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Kaimai Killer, Waikato

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Kaimai KillerIntermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Malcolm Law

Info Info
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Trail Information







Back country - remote


Very hilly

Native bush
Open farmlands

Intermediate - Experienced

10:00 (Slow)
7:30 (Moderate)
5:00 (Fast)



Bluff Stream Kauri Loop Track is closed until further notice due to Kauri Dieback

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From the Dickey Flat car park take the Mangakino Pack Track south towards Daly's Clearing Hut. This pretty much follows the Waitawheta River, which after a couple of kms is crossed (caution - can get high after rain) before ascending through beautiful regenerating bush.

About 6 kms from the start take a left turn on Dean Track, following the sign to Franklin Road. Descend through bush before breaking out on to farmland with wide views all around. Follow this straight on over a few stiles until Franklin Road is reached. Turn right following signs forWaitawhetaValley and follow farm track for a couple of kms before turning left on to Bluff Stream Kauri Loop Track (to Kauri Trees and Ananui Falls).

A couple more stream crossings and a steep climb take you to the site of two spectacularly large kauris. At this point you also have the option of following the track past the kauri trees and continuing down a steep descent to get back to the Waitawheta River and complete a shorter loop (the Kaimai Semi-Killer!)

For the full Killer loop keep following the track uphill towards the Ananui Falls. The next 10 kms or so are steep, rough and technical so be prepared. The Ananui Falls are a worthwhile side trip before dropping steeply into the next river valley. At the next junction turn right to cross the river following the sign for Waitawheta Hut. A very technical section of bush running follows. The hut itself is accessed via a bridge across a spectacular gorge but the route lies straight ahead on the Waitawheta Tramway.

The next few kms are relatively easy running following the old tramway as it criss-crosses the gorgeous Waitawheta River. On reaching Dalys Clearing Track turn left and climb the hill to Daly's Clearing Hut. A short way past the hut turn right on to the Mangakino Pack Track again and follow this for a couple of kms to complete the big loop section of the run. For the final 6 kms you'll be re-tracing your steps from the start of the day.

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Features of interest

Beautiful regenerating bush, large kauri trees, second highest waterfall in the North Island (Ananui Falls), numerous stream crossings, huts, the Waitawheta Tramway, swing bridges & gorges.
This is a serious run and should not be attempted in bad weather or by inexperienced parties.

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 45%

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Easy Single Track: 20%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 5%

Route Data


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  • Access

    Coming from the west (Paeroa) continue past the main Karangahake Gorge visitor centre/car park for another few kms before crossing the river with a right hand turn over a bridge on Waitawheta Road. Then take the 2nd right on to Dickey Flat Rd. and follow this to the DoC campsite at the road end.
    If coming from east (Waihi) Waitawheta Road will be on your left.

    Plenty of parking at the DoC campground. Take the usual precautions with valuables

    12 km

    13 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Tracks are well signposted but stay aware and anticipate turn-offs by keeping an eye on the map. This is not country where you want to take a wrong turn!

    Very patchy.

    Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.

    Drinking out of the lower reaches of the Waitawheta River is NOT recommended but once clear of the farmland around Franklin Road it should be OK. There are numerous other side streams that are also fine to drink from and tank water at Daly's Clearing Hut. Setting off with at least 1L of your own water is nevertheless advisable, particularly on a hot day.

    The trail is almost entirely within bush so is not particularly exposed BUT it can be treacherously muddy after heavy rain so be prepared!

    River crossings will be your main concern, in particular the first crossing of the Waitawheta. If this is already at mid-high flow levels and more rain is expected do NOT attempt to go further as it will keep rising and you could be cut off with no way back to the start. Treat this river seriously and if in doubt turn back.

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