Traversing the length of the Kaimai Range from the Karangahake Gorge to the Mamaku Plateau, this track follows historic trails to explore kauri logging and gold mining areas.
The North-South Track has been rerouted recently. Some sections of the old track were closed to reduce environmental impact. There are no huts beyond Te Rereatukahia Hut (about half way) but there are road access points all along the route. There are several different crossings of the range available, along with ample possibilities for constructing short loop walks too. Consult the DOC brochure, "Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park Long Walks."
Karangahake Gorge -- Daly's Clearing: 5 hr 30 min.
Setting off from the Karangahake Reserve, the track follows the Crown Track along the old Paeroa water supply pipeline, passing through a long tunnel, to Dickey's Flat Campground. The Dickey's Flat Track crosses a river and climbs up to meet the Mangakino Pack Track.
Beyond the Dean's Track junction out to Franklin Road, the route leaves the Mangakino Pack Track and passes through pretty nikau forest to Daly's Clearing Hut.
Daly's Clearing -- Waitawheta Hut: 4 hr 30 min
A scrubby bullock trail drops easily down to the Waitawheta Tramway Track. Turning right and heading upstream, it is an easy saunter along the Waitawheta River to the old Waitawheta Hut site, which is now a campsite, and beyond to the new hut located on the old mill site, crossing an impressive swirling gorge just before the hut. Several short walks explore the milling relics around the hut.
Waitawheta Hut -- Te Rereatukahia Hut: 7 hr
The track follows an old log hauler road past a kauri dam before turning to climb over Wharawhara Saddle and down to the Cashmore Tramway and past a track junction. A quick drop into the Wharawhara Valley leads to the Wharawhara Tramway and another junction. Follow a link track up to the Kauri Grove Track and then continue on to the hut.
Te Rereatukahia Hut -- Thompson's Track: 4 hr 30 min.
Following the ridge south, the track soon meets a junction where the Tuahu Track, an old east-west bridle trail, crosses. A rugged section including a tall ladder leads to the Mount Eliza Mine junction, then the track drops onto old farmland and continues through to a crossing of Thompson's Track, an old country road.
Thompson's Track -- Wairere Track: 8 hr 30 min
Passing beneath the summit of Ngatamahinerua, the track drops down to Kauritatahi Stream and follows it for a while, eventually reaching a side track to Uplands Road, and another to Aongatete Lodge. Beyond Aongatete Stream, the track meets Wairere Stream and the Wairere Track. A 1 hour return side trip leads to Wairere Falls.
Wairere Track -- Leyland O'Brien Tramline: 6 hr
Follow the Wairere Track inland and away from the falls briefly before continuing south. The track drops into the Waiteariki Basin and meets the east-west Te Tuhi Track. A small clearing beyond the Ngamuwhahine Basin is suitable for camping. Onward, the track follows the Maungaputa Stream to a haul line up to the Leyland O'Brien Tramline.
Leyland O'Brien Tramline -- SH29: 4 hr 30 min
Leaving the tramline, the track crosses a couple of streams and climbs onto the Henderson Tramline, passes several junctions and drops to the highway.