Day Three: The Shearers Quarters to Whakapata Cottage
Degree of difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 11 - 13kms - 3.5 - 4hrs
Today your intrepid journey takes you inland back to Whakapata Cottage. Initially you follow the volatile Oterei river, a raging torrent in winter and dry in summer, to Bush Gate. From here you enter a typical example of regenerating New Zealand bush. Cleared in the forties, but proving almost impossible to keep clear, the land was ring fenced 35 years ago and has reverted to what you see now. There are over 50 labelled species of trees and plants to note along this section, including towering Punga and majestic Beech.
Whitehead Point is the Boundary of Greentops and Brown Hill. This track takes you through another excellent example of regenerating bush - a prime habitat of Red and Fellow deer. A steep descent will find you crossing the aptly named Poacher’s Creek. The abundant Manuka in this area has recently become another source of income thanks to the Manuka Honey industry.
You will descend and cross the creek at various points for some time before reaching Squealer’s Track – a gut busting final climb from the creek to the ridge. The undulating ridge will lead you to the end of the gully where you will cross Sky’s Bridge and head for the Final Over. Once out on the road the flat 1km back to Whakapata Cottage is the perfect warm down before enjoying a cuppa and shower. Your bags will have arrived at Whakapata Cottage no later than 1pm. Say your final Goodbyes and hit the road, taking lots of great new memories with you!