Also known as Mt Hobson
Mt Hobson, or Hirakimata, is the highest point of Great Barrier Island, which is the largest island off the North Island’s coast. Only hours from Auckland, Great Barrier Island is a true wilderness area, with black petrel nesting areas, spectacular rocky bluffs, and a superb coastline. A daywalk up Hirakimata can take you past the Kaiaraara kauri dam, through andesitic rock bluffs, or both (if you arrange transport for a pickup).
|Location/List||North Island, New Zealand|
|Location Coordinates||36? 11′ 11″ S, 175? 24′ 46″ E|
|Nearest Town/s||Gt Barrier, Auckland
You will need to catch either a ferry or a plane to get the island of Great Barrier.
- Fullers (passenger) – View Timetable – 2.5 hours $130 adult return, departs Downtown Auckland Ferry terminal.
- Sealink (passenger and car) – View Timetable – 4.5 hours, departs Wynyard Wharf, Auckland City.
There is more information on these services, and the numerous shuttle services available on the island, at the excellent Official Great Barrier website transport page.
Google Earth Map
- You can also
NZ Topographic Map
Our Recommended Route
Mt Hobson is actually at the apex of numerous tracks, so there is no shortage of routes to the summit. However, the shortest option follows Palmers Track, and leaves from the summit of Whangapoua Hill/Aotea Rd.
Only a few moments from the road, you will arrive at the Windy Canyon Lookout, before climbing up through the the andesitic rock bluffs of Windy Canyon to central ridge. You will continue along the ridge all the way to the summit, which is about 3 hours from the start point.
At this point you can either return the way you came, or, if you have prearranged transport to collect you from Kaiaraara Bay Rd, you can take the track down to Kaiaraara Hut. After descending some wooden stairs, you will sidle down the valley until you reach the signposted side trip to Kaiaraara kauri dam (built in 1926). After the side trip, continue on down through the lush forest to the Kaiaraaea Hut (40 bunks, camping spaces). From here it’s about another 30 minutes out to the road end along a 4WD roadway.
Due to it’s location amongst a network of tracks, there are a number of options for bagging Hirakimata. As well as the return day walks from Aotea Rd or Kaiaraara Bay Rds, you can also use the Kaiaraara Hut to overnight in. If you are staying in Port Fitzroy, you might be able to arrange transport to the Windy Canyon track, and then walk all the way back to Port Fitzroy itself. Another option might be to try the Coopers Castle route (starts from the top of Port Fitzroy/Okiwi Hill), and then loop back to Kaiaraara Hut via the South Fork track. Contact the Great Barrier Area DOC office (+64 9 429 0044) for more information.
Weather and Webcam Links
|North Island Weekend Tramps (Bird’s Eye Guides), Shaun Barnett. (2008), See pages 19-21|
|Tramping in New Zealand, Shaun Barnett, Craig Potton Publishing (2006). See pages 104-105|
|101 Great Tramps in New Zealand, Mark Pickering and Rodney Smith, Reed Publishing NZ Ltd. (2004), See pages 39-41|