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A welcome change

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May 2021 Issue

Table Ridge, Tararua Forest Park

The Tararua Range is well known (and often cursed) for its gruelling ridge travel: tough climbs, deep dips and hard going. Want something more undulating, perhaps with a scattering of tarns, and some pleasantly easy tussock tops? Somewhere that, for a couple of easy kilometres, you might even be able to stroll hands-in-pockets?

Table Ridge offers these, although, to be fair, getting to and from the ridge does involve the usual amount of traditional Tararua slog.

A satisfying 3-4 day round-trip to Table Ridge begins on the Barra Track. This leads through forest to Mitre Flats, then further up the Waingawa Valley to reach Cow Creek Hut. Take the track towards Arete Forks, but only as far as the first ridge crest. An informal route climbs this bush ridge to emerge on Table Ridge. In the right weather, there’s fantastic camping beside one of the ridge’s several tarns.

Table Ridge ends at Brockett, one of the range’s 1500m peaks, then traverses along to Pukeamoama/Mitre, the highest peak in the range, before dropping down to Mitre Flats.

While you’ll have certainly expended some energy and sweat on this circuit, Table Ridge won’t disappoint.


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Distance
31.4km
Grade
Moderate / Difficult
Time
3-4 days. To Mitre Flats Hut 4-5hr; To Cow Creek Hut, 3.5hr; To Table Ridge, Brockett, Mitre and Mitre Flats Hut 7-9hr.
Accom.
Mitre Flats Hut ($15, 14 bunks), Cow Creek Hut ($5, six bunks)
Access
Upper Waingawa Road (The Pines car park)
Map
BP34, BN34