Location: Pekapeka Bay, Whangaroa Harbour, Northland
Access: Follow the Wairakau Stream track, which is 5.6km each way to Lane Cove hut. The sign says it takes 2 hours but we took just under 3 hours each way. My 3 year old who is tiny (the size of a 1 year old) refused to be carried so walked most of the way. Could definitely be done quicker depending on the ages of children etc. I thought the track was a really good one for kids. It was safe, no issues about kids going off the edges etc like I a few other tracks we have done before. There are two main river crossing (more stream than river). These were so fun for the kids as they weren’t too big or scary and there were plenty off rocks to step over. There are also quite a few obstacles for the kids to get over during the track like a few small muddy/rocky areas, some fallen branches, quite a few tree roots that need to be climbed over. It all made the hike more exciting and more of an adventure. Also worth mentioning you can boat into the hut and I have heard quite a few families have got their gear boated into the hut and then walked in to make it a bit easier.
Hut: The hut was basic but good. It has 16 beds, 2 bedrooms then a main room. One bedroom sleeps 9, the other sleeps 5, with 2 more beds in the main area where the kitchen/dining is. There is no cooker but there were a few pots and a few cups and cutlery. Running water available by tap but needs to be boiled. The hut is right on the water, sitting on the deck gives amazing views. When we arrived the water was out so we went out to the water but did find it quite muddy and rocky so not so good for swimming. Once the water came in all the way to the hut my kids love throwing rocks and shells from the steps by the hut into the water. There is a cold shower available and 2 toilets to the side of the hut. Bring your own toilet paper. We thought it was a great family friendly hut 🙂
NB: Bookings required and Backcountry Passes/tickets can not be used. River crossings to be aware of depending on weather.
Visited by Fleur Hietala and family Oct 2020.