Maungatautari Peak

Maungatautari Peak - Maungatautari Ecological Island

Maungatautari Peak

Maungatautari Ecological Island

Your Nature Guide

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Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!



Predator proof fence


approx 8 km return | 3 hours return

Although the views aren’t wide and expansive, this is still the best grunt between Te Aroha and Pirongia. The Maungatautari Ecological Island is a showcase Mainland Island. The predator proof fence provides safe habitat for rare species and the birdsong accompaniment is at a higher volume here than elsewhere.


The northern access is from Hicks Road and is signposted from SH1.

From Cambridge, follow SH1 10 km to Maungatautari Road and turn left.

After 7 km Hicks Road is signposted on the right.

There’s a parking area at the end of the road.


You can do this track by ascending via the Waiwere Traverse and descending via the rougher Te Raki Track.
Waiwere Traverse is a metalled quad track. Te Raki Track is mostly cut through forest, following a ridge. It’s a muddy horrible mess at the top section and hasn’t seen much TLC in a while.

Both tracks are marked shortly after entering the reserve at the northern entrance. If doing a circuit, it is probably better to go up Te Raki. Follow the northern enclosure fence for 10 minutes up the metalled road and the track is signposted entering the forest. It’s marked with orange triangles and takes you to a junction just before the summit.

If following Waiwere Traverse, there are a few glimpses out of the forest just before a signposted junction. Left up the steps and over the boardwalk takes you to the summit trig.
Te Raki Track is a muddy, rooty, rocky affair and more of a challenge to descend.

This is not the main entrance to Sanctuary Mountain. The Manu Visitor Centre is the other side of the dormant volcanic cone on Tari Road, Pukeatua. Displays and information on the reserve are educational and inspiring.


Sanctuary Mountain has the world’s longest predator proof fence at 47 km. At several thousand dollars per metre to construct, you can begin to understand the dedication of the volunteers who have tirelessly fundraised to make this happen.

Although the 3,400 hectares have been protected as a reserve since 1912, it was only in 2001 that a group of landowners, iwi and residents formed a formal trust with the mission of constructing the fence, eradicating predators and introducing rare biota. The size of the reserve is sufficient to allow populations to be self-sustaining.

The podocarp, broadleaf, conifer forest now protects North Island brown kiwi, takahe, giant weta, kakapo and hihi, amongst others. With a lush regenerating understorey, insect life is flourishing, nourishing the abundant birds.


Feature Value Info


North IslandWaikatoCambridge


  • Walking
  • Free


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