1 Rankers Review
3 Great Barrier Island
Mount Hobson / Hirakimata is 621 metres above sea level. From the summit lookout platform, there are views of the entire island and north to the Hen and Chickens Islands, south to the Coromandel Peninsula and west to the Greater Auckland Region. The acid volcanic rocks at the summit and high rainfall contribute to a montane forest, dominated by yellow-silver pine.
The DoC office is 20 minutes along the road from Port Fitzroy, passing the junction with the campsite/Bridle Track after 15 minutes.
From the DoC office, continue along the unsealed Kaiarara Bay Road over the headland for 30 minutes to the start of the Forest Road.
After 5 minutes is a signposted detour (10 minutes return) to Blairs Landing. This narrow, partially overgrown track has no signpost on the shore, but could be used as a starting point for moored tinnies if rowing ashore from a private boat.
It’s 20 minutes and two stream crossings to the junction with the Kiwiriki Track and a further 5 minutes and one stream crossing (wet feet usually unavoidable) to Kaiarara Hut.
Kairara Hut was renovated in 2002 and contains bunk space for 24 people. It has a cooking area with wood burner and cold rainwater supply.
Cross the Kaiarara Stream twice (wet feet are usually unavoidable) and after 10 minutes pass the junction with the link to the South Fork Track.
It’s a further 1 hour with 3 more stream crossings on a sometimes uneven track to the junction with Coopers Castle Route.
After 15 minutes and 2 more stream crossings a 5-minute-return side track leads to the well-preserved remains of the lower kauri dam. Don’t climb on the dam to maintain its structure.
A 1 hour climb leads to the upper dam at the top of the watershed, from where it is 30 minutes to the summit of Mount Hobson.
This final section of the track is on a boardwalk, with hundreds of steps to protect the nesting sites of the black petrel. Keep to the track.
Around eight to nine million years ago, a series of large rhyolite eruptions in the Mount Hobson area contributed to the development of a large volcanic cone, which has since been eroded and weathered to form the spectacular series of bluffs, pinnacles and valleys seen today. Mount Hobson is at the hub of a series of spokes, which radiate in raised edges and give the area its dramatic landscape.
A remnant kauri forest still exists higher up the slopes, but most was logged from 1862 until 1940. When the Kauri Timber Company purchased the land containing the inaccessible stands of mature kauri on the upper slopes of Mount Hobson, they used timber jacks and bullock teams to move the huge trunks into the stream beds.
Dams were built and ‘tripped’ during times of flood to release huge torrents of water, which collected the waiting logs. The upper dam was designed to hold a head of water, but the lower dam was constructed to allow logs to pass through. This type of dam was known as a stringer, as the planks were attached to the main structure by wires to stop them being carried down stream in a drive.
The 1926 stringer dam built by George Murray is 9.45 meters wide and 4.27 metres high. The dam was released by pulling a wire, which displaced a trigger and released a ‘tom’. The structure is remarkable well preserved and allows for easy viewing and exploration.
North Island ▷ Auckland Region ▷ Great Barrier Island
Superb, somewhat challenging, hike. Experience historic kauri dams, indigineous forest and an expansive view of the Hauraki Gulf.
Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍