Puketutu Hut (Pvte). Route Info 2009
Detailed route guide to Puketutu Hut walking from Uplands Rd, near Katikati.
by Raymond Salisbury
Phone: Probably is polite to ask custodians of the hut for permission. It might be booked out. (Note that during the roar it's well-frequented. Stay away from March til May.)
Drive: On SH2, just south of Katikati, approx 35km north of Tauranga. Turn into
Walk: Initally, climb a short section of gravel driveway. Cross over a stile onto a clay path, sandwiched between private farmland and native bush. This access corridor is quite overgrown with bracken, lancewood and patches of gorse. After 10 mins you link up with the old bulldozer track which penetrates the regenerating manuka, tree-ferns and pockets of podocarp: rimu, miro, totara and tanekaha are all abundant.
Arriving on the new North-South Track (0:40), pass the turnoff to Aongatete Lodge (0:55) then climb up and over a rutted clay track and drop down into the Aongatete Stream watershed. Look carefully for a tree, marked with yellow tape. () A small sign says you are standing 255m above the Kaimai Rail Tunnel, (which incidentally, is 8.9-km long.)
Jumping across 3 small tributaries, ford the Aongatete Stream at the forks. This is dangerous in high river flows. A stiff climb out of the valley. The forest here is more open, full of brown and black tree-fern and groves of Nikau palm.
Top out onto a broad ridge with views across to the vertical ramparts of the main range, further west. The well-marked track continued across an undulating plateau. Look out for a tiny watercourse. () Ten minutes past this, a small creek flows into a larger, bouldery stream. Cross, and an easy track follows this on the true left. ()
Three minutes past this confluence, look out for a single orange plastic tie around an average-looking tree, on your right. It’s very easy to miss. Directly behind the tree, framed with ponga logs, an old grave site had a large rock headstone, and a pair of animal skulls for decoration. This is an unmarked junction, the start of the old Puketutu Track. ()
Cross the small bouldery stream behind the grave. Begin bush-bashing through a forest of ferns. Find a few plastic ties on ponga trees, and follow them up the slope. You should start seeing old white permolat markers on bigger trees.
Half an hour up, once on the main ridge, the Puketutu track merges into the old overgrown North-South Track. A small clearing provides good views back to the
The watertank was working when I visited, but you should always carry water despite this. There’s 2 pink mattresses, and one scungy bit of foam. The loo and fireplace are in order. The view is fantastic across the Bay. I reckon that sunrises would be best during winter months, when the sun emerges from the east in front of the hut.
The visitor book was falling apart – not surprisingly, as the initial entry was in 1997. It’s mostly hunters who frequent this corner of the country, usually by helicopter. The reason why Puketutu Hut is not listed on the DOC website, (alongside Kauritatahi, Motutapere, Hurunui and Mangamuka), is that the Maori Trustees own this ‘hunting block’. All credit to them: they ARE doing the up-keep, and irregularly do repairs.
Intrepid trampers had followed the old track for 5-6 hours along the high plateau to Kauritatahi Hut, but found the route very overgrown. Again, water should be carried. This would be an arduous 3-day loop back to your car at
Permission to use Puketutu Hut:
Phone Leith Carmichael : Home: (07) 888 6441 or Cell: (027) 499 6492.
Track time: 4-5 hours to Puketutu Hut.
Alternative access is via the
Map: Morrinsville T14
BOP Tramper The skulls were completely gone when visiting Puketutu Hut this Waitangi Weekend.
However last summer, they were still present, easy to walk past if you dont know what to look for. The tape was all gone on the other side of the river marking the track also.
I tied some tape around a tree near the animal grave, to find it gone the next morning!
I can only assume that DOC would remove the tape and/or the skulls to discourage people from using the track. It would be interesting to know who placed the animal grave there in the first place, it appears quite old, the ponga logs have almost completley decayed away.
On the subject of Puketutu Hut, i met a DOC worker while at the Tui Mine last year, we got talking and he said how he built most of the huts in the Kaimais for goat control when he worked for the NZFS, i asked him about puketutu hut, and he said they deliberately built it on the private land, as it was "the best location" to build it! lol
It was never built on private land by mistake as DOC claim.
10 February 2012
pmcke The pink tie opposite the animal grave is no longer there either. You need to cross the stream just upstream of the grave. You cross a flat bare rock area beside the stream. Pick up the pad in the bush and you will see old permolats to confirm you are on the right track. There are a few windfalls obscuring the track so take care
27 February 2011
bigpaul The yellow marker is no longer there but the mock grave is easy to miss as ledge says but experienced trampers will recognise when they have passed it.
10 July 2010
pmcke Great route guide. The only points I have to add is that there doesn't seem to be an orange plastic tie at the animal grave any more, we just spied the grave itself. From the grave the track starts on the opposite side of the stream about 20m upstream. There is a pink tie around a tree on the opposite bank. About 100m before the first view point at the top of the ridge there is a single yellow triangle. This marks the start of the track that drops directly down on the Waikato side.
10 August 2009
ledge Ta for the comments, guys.
DOC finally emailed me with the Maori Trustee's contact, Leith. Read the revised Route Description for full details.
NZFS apparently built Puketutu Hut on private land BY MISTAKE! It's just off the park boundary by a matter of metres - I was told to check out the NEW Kaimai Parkmap. Leith said the hut is now 'theirs' as it was built on private land.
5 February 2009
Benbran Excellent description of the track, though we managed the walk in 3h 15min including breaks. When i contacted DOC about this hut, I was told that without permission I should not be using this facility... though of course did so anyway.
The place is reguarly used though and has an amazing view from the doorstep, and is proberly my favourite of the "forgotten five" mentioned below.
31 January 2009
ledge Cheers, pmcke.
I'm waiting for Tga DOC to tellme just who now 'owns' Puketutu Hut, and overgrown ridge track up it. App. some local iwi trustees. However, it's right on the Forest Park boundary, and clearly WAS A DOC HUT once (or NZDA hut)... as it's identical to some of the other 'forgotten five' on the old Nth-Sth Track.
DoC told me that these other 4 WILL BE MARKED on the NEW Kaimai Parkmap. It's at the printers over the next few weeks.
29 January 2009
pmcke The reason that Puketutu is not on the DOC web site is because it isn't a DOC hut and isn't on DOC land.
Some of the other huts like Kauritatahi were not maintained and were flagged for removal. However, probably because of objections by the traming and hunting community, these huts were never actually removed. Some work has been done on Kauritatahi by private interests and I guess while this goes on DOC will just not get around to removing them.
26 January 2009