Over night tramp over the Richmond Ranges, following the old goldminers trail from the Wakamarina Valley to the Wairau Valley.
The Wakamarina track is an old gold mining track formed in 1871 that crosses the Richmond Ranges between the Wairau Valley and the Wakamarina valley, you can access the track from either end to do a range of walks and mountain biking tracks.
We headed off for an overnight tramp with the kids, starting at the Wairau Valley end, past Onamalutu Domain, over to the Devils Creek hut for the night and out to Butchers Flat at the Wakamarina Valley the following day.
We started by heading from the Kiwi Road end car park up to Fosters clearing then up the side track to Foster hut where we stopped for lunch.
This part of the track is very popular with mountain bikers so make sure you keep an ear out for them heading your way, it it rather steep with just a few level patches along the way.
You get some amazing views looking out to the Wairau Valley and once you reach Fosters Hut there is an incredible area that you can see for miles up the valley from.
This section of the track from Kiwi Road end to Foster Hut took us about 2hrs, This would make for a great small overnight tramp for kids that has a bit more of a challenge to it. It also makes for a good day hike as well.
After a bite to eat we headed off from Foster hut to Devils Creek hut, this track would zig zag us up a steep track along the Devils creek - Fosters creek ridge to 1066 meters above sea level. This very steep climb was definitely a more technical track and took us about 2hrs to summit, the bush along the way as stunning almost prehistoric looking at times. Near the summit and for the first 30min or so starting to head down the track is not clearly formed, you need to take great care in this part to make sure you site the orange markers as you go.
In the fog I can imagine this part of the track to be rather difficult to make your way from each marker as visibility would be very low. After our two hour climb to the summit we then made the two hour descent down in to Devils creek. Lots of tree roots and rocks and a continuance down hill for 2hrs straight definitely took its toll on the legs and we were all very happy to see the hut sign!!.
On this section of track not far from the track to the hut is a deviation to some old stone rock huts, we did not go and check this side track out on this trip as we were all very keen to get to the hut. But we definitely want to head back to check it out another trip. According to DOC the stone hut side track takes about 1.5hrs.
Devils creek hut is a small 4 bunk hut, we were lucky it was empty so did not have to put our tents up. There is a very large camping area around the hut with plenty of room for tents, there is also a very neat old gold miners hut just behind the DOC hut to check out as well.
After a great nights sleep we headed out the following day from Devils creek hut to Butchers Flat.
This was a short 2hr walk out most of which was flat walking, you can take a side track out called the Doom walk adding and extra 1.5-2hrs to your walk if you would like.
Alternatively the Doom Walk makes for a good day walk on its own or as a overnighter looping it and carrying on down to Devils creek hut for the night.
The last section of the walk out is on a 4WD track which is popular for hunters, in the winter months this can get very icy and slippery so do take care.
This was one of the more challenging walks we had done with our kids but very rewarding as well with beautiful views along the way and some stunning vast and varying bush.
I would definitely class this as an intermediate tramp you would be best to have a bit of experience under your belt before doing this one, especially if you plan to take kids with you.
The Wakamaraina track is also dog friendly, we applied for a dog permit from DOC to be able to take our dog along with us. There are no dog kennels at the hut but there is a small covered porch at the front door they can be tied up to for the night.
" This tramp was hard but I liked it, the hut at Devils creek was really cool!" Meika O'Donnell Aged 8yrs
What to Bring
- Insect repellent.
- Ability to filter water.
- Good sturdy footwear, boots would be best for ankle protection.
- Full gear, check out Mountain Safety's website for the best advice on gear to pack.
- PLB, always carry some form of emergency device when tramping.
Time and Distance
- Kiwi Road end to Fosters Hut, 2hrs
- Fosters Hut to Devils Creek Hut, 4hrs
- Devils Creek Hut to Butchers Flat, 2hrs
Total km's for full trip approximately 27km
Advanced tramp for kids between Fosters Hut and Devils Creek Hut, make sure you are confident in you child's ability before taking them into this area.
Track is free to walk, Hut passes at time of trip were $5 each for each adult, kids free.
Purchase your hut passes from DOC before you leave for your tramp.
- Dogs can be taken on this walk with a permit, you can apply for these at DOC.
- Toilets at both Foster and Devils Creek hut
- Water at both Fosters and Devils Creek hut but needs to be filtered before use