The Kuripapango Range is like a small appendage to the main Kaweka Range. As it occupies a prominent position at the gape of the Ngaruroro Valley and the main juncture between the Kaweka and Ruahine Ranges, it commands spectacular views of both.
Lakes Carpark is signposted from the junction of Taihape Road and Kuripapango Road 52 km from Omahu. It’s a further 5 km to Lakes Carpark, which is reached by turning left at the T-junction near the roadend.
From the carpark follow signs to Kiwi Saddle Hut.
On its steady and relentless climb, the track briefly passes through pines, then enters low manuka forest. After 30 minutes a short detour to the right takes in views of the Rogue Ridge and the southern toe of the main Kaweka Range.
As you gain altitude the main range retreats, diminishing in size. The upthrust splinters of rock near Cooks Horn are a focal point of the ridgeline, along with the unfathomably named ‘The Tits’.
Entering the zone of subalpine vegetation, the route becomes marked with poles and cairns. Mountain daisies, mountain flax and prostrate kanuka consolidate the dusty pumice soils.
The VHF transmitter at the summit is bypassed by the track as it skirts behind the summit knoll, opening out onto an exposed section of ridge at the track junction to Cameron Carpark and Kiwi Saddle Hut. This is the outstanding viewpoint of the walk as not only are there the familiar views north, but the spectacle south appears.
North Island ▷ Hawkes Bay ▷ Napier
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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 😍