7 hr return Distance: 14 km Type: Tramping Track
Located on Hot Springs Road, off SH 2 (just south of Katikati).
We walked this track in October, on a nice weekend, but after a week's worth of rain. Since we arrived rather late in the day, we decided to walk counter clockwise as this is the shorter route in. A river crossing was required after about 5 minutes walk. DoC has built a little dam to walk over.
The track is very steep in parts and extremely muddy. It may pay to walk this track after a few nice days to give it a chance to dry out. There were no realy views on the first day, all a bit overgrown.
The hut is quite nice, but no heating. It's a 12-bunker with bench type beds, so lots of space. In the morning we had the most amazing views to Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.
Note, that there is a toilet along the path to the north of the hut, though no sign. We didn't find the toilet until the next morning.
The second day along the North South Track and Tuahu Track offer the most stunning views in both directions, to the sea and the plains. Again the track was very muddy, but not quite as bad as on the first day.
I did this tramp with a 7 and a 11 year old, it is very manageable for children and a nice weekend tramp. There are hot spings close to the car park (Sapphire Springs) for a soak afterwards.