Kahurangi Lighthouse Keepers House Intermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Stu Houston
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Back country - remote
Out and Back
Intermediate - Experienced
This run is only possible at low tide so plan ahead you have 2 tidal vehicle river crossings and 2 crossings during the run so its best to plan around a Midday Low Tide and don't loiter.
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This is possibly the best beach run in Aotearoa which does need to be well planned around tides and fine weather but it is well worth the effort. Bring a dry bag big enough for your pack you may need it to swim across Big River! The run is described from the start at Turimawiwi River which requires a 4x4 to get to - if you don't have one then park at Anatori River and follow the coast down to Turimawiwi but add an extra 12 kms to the return trip and allow for the extra time to get back to Anatori with the tide still low enough to cross. These Wild West Coast rivers can be very dangerous to cross and have claimed lives so plan for a midday low tide and a period of fine weather and you will be fine.
From Turimawiwi head out onto the hard sand beach and run South to the Anaweka River crossing, go up stream from the mouth and cross, it can be waist deep but when you return it will be knee deep. Continue South to the biggest obstacle of the trip - the crossing of Big River. You should plan to be here before low tide to allow enough time to return while still low. There are 3 places to cross - either pick a line where the sea meets the river on the bar (NOT if the surf is huge) or at the narrow part between the mouth and lagoon which requires you to swim the deep 70 metre gap, or through thelLagoon choosing the best spot you can find. If it's a warm day swimming the gap is the best.
From here you enter Kahurangi National Park and nikau palm fringed white sand beaches and after 3 kms you will spot a large Orange triangle and a DOC sign which leads you to the large 24 bunk hut. There is also heaps of space for camping and if you want to take the tide pressure off yourself this is an incredible place to stay a night. There is no actual marked track to the Lighthouse but if you carry on South past the first small bluffs you can find a route up to it. Return back the way you came.
Features of interest
Stunning Wild West Coast beaches and bushback drop. Lighthouse keepers house now a DOC Hut.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 95%
Easy Single Track: 5%
From Collingwood head North to Pakawau then turn West onto Pakawau Bush Road to West Haven / Whanganui inlet then continue South to Anatori River. If you have a good clearance 4x4 cross the river at the ford and continue South to Turimawiwi River Ford to the South side and park behind the sand dunes.
Parking is remote and safe. Don't attempt fording rivers after or during heavy rain.
Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Map.
Big River's water will be saline so bring water with you.
The hut has tank water.
Summer is best for the river crossings
ONLY GO IF rivers are low, weather is fine and settled, tide is low, you are an experienced runner and you are a confident swimmer.
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