Kapakapanui Hut Track is a challenging but enjoyable walk on the edge of the Tararua Ranges. It’s ideal for keen trampers looking for a full-day walk or people wanting to stay overnight in Kapakapanui Hut.
The trail begins with several stream crossings so prepare to get your feet wet. You cannot cross the Ngatiawa River after heavy rain so plan your trip and check the weather forecast before you go.
The trail then climbs uphill and after one kilometre you’ll reach the turn-off for the loop.
You can walk up to the hut in either direction — it is well-marked along the way.
If you choose to go left (clockwise) to reach the hut, the track opens up to a flat meadow, which is great for a picnic lunch. After a quick stop, continue to the summit for extensive views of the Tararua Ranges and Kāpiti Coast.
If you choose to head right at the turn-off (anticlockwise) you’ll reach the summit first and then walk down to the hut soon after. The track is steep and challenging in places and requires some scrambling up tree roots.
Keep an eye out for the goblin forest between the hut and the summit. This enchanting section of track is full of stunted, moss-covered trees.