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Tuteremoana (Kapiti Island)

Kapiti Island from Paraparaumu Beach

At only 521m, Tuteremoana?(the highest point of Kapiti Island), may not be one of New Zealand’s highest peaks, but it is certainly one of its most rewarding. Due to its status as a nature reserve, Kapiti Island is home to an impressive range of native New Zealand birds, and you are likely to come in close contact with many of the island’s feathered residents. Unlike many of New Zealand’s other island nature reserves, Kapiti Island is easily accessible as a day trip from Wellington, and if all that wasn’t enough, a trig lookout platform provides 360 degree views.

List Status Official
Elevation 521?m?(1,709?ft)
Location/List North Island, New Zealand
Region Wellington
Location Coordinates 40? 50′ 54″ S, 174? 54′ 55″ E
Nearest Town/s Paraparaumu, Wellington
Geology Sedimentary
Recommended Route
Duration Help.gif 4 hours (return)
Distance 5.0?km?(3.1?mi)
Start/End Points Paraparaumu Boat Ramp
Difficulty Help.gif Medium
Track conditions Help.gif Path, Track, Mud
Season Help.gif All year
Sights Views, Birds , DOC Ranger talk; Views of Kapiti Coast, Tararuas, & Kapiti Island.
Hazards High winds , Can be slippery

Getting There

Obtain a Kapiti Island permit

To visit Kapiti Island, you first must obtain a permit from the Department of Conservation (only 50 are available each day). To book your permit, you can use the excellent online DOC Kapiti Island permit booking system, or phone DOC at +64 4 384 7770.

Permits cost $11 for adults, and $5 for children, but make sure you check DOC Kapiti Island for the latest information.

Boat Bookings

Once you have your permit confirmed, you need to book space on one of the two boat operators that service Kapiti Island. Both services stop at the North End of the island, as well as at Rangatira Point, which is where the trig tracks start from.

For boat bookings contact:

You will need to phone the boat operators on the morning of the journey, to check that conditions are okay for the crossing (they will give you instructions when you book). Be warned however, that even on a calm day, the the trip across to the island can be an exhilarating experience! The return afternoon journey is typically much smoother though, so you can relax and enjoy your day on the island.

Both boat services depart from the Kapiti Boating Club in Paraparaumu. After exiting State Highway 1 at Paraparaumu, follow Kapiti Rd all the way to Paraparaumu Beach. Turn left at the roundabout on to Marine Parade, and then turn right straight afterwards across to the free carpark near the boat club.

Public Transport to Kapiti Boating Club

You can catch the Paraparaumu line train from Wellington to Paraparaumu station, and then connect with the number 71 bus ( see timetable (PDF)) from Paraparaumu Station to Paraparaumu Beach. Visit Metlink for more information on trains and buses.

Google Earth Map

NZ Topographic Map

Our Recommended Route

After your boat lands, you need to make your way to the DOC shelter to listen to the DOC introductory talk. From the beach, follow the sign to the right, and head around to the shelter about 400 metres away from the beach where you landed. (If in doubt, just follow the crowds off the boats, or ask the captain where to go.)

Just before the shelter, you will notice two huge pots. These were used by whalers, for boiling down blubber. In the shelter itself, you will hear the DOC staff explain more about the island’s history, and point out which birds you are likely to see.

Strangely, the way to the trig tracks are not clearly marked from the shelter. However, you simply need to turn right and head past the long drop toilets at the back of the shelter. After a short distance down a grassy pathway (keep an eye out for the rare, and once thought to be extinct, Takah?), you will come to a marker sign indicating both the Wilkinson and Trig Tracks.

Although the Wilkinson Track is the easier and shorter option, we recommend you take the Trig Track up, and then return via Wilkinson Track. As well as creating a loop walk, the tramp up the steep and rough Trig Track gives you more opportunity for getting close to native birds. If you want to do a loop tramp, then this is the way to do it, as coming down the Trig Track would be quite unpleasant (at times it is almost a scramble on the way up).

For about the first hour up the Trig Track, it is a fairly steep clamber through the beautiful temperate rainforest on Kapiti Island’s eastern side. You will eventually come to a Hihi feeding station (and a seat!), and thankfully, the grade becomes slightly more gentle from here on in. Another 20 minutes further up, you will reach the intersection with Wilkinson Track, and there is a picnic table and plenty of seating here. If you haven’t seen any already, Weka like to hang out here.

From the intersection, it is about 20 minutes to the summit. The smell of the long drop indicates you are almost there, and you will emerge into a small clearing with a picnic table (thankfully you can’t smell the longdrop at the summit!). You will immediately notice how quickly the western side of Kapiti Island drops away, so be careful near the edge. Look up behind you, you will see the location of the Tuteremoana Trig, built on top of a lookout structure.

Remember not to feed to the Weka as you eat your lunch in the clearing (even if they are very friendly), and just relax and take in the views.

Allow about two hours to reach the summit via the Trig Track. Even if you can do it faster, make sure you pause often and use your eyes and ears to see what native birds you can spot.

The descent down Wilkinson Track is much easier, and it is more of a well maintained path than a track.

The boats will depart around 3pm, so if you leave at shelter at about 10am, allow 2 hours up, 1 hour at the summit, and at least an hour down (remember to stop and look for birds), you still have about an hour to relax back around the coastline.

Height Profile

Tuteremoana (Kapiti Island)-2d.jpg

Images

700pxKapitiboatwheels.jpg

700pxKapitidocshelter.jpg

544pxKapititakahe.jpg

700pxKapitikakapo.jpg

393pxKapititrigtrack.jpg

700pxKapitiweka.jpg

393pxKapitipath.jpg

700pxKapitiboatleaving.jpg

393pxKapitileaving.jpg

Weather and Webcam Links

External Links

References

Weekendnorth-cover.jpg North Island Weekend Tramps (Bird’s Eye Guides), Shaun Barnett. (2008), See pages 143-146

Daywalks-cover.jpg Day Walks in New Zealand: 100 Great Tracks (Bird’s Eye Guides), Shaun Barnett, Craig Potton Publishing (2007), See pages 92-93

Tutamoe, Mt

Mt Tutamoe is the second highest peak in Northland, and with views to prove that status, it’s an eminently baggable peak!

Further details about hiking to the summit of Mt Tutamoe are available at the DOC Mount Tutamoe page.

List Status Official
Elevation 770?m?(2,526?ft)
Location/List North Island, New Zealand
Region Northland
Location Coordinates 35? 45′ 37″ S, 173? 48′ 7″ E
Nearest Town/s Dargaville
Geology Volcano
Translation tu: to rise up; tamoe: flat top (mountain rising up with a flat top)
Recommended Route
Duration Help.gif 4 hours (return)
Distance 6.2?km?(3.9?mi)
Start/End Points Tangowahine Valley Road
Difficulty Help.gif Easy
Track conditions Help.gif Track
Season Help.gif All year
Sights Forest , Kaihu forest; Views of Dargaville, Kaipara, Maunganui Bluff, Whangarei Heads.
Hazards Wind chill, slippery

Google Earth Map

NZ Topographic Map

Height Profile

Tutamoe, Mt-2d.jpg

Weather and Webcam Links

References

A Dictionary of Maori Placenames, AW Reed, 1982

Tongariro, Mt

Mt Tongariro, looking across Lake Rotoaira

Although lower than nearby Mt Ngauruhoe, Mt Tongariro is actually parent to the child vent of Ngauruhoe. Like Ngauruhoe, Tongariro can be bagged on a sidetrip from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, but unlike Ngauruhoe, this sidetrip is a relatively easy detour. A trip to summit of Mt Tongariro passes near many of the key sights on the Tongariro Crossing, including Red Crater, Blue Lake, and North Crater. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing isn’t one of New Zealand’s most popular tramps for nothing, and bagging Mt Tongariro along the way makes it even better.

Maori Legend Ngatoro-i-rangi was on the summit and at risk of dying from the cold, so he called to his sisters in Hawaiki for fire. His cries travelled on the south winds, and firey eruptions were brought to the mountain.

List Status Official
Elevation 1,967?m?(6,453?ft)
Location/List North Island, New Zealand
Region Central Plateau/Taupo
Location Coordinates 39? 7′ 48″ S, 175? 38′ 7″ E
Nearest Town/s Whakapapa Village, National Park Village, Ohakune, Turangi, Taupo
Geology Volcano
Translation tonga: south wind; riro: carried away
Recommended Route
Duration Help.gif 9 hours (one way)
Distance 20.0?km?(12.4?mi)
Start/End Points Mangatepopo carpark/Ketetahi carpark
Difficulty Help.gif Hard
Track conditions Help.gif Track, Marked Route
Season Help.gif December to April
Sights Views, Volcanic landscape
Hazards Volcanic hazards, Alpine weather, Snow, Ice, Mist

Getting There

By Car

Most people taking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing base themselves in Whakapapa Village, National Park Village, Ohakune, Turangi, or Taupo, and all are with striking distance of the the Mangatepopo road end. The turn off from State Highway 47 on to Mangatepopo Rd is about 5km north of the Whakapapa Village turnoff.

Driving times are as follows:

  • From Taupo: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • From Turangi: 45 minutes
  • From Whakapapa Village: 15 minutes
  • From Ohakune: 40 minutes

Public Transport

There are a number of shuttle services which take visitors to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and you can also use these services for a one way Mt Tongariro/Tongariro Crossing trip:

You can use one the follow shuttle services:

Taupo and Turangi:

Ohahune:

Google Earth Map

NZ Topographic Map

Our Recommended Route

Mt Tongariro is a 2 hour side trip from the main Tongariro Alpine Crossing track. For this reason, there is little difference time wise between returning to Mangatepopo or continuing on to Ketetahi. You choice will depend on your transport arrangements, but we recommend you add Mt Tongariro to a Tongariro Crossing traverse.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is well described at these links:

Route Options

As an alternative to a day tramp, you can also overnight on the mountain. You could stay at Ketetahi Hut, or you could bag Tongariro as part of the Northern Circuit tramp (3-4 days).

Warning

Mt Tongariro and the Tongariro Crossing are located in an alpine environment. From May to Dec it is likely you will find snow or ice on some sections of the tramp. At all times of the year, the weather can be very changeable, and many many people have needed to be rescued from this environment (they were the lucky ones). You need to take appropriate windproof clothing and tramping boots. You should check local conditions with DOC Whakapapa (07 892 3729) and also let them know your planned movements. If DOC says not to go, do not go!

In 2007, DOC changed the name of the ‘Tongariro Crossing’ to the ‘Tongariro Alpine Crossing’, to better reflect the environment the walk traverses.

Remember also that Mt Tongariro is an active volcano, so be wary of steam fumuroles and other volcanic activity. You can check the GNS website for volcanic alert bulletins.

Don’t let all this put you off however, as in the right conditions the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is magnificent! Just make sure you go in the ‘right’ conditions.

Height Profile

Tongariro, Mt-2d.jpg

Images

Tongarirocrossingmangatepopo.jpg

Tongarirocrossingcrowds.jpg

Tongarirocrossingredcrater.jpg

Tongarirocrossingemeraldlakes.jpg

Weather and Webcam Links

External Links

References

101greattramps-cover.jpg 101 Great Tramps in New Zealand, Mark Pickering and Rodney Smith, Reed Publishing NZ Ltd. (2004), See pages 61-63

Daywalks-cover.jpg Day Walks in New Zealand: 100 Great Tracks (Bird’s Eye Guides), Shaun Barnett, Craig Potton Publishing (2007), See pages 56-57

A Dictionary of Maori Placenames, AW Reed, 1982

Te Toiokawharu

Although bushclad and marked only with a signpost, the summit of Te Toiokawharu is the highest point of the Waitakere Ranges, and is only around 25 km from central Auckland.

You can do a nice loop tramp to the highest point in the Waitakeres by heading up the Karamatura Track, then turning north up the Huia Ridge track, and finally bagging Te Toiokawharu as you return via the Twin Peaks track. Of course, you could also do the loop in the opposite direction.

All the tracks in this area are of tramping standard, with narrow sections, and plenty of tree roots to step around and over. The tracks in this area can also be very muddy after rain.

For a comprehensive description of the tramp up Te Toiokawharu, see the tramper.co.nz Te Toiokawharu page.

List Status Official
Elevation 474?m?(1,555?ft)
Location/List North Island, New Zealand
Region Auckland
Location Coordinates 36? 59′ 5″ S, 174? 32′ 13″ E
Nearest Town/s Aukland
Recommended Route
Duration Help.gif 4-6 hours (return)
Distance 10.6?km?(6.6?mi)
Start/End Points Huia Road
Difficulty Help.gif Medium
Track conditions Help.gif Path, Track
Season Help.gif All year
Sights Kauri trees
Hazards Mud , Slippery

Google Earth Map

NZ Topographic Map

Height Profile

Te Toiokawharu-2d.jpg

Weather and Webcam Links

External Links

References

Te Aroha

Also known as Aroha ki tai

Te Aroha is a volcanic peak in Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park that provides the opportunity for a good rigorous day walk. There are a number of routes available and we describe two alternatives (returning by the same, or a different path) that walkers can try. At the end of the tramp, walkers can relax in the hot springs at Te Aroha and ease away their aches and pains!

Maori Legend

The translation of Te Aroha’s alternative name, Aroha ki tai, relates to one story that tells how the Arawa chief, Kahumatamomoe, was on his way home from visiting a kinsman at Kaipara. As was the habit of this explorer, he ascended to the highest possible point along the way. As he stood on top of the mountain, he decided to name it ?Aroha ki tai?. This was an expression of his love for his father, who was buried on Mount Moehau and his family who lived at Maketu. There are other legends relating to the naming of the mountain (see information on the DOC Website).

List Status Official
Elevation 952?m?(3,123?ft)
Location/List North Island, New Zealand
Region Waikato/Coromandel
Location Coordinates 37? 32′ 1″ S, 175? 44′ 32″ E
Nearest Town/s Te Aroha, Hamilton
Range Kaimai-Mamaku
Geology Volcano
Translation te: the; aroha: love
Recommended Route
Duration Help.gif 6 hours (return)
Distance 3.2?km?(2?mi)
Start/End Points Te Aroha Domain
Difficulty Help.gif Medium
Track conditions Help.gif Track, Mud, Steep embankments
Season Help.gif All year
Sights Bush, Communications equipment(!) , lookout with views of the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, waterfall, historic mining, explosives store
Hazards High slippery underfoot

Getting There

By Car

Once in Te Aroha, head for the Te Aroha Domain (off Whitaker Street). The walk to Te Aroha Peak starts from behind Mokena Geyser.

Public Transport

Te Aroha is a small town and can be reached by the general public bus service. Check out your options at Intercity.

Google Earth Map

NZ Topographic Map

Our Recommended Route

From Te Aroha Domain, take the track which goes up to the Whakapipi/ Baldspur Lookout. The track goes uphill and passes through puriri trees and radiata plantations. On the way there are plenty of places to rest. At the lookout there are good views of Te Aroha and the surrounding countryside.

From the lookout the track continues onwards. It dips through a small saddle and then climbs to the summit (952 m). On the way up, the track becomes steep and the vegetation changes as you increase in altitude. The view from the summit affords 360? views over the Kaimai Ranges and the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Taranaki are visible on a clear day.

From the summit you can either return to Te Aroha via the track you came up on, or take the Ridge Track/Tui Track back to the domain.

If you take the Ridge/Tui Tracks, the path descends by a combination of track and steps. Dog Kennel flat is reached after approximately 20 minutes, and shortly after this is an intersection where you must follow the Ridge track to Tui Saddle junction. Continue on past the Tui mines, where you can see old mine workings. The track also passes an old explosives store and crosses the mountain road, before joining the Tui Domain Track. Follow this track back to Te Aroha Domain.

More details can be found on:

Route Options

Options include-

  • Walking from Te Aroha Domain up to the summit via Whakapipi/ Baldspur Lookout and back the same way.
  • Walking from Te Aroha Domain up to the summit Whakapipi/ Baldspur Lookout and taking the Ridge Track/Tui Track back to the domain.
  • Approaching from a number of different tracks and routes as outlined in the DOC Te Aroha information

Height Profile

Te Aroha-2d.jpg

Weather and Webcam Links

External Links

References

Moore, c. 2007. Tramping New Zealand. Spot X, 224 p.

Taranaki, Mt

Mt Taranaki

Also known as Mt Egmont

The location of Mt Taranaki, away from the North Island’s other volcanoes, is beautifully explained in Maori mythology. According to the myth, Taranaki once lived near the other central North Island mountains, including Tongariro, and his beautiful wife, Pihanga. Taranaki fell in love with Pihanga, and a ferocious battle between Taranaki and Tongariro ensued. Taranaki was forced to flee to the west coast, and the myriad of streams now flowing from Taranaki are said to represent tears for his lost love.

Taranaki is challenging day tramp, but as the North Island’s second highest peak, it is a must on any New Zealand peak bagging list.

List Status Official
Elevation 2,518?m?(8,261?ft)
Location/List North Island, New Zealand
Region Taranaki/Wanganui/Manawatu
Location Coordinates 39? 17′ 47″ S, 174? 3′ 50″ E
Nearest Town/s Stratford, New Plymouth
Geology Volcano
Translation tara: peak; ngaki: clear of vegetation
Recommended Route
Duration Help.gif 8-10 hours (return)
Distance 11.7?km?(7.3?mi)
Start/End Points Stratford Plateau
Difficulty Help.gif Hard
Track conditions Help.gif Track, Scree/Scoria
Season Help.gif December to April
Hazards Alpine weather, Mist , snow and ice in winter

Getting There

By Car

To get to the Stratford Plateau from Stratford, turn on to Pembroke Rd and continue all the way the carpark at Stratford Plateau.

Public Transport

There is no public bus service, but Eastern-taranaki.co.nz offers a shuttle service.

Google Earth Map

NZ Topographic Map

Our Recommended Route

A summer day tramp to the summit Taranaki makes for long and strenous day, and in winter it is a full on mountaineering expedition.

There are two main routes to Mt Taranaki’s summit – one starts from the North Egmont Visitors centre, and one from the Stratford Plateau. While the North Egmont Visitor Centre is shorter, the track from the Stratford Plateau starts at a higher altitude. Personally, we’d choose less climbing over less distance, but the option is yours!

From the Stratford Plateau, the track sidles around a gorge, before crossing over and arriving at the Mangonui Ski Lodge. You will then pass the rocky crags of Warwick Castle, before arriving at Tahurangi Lodge about 2 hours hours after leaving the carpark. After leaving the lodge, you will encounter the first of many steps up the mountain. Enjoy them while they last though, as once past the stairs you’ll have some steep scoria to contend with. In mist this section may present some navigational challenges, so be prepared with a topographical map and compass.

As you near the summit, head for the gap to the right of the ‘Sharks Tooth’. From here there is a final scramble to the summit.

Now all that remains is to enjoy the fact that you’ve climbed the second highest mountain in the North Island. Oh, and the not insignificant matter of returning the way you came. The scree run can be fun, but in icy conditions can also be dangerous. Be sure to maintain your concentration and remember that slow and steady wins the race. Walking poles can be useful on a descent like this, and your knees may be grateful for the assistance.

Warning

Over 60 people have died on the slopes on Mt Taranaki, so it is not a mountain to be taken lightly. With it’s location to the west of the North Island, Taranaki’s weather often changes dramatically and quickly. A clear day in New Plymouth does not indicate a clear day on the mountain, and up to date information should always be obtained from one of the local information centres (DOC Stratford (06 765 5144), or Egmont Visitor Centre (06 756 0990). Even then, you need to have clothing suitable for alpine weather, and if you’re on the mountain outside of summer, you would need experience using an ice axe and crampons. White out conditions are also common, so navigational equipment and skills are recommended.

While Mt Taranaki is currently dormant (last eruption 1755), it is still a volcano, and is capable of changing it’s volcanic status in the future. You can check out GNS’s latest volcanic alert bulletins here.

Height Profile

Taranaki, Mt-2d.jpg

Images

700pxTaranakifromruapehu.jpg

Taranakisunrise.jpg

Taranakiicemarch.jpg

Taranakimanmist.jpg

Taranakiruapehuview.jpg

Weather and Webcam Links

External Links

References

Weekendnorth-cover.jpg North Island Weekend Tramps (Bird’s Eye Guides), Shaun Barnett. (2008), See pages 59-61

A Dictionary of Maori Placenames, AW Reed, 1982

Tamahunga, Mt

Opened 2001 as part of the Te Araroa walkway (which aims to run the length of New Zealand), Mt Tamahunga is a short but reasonably hard tramp. Conditions underfoot can be tricky, and although views from the summit are obscured, there is a rocky lookout which provides good views.

For more information on the walk and access information, visit these pages:

List Status Official
Elevation 437?m?(1,434?ft)
Location/List North Island, New Zealand
Region Auckland
Location Coordinates 36? 17′ 56″ S, 174? 42′ 52″ E
Nearest Town/s Warkworth, Aukland
Geology Sedimentary
Recommended Route
Duration Help.gif 4 hours (return)
Distance 4.5?km?(2.8?mi)
Start/End Points Omaha Valley Road
Difficulty Help.gif Medium
Track conditions Help.gif Marked Route, Mud
Season Help.gif All year
Sights Bush , Lookout, helicopter pad
Hazards Slippery underfoot

Google Earth Map

NZ Topographic Map

Height Profile

Tamahunga, Mt-2d.jpg

Weather and Webcam Links

External Links

Ruapehu, Mt

Mt Ruapehu, viewed from SH48

Not only is Mt Ruapehu the North Island’s highest mountain, it is one of New Zealand’s most famous peaks. Ruapehu has repeatedly featured in international news media, due to spectacular eruptions in 1995 and 1996, and a Crater Lake break-out lahar (from a tephra dam collapse) in 2007. Earlier, on Christmas Eve 1953, 151 people died after a break-out lahar washed out a railway bridge, and caused a passenger train to plunge into the swollen river below. The mountain is also home to two of New Zealand’s busiest ski fields, Whakapapa and Turoa.

A day tramp to Mt Ruapehu’s summit is a memorable experience and the views over the crater lake are remarkable. Be warned however, that the tramp to the Dome summit is an unmarked route, and we highly recommend that you take the guided trip.

Please note that the highest point of Ruapehu is Tahurangi summit, at 2797m. The highest point for trampers is at Dome summit however, and therefore bagging Dome summit is enough to have ‘bagged Ruapehu’.

List Status Official
Elevation 2,672?m?(8,766?ft)
Location/List North Island, New Zealand
Region Central Plateau/Taupo
Location Coordinates 39? 16′ 31″ S, 175? 33′ 48″ E
Nearest Town/s Whakapapa Village, National Park Village, Ohakune, Turangi, Taupo
Geology Volcano
Translation rua: hole; pehu: to explode
Recommended Route
Duration Help.gif 5-7 hours (return)
Distance 5.6?km?(3.5?mi)
Start/End Points Knoll Ridge, Whakapapa Ski Area chairlift
Difficulty Help.gif Hard
Track conditions Help.gif Unmarked Route
Season Help.gif December to April
Sights Views, Volcanic landscape
Hazards Volcanic hazards, Alpine weather, Snow, Ice, Mist

Getting There

By Car

To get to Whakapapa Village, simply take the turn off from State Highway 47, and proceed to the carparking available in the Whakapapa Village. The information centre is on the left of the road, just past the Grand Chateau.

Driving times are as follows:

  • From Auckland: 4 hours
  • From Taupo: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • From Turangi: 40 minutes
  • From Ohakune: 30 minutes
  • From Wellington: 4 hours 30 minutes

Public Transport

There are a number of shuttle services which take visitors to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing at Mangatepopo, but it is worth enquiring with them about Whakapapa Village drop offs.

Taupo and Turangi:

Ohahune:

Google Earth Map

NZ Topographic Map

Our Recommended Route

If it is summer, and you are experienced and equipped, you can tramp to the top of Mt Ruapehu under your own steam. To do this you need to take the relevant topographic map, and have the navigational skills to find your way from the top of the Waterfall Express chairlift, along Knoll or Restful Ridge, and up Dome Ridge to the summit. This track is only recommended when the mountain is clear of snow and ice. Also, be aware, that the route is unmarked (and not obvious) especially on the way down!

Although we have listed this route as only 5.6km long, it is likely to be a great deal longer than that, as you will spend a lot of time zig zagging around and over rocks.

The route marked on the topographic map on this page is the route we took on 17 March 2008 (via Knoll Ridge), and it is the route we will describe here (and not necessarily the easiest/best route!). An alternative route is via Restful Ridge. An important point to note is that the Ruapehu topographic maps do not represent many of the steep cliffs that are present on this tramp – what look like reasonably gentle (but steep) contour lines, are actually rocky bluffs which drop away very quickly.

After visiting the Whakapapa Information centre (where you can check the weather, fill out an intentions form, gain route advice, and confirm the ski lifts are open), drive to the top of the Bruce Rd to purchase your ski lift tickets ($20/adult). There is a carpark, as well as a cafe and toilets here. It is possible to walk to the summit all the way from the top of the Bruce Rd carpark, but if the chairlifts aren’t running, it’s a good indication you shouldn’t be up the mountain!

Take the two chairlifts up to New Zealand’s highest cafe, Knoll Ridge Cafe, at 2,020m. On the night of Friday 13th 2009, a fire burned the Knoll Ridge cafe to the ground, but has since been rebuilt. All firefighters could do was watch from a distance, as there is no road access to the cafe. From the end of the Knoll Ridge chairlift, head directly off the lift platform and sidle around the rocks to the right, up on to Knoll Ridge, under the Knoll Ridge chairlift (which does not operate in summer). Follow the ridge all the way up by walking directly under the chairlift – although rocky, it is not excessively steep, and the chairlift makes for easy navigation.

At the end of the chairlift, you will see a glacier in the valley ahead of you, and a stream heading down the valley to your right. As the ridge drops away sharply to your right, you need to descend off the top left of the ridge, and then sidle around to cross the stream.

From here the going gets steeper, as you climb up the ridge and pop up on to the top of Restful Ridge. Though it looks intimidating, if you head diagonally up the side of the ridge, you will gradually make progress towards clambering up on to it’s flatter top. (We noted later however, the recommended DOC route does to the left of the glacier, not to the right as we did). Once up on the ridge, you need to aim to the right of Glacier Knob, and as you get closer you will begin to see a track leading up the scree to the summit plateau. At the top of this track, you will catch your first view of Dome Shelter, and you will be able to see the route along the narrow Dome Ridge. Carefully navigate Dome Ridge and then climb up on to Dome Summit, where you will get stupendous views of the crater lake.

The chair lifts close at 4pm, so don’t loiter at the summit for too long, as you will want to make it back in time!

Route Options

Allow yourself at least two hours to get back to the Knoll Ridge cafe and chairlifts. We strongly advise that you do not attempt to make it a loop journey by descending via an alternative route (as we did). There are many rocky fingers and their steep drops are not apparent until you reach the edge of them, by which time you need to backtrack upwards and find an easier way down. Also be aware the cairns along Restful Ridge seemingly lead nowhere useful when descending! If you come up Restful Ridge, and know where to get down again, they may be of use, but they seemed to lead us to steep cliffs we didn’t fancy going down. We spent much of our descent wishing we had returned via exactly the same route we had come up – and consequently we missed the last chairlift by 10 minutes! We tramped Ruapehu on a perfectly clear cloudless day, and still had some navigation difficulties, so if mist rolls in, we advise you to turn back and get off the mountain as soon as possible.

If, like us, you miss the last chairlift, you will still face the challenge of navigating your way back to bottom of the Waterfall Express chairlift. Don’t attempt to follow the Waterfall Express chairlift the entire way, as it descends over a rocky cliff. Once you reach the cliffs, head up to the right, where you can follow a fence down gentler terrain. You’ll then need to swing around to your left and zig zag down underneath the bluffs and past a waterfall. You can then follow the chairlift again, where it eventually meets with a road that heads down to the Bruce Rd carpark.

For the DOC self guided route description, and updates on the current volcanic status of the crater, please also consult the DOC Mt Ruapehu Crater climb page.

After completing a somewhat less than direct Ruapehu tramp ourselves, we would highly recommend that you take one of the guided tours run by the Whakapapa skifield operators. Mt Ruapehu.com run 6 hour group or private walks to the summit (Adults $90, Under 18 $55). By taking a guided tour, you are in the hands of experts when it comes to weather, volcanic activity, and track conditions. You can also hire equipment if necessary. For further information, see Mt Ruapehu crater walk.

Warning

Mt Ruapehu is located in an alpine environment. From May to Dec it is likely you will find snow or ice on some or all sections of the tramp. At all times of the year, the weather can be very changeable, and many people have needed to be rescued from this environment. You need to take appropriate windproof clothing, tramping boots, and plenty of food and water. You should check local conditions with DOC Whakapapa (07 892 3729) and also let them know your planned movements. If DOC says not to go, do not go!
Remember also that Mt Ruapehu is an active volcano, and in recent years has erupted in 1995, 1996, 2006, & 2007 (and frequently before that as well). Two climbers had a lucky escape in 2007 when their stay in the Dome summit shelter was interrupted by an eruption. You should not spend long on the summit, and be aware that the area within 700 metres radius of the crater is a ‘High Risk Zone (PDF)’. If you feel an earthquake while on the mountain, get down! Similarly, if the volcano erupts while you are climbing it, get up out of the stream valleys and up on to a ridge, as lahars (mudflows) can sweep down the valleys.

You can check the Geonet website (run by GNS Science) for volcanic alert bulletins.

Don’t let all this put you off however, as in the right conditions Mt Ruapehu is magnificent! Just make sure you go in the ‘right’ conditions, with the ‘right’ equipment.

Height Profile

Ruapehu, Mt-2d.jpg

Images

Ruapehuballisticcraters.jpg

Ruapehuskilift.jpg

Ruapehuglacierroute.jpg

Ruapehurestfulridge.jpg

Ruapehudomeridge.jpg

Ruapehusummitplateau.jpg

Ruapehudomeshelterlake.jpg

Ruapehudescent2.jpg

Weather and Webcam Links

External Links

References

A Dictionary of Maori Placenames, AW Reed, 1982

Remutaka Trig

Rimutaka Summit from carpark on SH2

The one hour Remutaka Trig track is a great place to break any journey between Wairarapa and Wellington. It can be a fairly exposed and brutal spot in foul weather, but on a clear day you will get great views of Lake Wairarapa, Mt Climie, and across to the Tararuas.

List Status Official
Elevation 725?m?(2,379?ft)
Location/List North Island, New Zealand
Region Wellington
Location Coordinates 41? 7′ 8″ S, 175? 13′ 48″ E
Nearest Town/s Wellington
Range Rimutakas
Geology Sedimentary
Translation Correct name is Remutaka: to sit down and rest
Recommended Route
Duration Help.gif 1 hours (return)
Distance 1.3?km?(0.8?mi)
Start/End Points SH2 Rimutaka Summit
Difficulty Help.gif Easy
Track conditions Help.gif Path, Track
Season Help.gif All year
Sights Views , Views of Wairarapa and Tararuas
Hazards High winds , occasional snowfalls

Getting There

By Car

The start point for the Rimutaka Trig Track is just below the summit of the SH2 Rimutaka Road between Featherston and Upper Hutt. If you’re heading from Wellington to the Wairarapa, keep an eye out for the small carpark and Rimutaka track sign on the right of the final bend before you reach the highest point of the Rimutaka Rd. When the road is busy, it may well be safer to continue a short distance up to the larger carpark by the (now closed) summit cafe. This way you can turn around, descend back down the hill to the track start point, and then easily pull off to the left into the carpark.

The Remutaka Trig Track is also a featured stop on the Road Trip Pal NZ Wellington to Martinborough & Greytown (or Greytown to Wellington) tour. The app will guide you to the exact spot using a GPS-based audio tour that plays as you drive.

Google Earth Map

NZ Topographic Map

Our Recommended Route

The track up the Rimutaka trig is well defined and you can’t go too far wrong in terms of navigation (as long as you stay to the track that is!). After climbing the stairs to exit the carpark, simply follow the track as it zig zags up towards the trig (which you will see glimpses of on your way). There are a few well used shortcuts between the switchbacks, but obviously these are steeper and more slippery.

After about 1/2 an hour you’ll arrive at the trig. There isn’t much shelter or space at the summit, so you might want look for a lunch spot a little further down the track.

Height Profile

Rimutaka Trig-2d.jpg

Images

393pxRimutakastart.jpg

393pxRimutakatrack.jpg

700pxRimutakaview.jpg

Weather and Webcam Links

References

A Dictionary of Maori Placenames, AW Reed, 1982

Rangitoto

Rangitoto under cloud, from Takapuna Beach

At only 259m, and with a relatively gentle approach to the summit, this Auckland landmark would not rate a mention on many traditional peak bagging lists. However, with fascinating lava flows and caves on show, and New Zealand’s largest pohutakawa forest, no New Zealand peak bagging list is complete without Rangitoto.

List Status Official
Elevation 259?m?(850?ft)
Location/List North Island, New Zealand
Region Auckland
Location Coordinates 36? 47′ 16″ S, 174? 51′ 29″ E
Nearest Town/s Aukland
Geology Volcano
Translation rangi: sky, or day; toto: blood
Recommended Route
Duration Help.gif 2-5 hours (return)
Distance 4.6?km?(2.9?mi)
Start/End Points Rangitoto Wharf
Difficulty Help.gif Easy
Track conditions Help.gif Path, Track
Season Help.gif All year
Sights Views, Volcanic landscape , Volcanic lava flows, caves, views of the Hauraki Gulf.
Hazards Missing the boat!

Getting There

Public Transport

Unless you have your own boat, you need to catch the Fullers Rangitoto ferry. The ferry departs from Pier 2, 99 Quay Street, central Auckland, but also stops off at the Devonport wharf.

Check the Fullers website for the latest timetable, but the best idea is to catch the 9.15am or 12.15pm sailing, spend either 3 or 5 hours on the island, and then return on either the 12.45pm or 3.30pm sailing back to Auckland.

Google Earth Map

NZ Topographic Map

Our Recommended Route

There are two main circuits for day walkers on Rangitoto. There is a 5 hour loop which skirts around the western side of the island, and then turns inland at MacKenzie Bay and heads up to the summit. From the summit, you can go down the Summit track back to the wharf.
The shorter 3 hour trip simply heads up the Summit Track, takes in the lava caves, and then returns via the same route. See this DOC Map (PDF). Rangitoto is a comparatively gentle walk, so it’s possible to get up and down much faster than 3 hours (e.g. within and hour and half return), but you have at least 3 hours on the island, so there is no harm in taking a little longer if you wish.

Rangitoto is a popular walk on summer weekends, so you can’t go too wrong if you follow the crowds. Of course, you still need to take sensible clothing and precautions when following the tracks.

Ulrich Speidel’s page gives a good description of both Rangitoto circuits.

Height Profile

Rangitoto-2d.jpg

Images

Rangitotofromboat.jpg

Rangitotolavaflow.jpg

Rangitotoaucklandview.jpg

Rangitototrigchildren.jpg

Weather and Webcam Links

External Links

References

Daywalks-cover.jpg Day Walks in New Zealand: 100 Great Tracks (Bird’s Eye Guides), Shaun Barnett, Craig Potton Publishing (2007), See pages 26-27

A Dictionary of Maori Placenames, AW Reed, 1982