The second of three main trails we hiked during our time in New Zealand, the 42 Traverse was a 2-day walk through the quiet Tongariro Forest.
Often used by 4WDs, hunters, mountain bikers, motorbikes, horse riders, and fishermen, the 42 Traverse is also used by hikers; particularly those who are hiking the Te Araroa trail.
The 46km long track “gets its name from the original ‘State Forest 42′” and is typically approached from the southern end near the Tongariro National Park.
However, for most TA hikers and hikers in general (including ourselves), we started the track from a small town called Owhango.
This way of doing it is typically considered the harder way because you are gradually heading uphill despite the many downhill sections.
In saying that, at no point could I see our group really struggling with the track itself.
It follows an old logging track through the natural forest and has amazing views of various surrounding valleys.
As it is an old logging track, you can probably imagine that the paths are rather wide which allows for hikers to hike side-by-side.
Now, if you ever happen to get a topo map of the 42 Traverse, you will probably notice that there are no campsites marked on the map.
While there are no official campsites in the area, there are plenty of open grassy areas on the side of the track that could fit 1-2 tents.
We got incredibly lucky and found quite a large area to camp at that was off the trail and close to a nearby stream.
It’s incredibly convenient as it has plenty of room for tents (I’m talking at least five) and the stream is easily accessible.
From memory, this campsite was located at the 25km mark of the track.
Furthermore, on the second day, we did see a few man-made huts that were located at the end of side tracks as you head towards the Kapoors Road end.
Once you exit the ‘official’ forest area, you’ll find yourself in a wide open area called the Slab Road car park.
From here, head south-east on the metalled Kapoors Road and this will lead you to the official start of the 42 Traverse.
42 Traverse Highlights
- The views are absolutely incredible. Unfortunately, they could have been better on the second day.
- If you get sun and clear skies on both days, you should be able to clearly see the Tongariro National Park and its volcanic mountains.
- The various river crossings are a good circuit breaker. We did have a storm come through the day before we started, but the river was slow enough for us to cross at knee height.
- The varying terrain and the challenge that comes with it.
Overall, the 42 Traverse was fantastic to do but, for mine, it probably ranked third in comparison to the Timber Trail and the hike to Mount Ruapehu.