Ōtaki Forks temporary walking track
As of 21 December 2020 DOC has opened an Ōtaki Forks temporary walking access track. This is good news for trampers wanting to use the Field or Waitewaewae Tracks given the road is unlikely to be open for some time (12 months has been mentioned). So where does the track go?
Park your car near the locked gate on the Ōtaki Forks Road just past Shields Flat. Then walk 300 m along the road to an orange triangle directing you to another gate on your right signed as the emergency track. You follow a short section of 4WD road before a rough track heads parallel to the road through some scrub for about 250 m. Then the serious business begins—the track heads directly up a spur beneath the pines. And it is quite steep. But there are plenty of orange triangles to mark the way and a ground trail is gradually being formed.
About 30 minutes of solid climbing ends on an open ridge and a 5 minute gentle 4WD track to the old logging skid of the 2016 temporary track.
From here the track follows the 2016 track down through pleasant native bush to the old 4WD road that led to the failed hydro dam, and then finally down to the Ōtaki Forks Road again. Another approximately 2 km along the road and you are at the Forks.
Compared to the 2016 temporary track the new one is shorter but steeper so the times from the carpark to the Forks will likely be about the same—somewhere between 2 to 2½ hours each way.