An alternative route from Oamaru Hut to Cascade Hut
This route begins at Oamaru Hut and was conceived as an alternative to the North Arm route that crosses private land and requires a permit. This route remains within the park boundaries plus has some interesting features of its own.
The route will require either 2 days or a very long day. If planning to camp along the ridges, there is no water. You will need to carry your water requirements for the night.
Head up the Oamaru Valley towards Boyd Lodge, the first part of the valley being open and then entering the bush after about 45 mins.
After about 3 hours the track crosses a side stream and veers south towards Boyd Lodge. Take care to identify the correct stream and start up the ridge immediately after crossing. There may be some ribbon marking the route up the ridge or DOC may have completed marking the route with orange triangles.
The ridge provides good travel up to point 1254. From here, care will be needed to find the low bush saddle that links this point to 1319. If there are markers then it is no problem but, if not then it can be difficult to locate the saddle as you drop down into it.
Once through the saddle, climb to 1319 and the routefinding is easy now as you follow the ridge to Maungaorangi. The bush is very open in this area with little undergrowth so the going is easy.
Take time to stop at point 1365 which sticks out of the bush and enjoy the extensive 360 degree view of the North Arm area and the central Kaimanawa area.
Continue on to Maungaorangi which once again takes you out of the bush. Maungaorangi is the boundary of the Forest Park so keep to the right of the marker that marks the summit and you wont be trespassing.
Take care to find the correct ridge that takes you down to the Waiatupuritia Saddle. DOC had poles to mark this route when I was last there.
Descend along the ridge to the saddle and join the track where it comes up from the North Arm. From here it is a short climb and then a long descent along a good track to get to Cascade Hut.
When I did it was largely unmarked however DOC was progressivly marking this route Grades explained
12 hr – 16 hr
1 – 2 days
Altitude change 806m