• Holly Pfeiffer

Tararuas Days and Resupply Plan

Palmerston North - Waikanae

Welcome to your first mountain range on TA! Prepare yourself for unpredictable weather, views for days, mud for years and a lot of elevation. This resupply plan is a little different from the others because there are so many options to get you from Palmy, over the hills and back to safety and civilisation in Waikanae.


^Sunrise from Nichols Hut in the Tararuas.


Resupply in Palmerston North for 7-10 Days

Palmy has all the standard kiwi outdoor shop offerings; MacPac, Kathmandu and Bivouac Outdoors and has a big Countdown and Pak'n'Save for getting the food you need to resupply. If you're planning ahead before you start hiking, you could consider posting 4-5 days of food to the OPC so when you leave palmy you're not weighed down with 10 days of food! The weather is so unpredictable in the Tararuas, make sure you've got one days extra food packed up incase for any reason you get held up. While you will probably carry an extra dinner the whole trail, this is the first section you encounter SOBO when things can and do go wrong.


The route plan for the first three days are pretty standard:

  • Palmy - Whare o Moturimu 30km

  • Whare o Moturimu - Tokomaru 15km*

  • Tokomaru - Makahika Outdoor Pursuits Centre 19km


OPTION A

This is the way I actually got myself to Waikanae. I found the days long and hard, but it's the way most people go through, the huts being big enough to support 4+ people. I was lucky enough with the weather to be able to take the river route via South Ohau Hut but getting from the OPC to Te Matawai is very much still possible on the official TA route.


  • OPC - Te Matawai Hut (via river)

  • Te Matawai - Nichols 12km

  • Nichols - Saddle Creek Freedom Camping 12km

  • Saddle Creek - River Pa 29km


OPTION B

This is what some of the people I walked with did.

  • OPC - Dracophyllum Bivvy

  • Bivy - Waitewaewae Hut

  • Waitewaewae Hut - Parawai Lodge

  • Parawai Lodge - River Pa


OPTION C

This is what I'd do knowing what I know now. This is all weather permitting obviously, but if you have the conditions for it, this is what I'd do. Taking a couple of shorter days to really be able to enjoy the amazing scenery, and not be absolutely spent when you get to Waikanae.

  • OPC - South Ohau Hut; This is only possible in good weather, but if you love a river walk, this one is both stunning and technical. We had so much fun! Take a buddy for safety and enjoy cruising up in the mid morning sun.

  • South Ohau Hut - Dracophyllum Bivvy; Drac is a bivvy! If you know other people are planning to stay there, be ready to pitch your tent. There isn't much room directly at the hut but the surrounding forest is beautiful and you could easily find somewhere close by to pitch up, and the next day isn't too big if you decide to stop a bit before the hut.

  • Dracophyllum Bivy - Nichols Hut; Because how can you not stay here?! The sunset and sunrise was amazing. The only place better would be freedom camping on Crawford summit... if the weather is good why not?!

  • Nichols Hut - Parawai Lodge; If you get up early, summit and lunch swim at Waitewaewae and make a move you'll be in the comforts of Parawai Lodge before you know it!

  • Parawai Lodge - River Pa


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