Due to the recent heavy rainfall, a number of roads and walking/cycling tracks in the Waikato are closed. If you are travelling to or through the Waikato region, please visit Waka Kotahi’s Journey Planner website for up-to-date roading information and check the local Council’s Facebook page for the latest updates and advice.

Walking & Hiking Trails

Mt Pirongia Forest Park

The green slopes of Mt Pirongia can be found 25km south of Hamilton. With a range of easy to more challenging options, the Pirongia walks provide a rejuvenating experience amongst lush native forest and clear mountain streams.

Mangakara Nature Walk

Pirongia Bush Walk, Mt Pirongia, Waikato, NZ

Mt Pirongia Walks, Pirongia

The Mangakara Nature Walk on Mt Pirongia is an enjoyable one hour circuit through native forest.

Perfect for children, the easy track meanders through ancient forest past large rimu, kahikatea, tawa, pukatea and kohekohe trees and crosses over the Mangakara stream before looping back around.

Educational signs describe point of interest and the mountains history along the way with something new to discover at each station.

  • Location: The end of Grey Road, Pirongia Forest Park. The walk starts at the car park shelter
  • Distance: 1 hour loop
  • More info: www.doc.govt.nz

Alternatively, the three hour Nikau walk from the Kaniwhaniwha Reserve on Limeworks Loop Road follows the sparkling Kaniwhaniwha Stream, then loops around a lovely area of forest.

Ruapane Lookout

For superb views across the Waikato, one option suitable for family groups with moderate fitness is the Ruapane Lookout walk. The walk can be done via the Tirohanga Track or the Ruapane Track and includes stairs, some steep sections and a short climb up a rocky outcrop near the top.

  • Location: Ruapane Track starts at the Waite Road car park. Tirohanga Track starts from Corcoran Road
  • Distance: Ruapane Track:1 hour 30 mins one way. Tirohanga Track: 1 hour one way
  • More info: www.doc.govt.nz

Kaniwhaniwha Caves Walk

Another easy walk is the Pirongia Kaniwhaniwha Caves Walk, which branches from the Nikau walk.

This offers the excitement of entering two small caves - the main 20m cave which you can walk through except for a short crawl section, and the smaller cave which is tight and narrow. Don't forget to take a torch.

  • Location: Limeworks loop Road, Te Pahu
  • Distance: 2 hour 30 minutes return
  • More info: www.doc.govt.nz
Mt Pirongia summit, Te Awamutu, New Zealand

Mt Pirongia Summit Views

Mt Pirongia Summit Tracks

There are also more strenuous full day bush walks leading to the summit of Mt Pirongia. The Tirohanga Track will take you to the summit through steep and at times challenging terrain. A lookout tower at the top of Tirohanga track offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.

An easier but slightly longer route is the Tahuanui Track, which branches off the Nikau Walk. This track climbs steadily up a tawa-clothed ridge and joins the Tirohanga track five minutes from the summit.

Mt Pirongia Overnight Tracks

Mt Pirongia walking tracks are also popular for overnight hiking options, staying in the Pahautea Hut. The Hihikiwi Track is the shortest route to the Pahautea Hut, near the summit of Mt Priongia, while the Tahuanui Track can be combined with the Bell Track to create an overnight trip also staying in the Pahautea Hut.

Please Note: Many of the walking trails in the Waikato region do not allow dogs. Hamilton & Waikato Tourism recommend checking with the Department of Conservation before taking your dog on any of the trails in the region.