Sledge Track and Harding's Park loops

Nestled in the heart of the Kahuterawa Valley, the Kahuterawa Recreation Hub is just a 25-minute drive from Palmy, offering a stunning and varied adventure past towering trees, rocky waterfalls and historic mining relics.

Image of a pond reflecting the blue sky and mountains around it

We’re encouraging everyone to be safe around our awa (river) this summer.

Water Safety NZ says anyone near our awa should follow these handy tips to keep you and your whānau safe.

Wait 72 hours after rainfall before entering the river

Rivers are changeable and unpredictable – particularly after heavy rainfall. Riverbanks can also become unstable during and after heavy rain.

Check weather forecasts including rainfall in the hills above that could fill the streams and rivers where you are.

Look before you leap – check for hazards

Upstream, downstream and where you’re swimming. Rivers contain hidden dangers and swimming holes can change depths from summer to summer.

Always enter feet first and establish an exit point before you enter.

Keep looking

  • Can you see the bottom?
  • Is it deep enough for jumping or diving?
  • Does the riverbed drop away close to the edge?
  • Could you handle the current if you got swept away?

Rivers can be dangerous for a number of reasons

  • They can be very cold.
  • They are affected by the weather and can rise and fall quickly. 
  • The current can be strong even if the river looks calm and the water is slow moving. 
  • A person doesn’t float as well in river water as they do in sea water; someone in a river current will use a lot of energy to keep themselves afloat. 
  • There are often hidden objects.

Signs of an unsafe river 

  • Water moving faster than normal walking pace. 
  • Discoloured, cloudy water.
  • Visible debris such as tree branches, rocks and logs.

A safe rescue is a land-based rescue

Dial 111 immediately if you see anyone in danger, so emergency services can get there as soon as possible.

If someone is being swept downstream, the only safe rescue is a land-based rescue. Do not enter the river after them. It is unlikely you will be able to reach them to help them and you may need to be rescued yourself.

  • Follow the person in trouble down the riverbank.
  • Find a safe place where the person may be able to swim towards the bank.
  • Use an object like a tree branch to reach out over the river.
  • Encourage the person in trouble to grab the branch or paddle and hang on.
  • Pull them to the riverbank and help them out.

If you cannot rescue the person safely from the bank:

  • Encourage the person to turn on their back and float feet first down the river
  • If practical, throw the person a buoyant object like a bucket, chilly bin or ball that they can hang onto and use to keep themselves afloat. 

Learn more about how to keep you and your whanau safe in, on and around the water

Download the translated posters

These are translated posters of the water safety information.

They are available in different languages. Download and share them with your friends.

English(PDF, 480KB)  Burmese(PDF, 541KB) Dari(PDF, 528KB) Dzongkha(PDF, 535KB) Karen(PDF, 531KB)

For all these adventures, do not cross Black Bridge but stay to the left of the Kahuterawa Stream as you walk beyond the end of the road.

Sledge Track

If you are after something easy, or are with young children, the first section of this track is for you.

You will come across a popular swimming hole and if the kids are keen, you can push on to Argyle Rocks. Another 15 minutes gets you to the swing bridge. Cross here into Arapuke Forest Park. Otherwise continue on to longer loop tracks in Harding’s Park. The trails beyond here are recommended for those who are fit, prepared and ready for a challenge.

At the next junction, 200m beyond the bridge, go left to Toe Toe and Otangane Loop Tracks. Go right towards Quartz Creek for the Aruwaru Loop Track.

Otangane Loop Track

This 8.5km loop from the swing bridge heads west then south across Harding’s Park and into Tararua Forest Park, completing a circuit around the headwaters of the Otangane Stream.

Get your camera out as the view from Pukenaenae offers spectacular views down into the Tararua District.

Three people walking through native bush.

Naenae Road connection

A 1.7km side track off the Otangane Loop takes you down a paper road to the end of Naenae Road in the Tararua District.

Toe Toe Loop Track

This loop takes you from Toe Toe Junction, north through Harding’s Park to an area where prospector Alexander Menesdorfer searched for platinum ore in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The main loop returns via the Toe Toe Flats (spectacular in Feb/Mar). It is wise to keep to the marked track as there may be undiscovered mine shafts in the vicinity.

Aruwaru Loop Track

This track is a tough 10km circuit from the swing bridge, climbing south to the Aruwaru trig at 767m above sea level before turning west and heading back to Sledge Track via part of the Otangane Loop.

Walking times

  • Black Bridge to Swimming hole (one way): 10-15 minutes
  • Black Bridge to Argyle Rocks (one way): 20-30 minutes
  • Black Bridge to Arapuke swing Bridge (one way): 40-60 minutes
  • Sledge Track and Toe Toe Loop (return): 5-6 hours
  • Sledge Track and Otangane Loop:(return) 6-7 hours
  • Platinum Mines loop (off the end of Toe Toe loop): 30 minutes
  • Tararua crossing - Naenae Road to Kahuterawa Road: 4-5 hours
Graphic of person walking a dog on a lead.
Dogs must be on leash
Image of the map of Sledge Track