If you live in the upper North Island, chances are you’ve driven past this mountain a thousand times on your trip up SH1. A sacred mountain for the Maori community, the local youth group have been putting a huge amount of work into the walkways on this mountain and spreading the word on social media via the walkways Facebook page. I messaged the team developing the tracks, and they were happy for us to take dogs up there for an adventure.
One very important thing to keep in mind if you want to visit this trail, is that it is a sacred mountain and is used as a burial grounds – including for Maori royalty. This means that is is extremely important to ensure that you are respectful of this, keep your dogs under perfect control (on lead) and are tidying up after them. The fact that they allow the public into this area is incredibly generous of the community, and it would be very easy for them to close the area to dogs or other visitors.
Access to the walkways is via a gravel driveway on the north side of “suicide bridge”, the bridge heading north from the main Taupiri round about. Heading south you can easily turn into this driveway, however if you are heading north then you are best to turn left into the car park opposite the mountain, and turn around there before turning into the driveway. You follow this driveway over the railway lines, then you will reach another cemetery area with a toilet block. You can park here. Dogs MUST stay on lead. Check out this blog from Motowalks for more info about parking and the walk.
Walk up the driveway and you will come to this archway where the walkway begins.
My photos of this walkway haven’t done justice to the challenging climb that it is. People flock to the nearby (not dog friendly) Hakarimatas for the challenging steps as a fitness challenge, but this one here would give it a run for its money. Very steep a lot of the way as you climb up tree roots. The tracks are getting better and better all the time as the youth group continue their work, but this is a real challenge and requires a bit of fitness.
When you reach the top, the climb was absolute worth it. Spectacular views, across Taupiri and surrounding farm land, as well as north towards Huntly. If you look at this shot taken facing south, you can see SH1 off to the left, and the Waikato River on the right.
There’s a visitor book in the box by the picnic table which you can fill out to share your adventures with others.
The views looking North. You can see Huntly Lakes, as well as the new expressway being built.Climbing down, we chose to explore the second track. Less developed than the first (for now at least), this was a bit less steep and relatively easy going (on the way down at least!). There are some picnic tables on this side too.
When you reach the driveway, you head west which will take you all the way back to the car park.
This walkway is a real hidden gem, and a credit to the young people who have put so much time into bringing these walkways back to life and making people aware of them.
On Lead and under control at all times.
Car parking – at burial grounds, walk up to entrance
Toilets – Yes
Bins/water – No
Notes – Be very aware of the privilege of being able to visit, and take all rubbish away with you.