and back would be a fantastic run option as well.
Once at Iron Gate Hut take the track heading NE away from the hut. This will start climbing sharply towards the tops of the Ruahines. Once near the top the vegetation changes quite dramatically and the track and quite likely the weather (and visibility) also. It is very slow going and a map and compass are a must to navigate around the tops and over to the Tunupo high point.
Do not cut under the high point as you may take the wrong ridge down. Climb to the top of the high point and take a bearing to ensure you are heading down the right ridge. As you get closer to the bush line a track will appear and it is pretty straight forward back down to join the Heritage Hut track and head back to the carpark.
NB This route shares a fair bit in common with the Ngamoko Range Traverse route, which you can read about here
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Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 15%
Technical Single Track: 60%
Moderate Single Track: 15%
Easy Single Track: 10%
Drive through Apiti and turn right on Table Flat Road (following signposts to Sixtus Lodge). Turn left on Petersons Road and left through a gate to the carpark and start of the Heritage Lodge track.
Large carpark off a side road for parking.
Make sure you are taking the correct ridge back down.
Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Gaiters.
Water available along the river and at Heritage and Iron Gate Hut.
Can get very cold on the tops. When I ran it, it was 24 degrees in the carpark and on the tops I was wearing my jacket, beanie and gloves!
Take long gaiters for the tussock and leatherwood tops.
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