Te Mata Peak

The following description is taken from www.newzealand.com

Te Mata Peak is at the western boundary of the wine-producing Heretaunga Plains and stands nearly 400 metres above sea level. From the summit of the peak you can enjoy panoramic views of the Ruahine, Kaweka and Maungaharuru Ranges and Cape Kidnappers. The volcano Ruapehu, in the centre of Tongariro National Park, is also visible on a clear day.

The nature trails on Te Mata Peak are great for hikers and mountain bikers. It’s an excellent cardio workout going up, but the huge views make the exertion totally worthwhile. Other hiking and biking trails in the Te Mata Trust Park lead through forest and along limestone valleys.

The Te Mata hillscape has an amazing story to tell: Many centuries ago the people living in pa (fortified villages) on the Heretaunga Plains were under constant threat of war from the coastal tribes of Waimarama. At a gathering in Pakipaki (near Hastings), a wise old woman (kuia) suggested that the leader of the Waimarama tribes, a giant named Te Mata, could be made to fall in love with Hinerakau – the daughter of a Pakipaki chief – and turn his thoughts from war to peace. This mission was quickly accomplished, and Te Mata fell under the spell of the beautifully Hinerakau.

However the people of Heretaunga had not forgotten the past and wanted revenge. They demanded that Hinerakau make Te Mata prove his devotion by accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks. His last task was to bite through the hills between the coast and the plains, so that people could come and go with greater ease.

Te Mata died while eating his way through the hills. His half-accomplished work can be seen in what is known as The Gap or Pari Karangaranga (echoing cliffs) and his prostrate body forms Te Mata Peak.

List Status Unofficial
Elevation 399 m (1,309 ft)
Location/List North Island, New Zealand
Region Hawkes Bay
Location Coordinates 39° 42′ 9″ S, 176° 54′ 36″ E
Nearest Town/s Havelock North, Hastings
LINZ Topographic map/s BK39 Hastings
Recommended Route
Duration Help.gif 1-2 hours (loop)
Distance 4 km (2.5 mi)
Start/End Points 2nd car park
Difficulty Help.gif Easy
Track conditions Help.gif Road, Track
Season Help.gif all year
Sights Views
Hazards High winds, Exposed track/risk of falling, Lack of signage
Number of Geocaches 5

Getting There

From Havelock North center follow Te Mata Peak Rd for approx 1km to Simla Ave. Turn right into Simla ave and follow until it turns into Te Mata Peak Rd. Follow until you reach the second car park past the main entrance. Te Mata Peak is well signposted from Havelock North.

Google Earth Map

Our Recommended Route

There are many tracks through the Te Mata Trust Park to walk, but I would suggest starting at the second car park past the entrance (200m past the Peak House Restaurant). The Peak Trail starts a little bit further up the road. The Peak Trail, while steep is only about 15-20 mins to the summit. From the summit (after some time to take in the spectacular views) continue along the peak trail as is descends down the southern ridge of the mountain. Eventually the Peak Trail will end in a grove of redwood trees, and from here you can follow the Te Mata Trail back up to the start point.

Te Mata Peak is not a difficult climb, and is suitable for people of all levels of fitness. It is steep in places, but most people should be able to complete the loop in 1-1 and a half hours. However, the views are spectacular. There are many sheer drops around the loop which afford you a feeling of great height, more so than some higher, more difficult climbs. This is what peak bagging is all about, so take the time to enjoy the scenery. For a greater challenge, start at the first car park, or from Havelock North center if you are really keen.

Please note, the trails are poorly signposted, and there are many trails on the mountains that are not marked on any maps. While it is easy to see the trail, it is not always clear which trail you are on. Consult a map first if you are unfamiliar with the area. There is a good map at the park entrance which clearly describes the main trails.


There are many shear drops around the peak trail, and while the cliffs are well fenced on the walk up to the summit, the southern ridge is not always fenced. It can be windy at times. It can also be extremely hot during summer, so remember to take some water.