A tough and off the beaten track hike in the Wharepapa / Arthur Range in Kahurangi National Park, found through exploring topomaps for day hikes near Tapawera. It was hard work climbing 1,100m up to the bush line, but it was a rewarding and scenic day in the hills.
The track starts 25 minutes drive up the gravel Baton Valley Road, with an easy stream crossing.
It’s an easy walk alongside Baton River before turning off to the left through an overgrown patch onto Cowins Spur Track.
In late December the bush was colourful.
The start of the track was one of the steepest I’ve hiked up, gaining around 750m in a couple of kilometres. It was hot and hard work.
I’d hoped to get views from the ridge but it frustratingly mainly stayed in the bush, but did start to finally open up.
The views started to justify the effort.
The large orange triangle marked the end of the track, but after three hours of hard work to get to the bush line I wanted to stick around the enjoy the views.
There was a nearby 1,394m peak which looked attractive, though much slower to reach than expected without a track, though on the return I found a bit of a route.
The views from the top were pretty impressive but the clouds were gathering so I beat a retreat. It took half the amount of time to go down as it took to come up. With more time / energy / better weather it would have been great to spend a few more hours on the tops but it had been a 21.5km hike already…