Traditionally one of the highest points on the formidable ‘Northern Crossing’ of the Tararuas, Arete can be bagged in a return journey if you prefer (although there is little to be gained by doing so). Any trip to the tops of the Tararuas can be a difficult undertaking for the average tramper, but in clear, still weather (which is rare), a trip to the summit of Arete is highly rewarding.

List Status Official
Elevation 1,505 m (4,938 ft)
Location/List North Island, New Zealand
Region Wellington
Location Coordinates 40° 44′ 47″ S, 175° 26′ 2″ E
Nearest Town/s Levin, Eketahuna, Masterton, Wellington
LINZ Topographic map/s BN34 Shannon
Range Tararuas
Geology Sedimentary
Recommended Route
Duration Help.gif 2-3 days (one way)
Distance 34 km (21.1 mi)
Start/End Points Putara Rd/Poads Rd
Difficulty Help.gif Very Hard
Track conditions Track
Season Help.gif Oct to Apr
Sights Views , Tararua tops
Hazards Alpine weather, Mist, High winds, Exposed track/risk of falling

Google Earth Map


NZ Topographic Map

Our Recommended Route

Although it would be possible to bag Arete on a return trip, you may as well take the opportunity to complete an entire crossing of the northern Tararuas from east to west. This is because Arete is located smack bang in the middle of the most direct Northern Crossing route, which starts from Putara Rd on the eastern side, and ends at Poads Rd on the western side. Once at the Arete summit, you could return back down to Putara Rd, but the distance is roughly the same down to Poads Rd, so there is little to be gained by backtracking.

The most direct Northern Crossing route starts from Putara Rd, passes Herepai Hut (10 bunks), then heads up onto the Dundas Ridge, Dundas Hut (6 bunks), and Dundas trig (1500m). The route then continues along the ridge and up the tussock slopes of Arete (1505m). From the summit, the route descends via Te Matawai Hut (20 bunks) and Waiopehu Hut (18 bunks) and finally out at Poads Rd. Shaun Barnett, in his book ‘North Island Weekend Tramps’, gives a comprehensive description of this route over Arete, and as much of it is unmarked, we advise consulting it for detailed directions! See North Island Weekend Tramps, Shaun Barnett, Craig Potton Publishing (2002) pg 123.

The timings for this route are as follows (thanks to ‘North Island Weekend Tramps’)?:

  • Putara Rd to Herepai Hut – 2 hours
  • Herepai Hut to Dundas Hut – 5 to 7 hours
  • Dundas Hut to Arete – 3 hours
  • Arete to Te Matawai Hut – 2.5 hours
  • Te Matawai Hut to Waiopehu Hut – 3 hours
  • Waiopehu Hut to Poads Rd – 3 hours

Height Profile