Waikato & Wanganui Days and Resupply Plan
Updated: Jun 11
Hamilton - Wanganui
Leaving the Waikato river, a couple of these sections require carrying a few days of food. There are still plenty of options to pick up tasty treats along the way, but passing through smaller towns, these luxuries become a touch more pricey.
Resupply in Hamilton for 6 Days
Enjoy soaking up the metropolis that is 'The Tron' and pop into TA favourite Trek'n'Travel for any gear updates you may need, to sign the visitor book and as the last chance to grab your DOC Hut Pass ahead of the first hut on trail! There are certainly other ways to break up this section, but I enjoyed and would recommend the way we did it. Food resupply options in Hamilton are Countdown or Pak'n'Save.
Hamilton - Whatawhata 16km On the way out of town you'll walk through an industrial area with popular fast food chains and my tip; Sunny Nelson for awesome real fruit ice cream! You can definitely buy dinner at the pub in Whatawhata too.
Whatawhata - Kaniwhaniwha Campsite* 23km
Kaniwhaniwha Campsite - Pahautea Hut** 9km
Pahautea Hut - Freedom Camp*** 28km
Freedom Camp - Hamilton Tomo Group Hut 20km
Hamilton Tomo Group Hut - Te Kuiti 18km You can easily call in for breakfast or coffee in Waitomo on your way through.
*Rope swing as you leave the road into camp, and swimming hole 100m past camp, up trail towards summit are great on a hot day if you have time.
**It's the first DOC hut on trail, we decided we couldn't resist a night here. But it would be possible to go up and over in one day, with Trail Angels operating not too far from the bottom, you could still get to the Tomo Group Hut the next day.
***Great little spot in the sheep paddock here, the farm house has kindly placed a tap about 1km along your path in the morning so you only need water for overnight.
Resupply in Te Kuiti for 5-6 Days
The small town of Te Kuiti has a few take-away stores, a New World (which didn't have the best selection of hiking essentials but you can get by) and a dairy which had a few dried food options too. It's worth noting that I chose to bike the Timber Trail (hundy-p do it if you can!) so allow an extra day if you plan to walk it instead.
Te Kuiti - Honesty Box Campsite* 23km
Honesty Box Camp - Ngaherenga Campsite 34km
Pureora - Piropiro Campsite* 35km Stop in at the lodge on your way to camp and grab one... or two of the awesome pizzas.
Piropiro - Toilets & Camping 42km
Campsite - Taumarunui** 26-30km
*There are plenty of gorgeous riverside camping spots in the first 10km out of Te Kuititi that you could definitely get to after resupplying in the morning if you want to get out of town and enjoy a night wild camping. BUT you would probably still want to stay the next day at the campsite, because a) from the campsite it's a heck of a road walk (could hitch though) and b) the riverside track is notoriously slow going.
**New World is at 26km and Taumarunui Canoe Hire is 4km further along the trail.
Resupply in Taumarunui for 11-12 Days
11 days! Fear not, this resupply includes 5 days of food to be left at Taumarunui Canoe Hire (Who else are you booking with, these guys are THE BEST!) for your paddle down the river. The guys at TCH will come and pick you and your massive shop up from town if you call ahead. New World is the only resupply option in Taumarunui, and despite going through towns in this section USE THE NW! The dairies carried limited stock and were very expensive. Having booked canoes for the river you have a fixed date to depart from Whakahoro. The big days listed here could easily be broken down into more manageable kms, and there are plenty of lovely spots to take a rest day or two if you need/ want to.
Taumarunui Canoe Hire - Owhango 23km
Owhango - Tongariro Holiday Park* 37km You've got access to a standard holiday park shop with noodles, beans ect available.
Tongariro - Whakapapa 35km The holiday park cafe is open for coffee and breakfast, and the shop has all the hiker snacks you would need.
Whakapapa - National Park Village 20km The village gas station is the local shop, where you could probably find most things (at a cost). The village has a few as cafes and there is the bar/restaurant opposite the YHA if you fancy dinner, drinks and sticky date pudding.
National Park - Monument 27km
Monument - Whakahoro 25km The Blue Duck cafe/restaurant is worth a visit, the toasted sandwiches are great! Lovely people, very hiker friendly.
*option to do this in two days, freedom camping on the 42nd is a popular alternative.
RIVER JOURNEY RESUPPLY DROP OFF
Remember... you don't have to carry the food for this section. So get whatever you fancy! Tins, alcohol, bread, chocolate! Enjoy feasting on the river.
Whakahoro - John Coul
John Coul - Jo's Campsite & Bar
Jo's - Pipiriki
Pipiriki - The Flying Fox
Flying Fox - Wanganui