Tauherenikau Gorge Track
A number of Tararua Forest hikes are accessible from just outside the small towns that sit at the base of the Remutaka Ranges. On this occasion, we decided to explore Tauherenikau Gorge Track and River. Track access is at the end of Bucks Road, about 8 kms northeast from Featherston.
From the carpark, there are two track entrances; one simply says “River Access” and the other is nameless, but sports a sign on fishing regulations for the region. We took the River Access track, which immediately zig-zagged up the side of a hill to a high point at about 300m. From there, the path continues on back down the side of the gorge towards the river. Note that the path is very rough, crossing streams and waterfalls, and proper hiking boots will make this hike much more enjoyable for its three-hour-long return trip.
The wildlife was fantastic – kererū landed shockingly close to us, and we enjoyed tūī song and pīwakawaka following us much of the way. But the real treat is at the far end of the track – a pristine river beach, replete with mossy boulders and driftwood. We would recommend taking a picnic and spending some time in this spot before heading back up and over the hill to the carpark.
The only other human we saw on the track, a local with a gang of hunting dogs, mentioned that although there is no loop track back along the river, you can bring a blow-up floating device and cruise back to the car park along the river currents – apparently this takes a couple of hours and sounded perfect for a summer afternoon.