By: Christopher Cookson
Wakamarina Track is one of several walking tracks in Mount Richmond Forest Park. Access is from Butchers Flat at the end of the Wakamarina Road. The first part of the track to Devils Creek Hut is an easy grade suitable for families, and also an easy ride for mountainbikers, with the first section of track a four wheel drive track. The track follows the Wakamarina River, rising gradually from about 100m at Butchers Flat to about 200m at Devils Creek Hut. Estimated walking time to Devils Creek Hut is two hours.
After Devils Creek Hut, the track climbs steeply to over 1000m, then follows the contours to Fosters Clearing. From here the track drops down to Kiwi Road on the Wairau side of the Richmond Range. The Kiwi Road end of the track is frequently closed due to commercial forestry operations, so it pays to check the current status with DOC, as a return trip may be necessary.
Sandflies are prolific around the Wakamarina River, so plenty of insect repellent is a must, especially if you intend to start or finish the track with a picnic or overnight camp at Butchers Flat. The track itself is quite well sheltered as it passes through native bush, but in summer it's still a good idea to use sunscreen, as there are open sections of the track.
In addition to the main Wakamarina Track, there are several other tracks, with the Doom Creek loop track branching off the main track before reaching Devils Creek Hut, while from Devils Creek Hut there is a short, stone huts track following the contours to a derelict hut. From Devils Creek Hut, it is also possible to climb Mount Royal (1365m). This route involves climbing over 1000m vertically from the Devils Creek Hut in about 4km, so is more suitable for people with a good level of fitness.