The Atiwhakatu Valley is one of the most scenic walks in the Tararua Forest Park. Located in the Mt Holdsworth area near Masterton…Holdsworth is a particular favourite of mine, offering great day walks and multi day walks for the keen tramper. The trek up the valley to the Atiwhakatu Hut is an easy walk and suited to walkers of all abilities…definitely a great family walk. Depending on fitness levels this will take 3-6 hours return and is 14 K’s in distance.
Mt Holdsworth Car Park to Atiwhakatu Hut 7 km, 1.5 to 3 hours
The Department of Conservation (DOC) have done a great job in maintaining the tracks in this area…the track to Atiwhakatu Hut is very easy to follow…its not your typical Taraura tramping track and it reminds me of the trails of the Great Walks…the track is well formed with all the side streams bridged…it could be called the valley of the bridges as there are quite a few of them. However always take a map with you or print the one below, there are a number of signpost junctions along the way.
From the carpark follow the gravel track to Holdsworth Lodge, 2 minutes. From the lodge continue on and take the footbridge across the Atiwhakatu Stream. This is a great spot for a photo…once across follow the track through the towering Rimu and Northern Rata trees, there’s a nice mixture of trees and ferns here…also prominent are the Red and Silver Beech. 15 minutes of walking brings you to the first track junction. Stay on the Atiwhakatu Valley Track and follow to Donnelly Flats, there are camping spots and places to picnic here. At the end of the flats the track climbs to another junction, turn right and continue the short climb as the track sidles a gorgy area of the Atiwhakatu Stream. Views of the valley and the peaks above will begin to emerge with a couple of footbridges over side streams and then another track junction. This is considered the half way point, continue along the valley for 10 minutes brings you to another footbridge, this crosses the Holdsworth Creek. This is a great alternative walk if you don’t have the time to go onto the Hut.
From here the track continues along the valley….there’s a slip not far along, be careful as the track traverses across it…it can be slippery. The track levels out somewhat with a couple more bridges to cross before reaching the Atiwhakatu Hut.
Turn off State Highway 2, just south of Masterton onto Norfolk Road. When this road becomes Mt Holdsworth Road, continue following it for about 15km’s until its end. Here you will find camping grounds and toilet facilities. If you would like to know more about camping fees, visit the Holdsworth Camping website. For hot showers and a little more comfort Holdsworth Lodge offers good facilities.
What to Take
I suggest taking some warm clothes, food and drink. There are plenty of streams to refill drink bottles and Atiwhakatu Hut has a water tank.
- A waterproof jacket or raincoat
- Sturdy and comfortable footwear
- Thermal and fleece clothing for warmth
- Hat and gloves
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- An emergency First Aid Kit
- A map
Check my post on what to take hiking, with helpful links to apparel and equipment.
To print the above map, click on mapometer.com at the top of the map. The printing and PDF option at the bottom of this page will print or download the post except the map. Once you’ve clicked on mapometer, the link will take you to the printing or export option. If mapometer asks for your location decline, otherwise it will take you to your location and not the above map. This map gives great information for getting to the start of the track, however it’s only a guide of the route, for more detail on the track click on the topomap below, this can also be printed.
Expect some variation in times depending on conditions and personal fitness levels. This is a 14 kilometre walk…a fit walker will walk this much quicker, hence the 3-6 hour time. Please provide feedback if this time needs to be adjusted. I’ve graded this an easy/medium walk. The tracks are well defined and well marked, the stream crossings are bridged and the duration of this walk is less than 6 hours. Where as, a hard walk is one that is more than 6 hours, will have longer steeper climbs, have river crossings and requires good navigational skills.
Have a great walk 🙂