Atene Skyline TrackIntermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Mike Tennent
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Intermediate - Experienced
After parking by the Southern entrance to the circuit run the 2km through Atene to the Northern start... you could save time here with two vehicles but leaving one at each end. The Northern end is clearly signposted.
You cannot go wrong with the early part, the path is well laid out and obvious. About 900m up the main track there is a stile and a gate into farmland... head on through. After following the track you will come from to a farm track (can be very muddy) - go left here up the hill.
About 2km from the road you will come to the Lookout which is the end of the Viewpoint Walk... you can have a quick look and snap a couple of pics. then carry on upwards.
For quite a while here it is grass, mud, and reasonably cruisy gentle uphill running. Just when I was staring to think it was going to be a bit of a dud the single trail started... and kicked my butt. There are times where you will have to watch carefully for the orange triangles... I had to backtrack a couple of times... but if you are careful you will get it done. The Shelter and Loo are at about the halfway mark. the exit from that area is just along from the right hand end of the shelter (took me a while to find it).
After that you will climb to the 2 Trigs.... at times you will think you are on your way down again... you are not... not until the last 4km when it drops rapidly (and you will have to be careful) -it is muddy in places and suddenly it will spit you out onto the farmland above the road.
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Features of interest
Views...views and more views. A couple of Trigs and a shelter and Loo at about halfway
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 10%
Technical Single Track: 40%
Moderate Single Track: 15%
Easy Single Track: 15%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 8%
Sealed Road: 12%
Leave Whanganui heading towards Raetihi on the Parapara Road, about 8km or so out of town turn left into Whanganui River Road.... head 20 or so km down here heading to Atene... which is sign-posted. If you drive as far as Atene you have gone a km or so too far. Turn around and head back looking for the DOC sign on the left.
I parked about 50m up the road from the Southern end of the trail. Other options are to park in Atene...evidently there is a private property you can park on for a small fee, or there was a carpark at the Northern entrance.... but it was off the road and I am not sure how secure it would be.
From the Shelter onwards there are a few places where you will need to stop and work out where the next orange marker is.
Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, 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.
There is water at the Shelter, supposedly good enough to drink
I ran this in winter. There had been a bit of rain and there were a few muddy bits both up and down. Towards the bottom of the big down it got quite treacherous and I finished up on my butt once.
There is quite a lot of ridge running on technical trail, you will need to concentrate... but the views and the trails make it all worth it.
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