The track can be walked from either direction but is easiest from the Mangahao road end.
Starting from Shannon follow Mangahao Road past Mangaore village and the Mangahao power station. Follow the narrow and winding road for 6 km to the saddle and a 1 km descent to the Tokomaru Valley road junction on the left which leads to the start of Burton's track. From the junction drive a further 2.4 km, past the Arapeti (Tokomaru #3) dam. 400 m past the Tararua Forest Park sign is a small parking area. This is the start of the track.
Starting from Levin at the end of Queen Street East follow Gladstone Road for 8 km passing the Levin water treatment works and the Gladstone Road Reserve. On the right is Poads Road crossing the Ohau River. Continue along Gladstone Road and 300 m past the Makahika Outdoor Centre on the left is the eastern entrance to the Arapaepae Lookout Trail. It is a further 1.9 km along Gladstone Road Poulton Drive junction to the carpark and start of the track.
Know before you go
Several stream crossings are required.
Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process (external site) on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.
Source: Department of Conservation