Location: Start from the Renfrew Roadend carpark, near Rangiwahia, Manawatu.
Access: Decent track but steep in parts and a number of sheer faces off the side (which were a bit alarming with my little folk wanting to run) and some scree. Took 3.5 hours up, 3 hours down (marked as 1-3 hours, 4.4km each way) with a couple of stops. 5yo managed fine but 2.5yo wanted carrying about quarter of the way. Recommend 1:1 ratios if your kids are younger as they’ll need close supervision on the steeper bits. The detour around the slip is quite tricky but is mentioned on DoC website so was not a surprise and DoC workers were up there today working on improving it. I probably wouldn’t describe this walk as “family-friendly”, eg there is a beautiful curved bridge over a ravine far below but the gaps on the rails are big enough a kid could fall through! Could so easily be fixed with chicken wire. Track is well defined though, impossible to get lost.
Hut features: Hut was great! Just above the bushline with beaut views and double glazed windows. Wood burner is brand new last week and woodshed is full but wood isn’t seasoned so it didn’t produce a huge amount of heat! Hut is bookable online Oct-April, we booked for a Monday and had it to ourselves. Bunks are single bed rather than marae style (I always want to know that because my co-sleeping kids sleep better in the marae style bunks!). Loos and woodshed painted in beautiful murals by local artists. There is a small area for camping if hut is full.
NB: Hut is on the tops, so is cold (it’s the same elevation as huts we’ve stayed in on Ruapehu). Also to be aware/prepared for the more exposed parts of the track.
Visited by: Bridget Ross and family, Oct 2020.