The historic Wangapeka Track crosses the Kahurangi National Park from Karamea on the West Coast to the Rolling River Carpark in the Waimea Basin near Tapawera.
The Wangapeka Track was constructed after gold was discovered in the Wangapeka Valley by geologist Dr Ferdinand Von Hochsetter in 1859 and was built in stages between 1862 and 1899 by unemployed men and gold diggers keen to exploit the gold reserves in the valley.
The track is 59 kilometres long and a high level of fitness and tramping experience is recommended as there are two 1,000 meter saddles along the track and the huts are basic and do not have gas or cooking facilities. The track is rough, unformed steep in places and can be muddy after rain. The Department of Conservation recommends trampers be completely self-sufficient, carry enough food for several extra days and that Wangapeka Track trampers have a high level of backcountry skills, including navigation and survival capabilities. GPS locator beacons are also recommended in case of mishap to enable emergency services to reach you quickly and efficiently.
Most people allow four to six days to walk the Wangapeka Track and the Leslie-Karamea Track, which branches off the Wangapeka Track, is longer and will require a six to nine day allowance.
The Leslie-Karamea Track is described by the Department of Conservation as “one of the region’s premier semi-wilderness experiences.”