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Gorgeous turquoise rivers, lush forests and natural hot pools are all featured in this short tramp located 25 km's inland from Hokitika.
The track begins at the end of the road by the Toaroha River. Its a bit of hunt for the orange marker indicating the start of the track. Keep left of the river and head upwards until you see a gate.
The first part of the track is part of an old tramway which you need to follow for 2.5km/1 hr. It meanders along the Toaroha river climbing unrelenting above bluffs. The descent to the river provides beautiful views and photo opportunities.
The next leg involves a bit of scrambling and boulder hop for 1.5km/1 hr by the river, crossing 2 sidecreeks and arriving at Macmillan Creek. The next 350m or 2km/1.5 hrs you will follow a pack-track which climbs continually to a spur. From here, the track to Cedar Flats is mostly level for the next 2km/1hr. A long, swingbridge will take you across the Toaroha Gorge/River.
There are 2 huts here. One is an old, rustic job with an open fire-place. The other, a bit more modern with a closed stove fire. Keep an eye out for the weka. The cheeky, little things not only ventured into the hut itself but were also persuaded to eat from my hand.
A short, side trip will take you to the hot pools. Cross back over the swingbridge, to the east bank of the river. Following the rock cairns up Wren Creek will take you about 15mins or 500m. By now, the stench from the sulphur will have hit you in much the same way as a rotten egg in your face. There's a shovel and spade just by the pools (as well as in the hut). Although the water is pretty murky and the pools are small, it does wonders for sore muscles.
If you have have to time to kill, there are three side-trips which are all approximately 6km/6hrs return. The Adventure Bivouac is a lot of fun especially if you're fit. There's also a a side-track to Squall Peak and Yeats Ridge Hut.
If you haven't spotted them already take a short walk down to Wren Creek. With a little luck you'll find the graceful and unfortunately endangered Blue Duck. Alternatively, there's a beautiful, fresh blue gorge which is perfect for a dip, if you don't mind the cold. You'll probably gasp at first but the water is so soft and fresh, you'll emerge feeling like a million dollars.
More photos of the Cedar Flats Track
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