2 Rankers Reviews
This is a rough track. You can expect to encounter tangled root masses, steep sections requiring hand holds, numerous mires of boot-deep mud, slippery rock outcrops and a boardwalked section to protect the vegetation near the summit. It is the highest point around for a long way, so views are good however.
The track starts from Corcoran Road carpark.
From Pirongia take SH 39 towards Whatawhata and after 5.5 km turn left onto Te Pahu Road.
After 5.5 km left again onto Corcoran Road, and follow this 3 km to the road end parking area.
The first section is metalled and even. Don’t be fooled by the standard of track. It deteriorates. It’s a steady ascent, with criss-crossed root masses and a few muddy sections.
After passing the junction with the Ruapane Track, Ruapane Trig (723m) is a little further. There are views out in most directions.
Keep climbing and after the trig there is a section where chains have been bolted to the rock. The chain can be used as a back-up, while you negotiate the nobbles. Or you can give it greater purchase to haul yourself up (or down). The descents should be treated with the most concentration.
Shortly after there is a sidle around Tirohanga, a bulbous tower. Some massive rata roots hang down the rocky face.
Pass the junctions with the Tahuanui Track (30 minutes before summit) and Mahakura Track (10 minutes before the summit).
And there are a couple of false peaks on the way to the summit tower (959m).
Pirongia forms part of a volcanic chain in a belt of weak overlying sediments named the Alexandra Volcanics. Basalt lava erupted between 2.7 and 1.6 million years ago, flowing over 20 km to Kawhia.
These volcanic episodes pierced older sediments of limestone, mudstone and sandstone, dating to over 20 million years old.
At 14,000 hectares, this is the largest unbroken tract of native forest in the Waikato. Tawa are particularly predominant. 58 tree species, 44 shrubs and 110 different ferns are recorded in the forest park.
The name Pirongia is said to have been conferred by the high-priest (tohunga) Raka-taura. He married Kahurere, daughter of the waka captain, and exhalted ‘Pirongia te aroaro O Kahu’ meaning ‘the fragrant presence of Kahu’.
North Island ▷ Waikato ▷ Otorohanga
Fairly easy bush walk leading to a great view of Picton and the surrounding Marlborough Sounds. Great way to start a South Island trip.
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Outstanding tramp, with several different terrain types and a new challenge awaiting around the next bend. We did it with children aged 11, nine and eight but they are pretty fit. Got to the summit in three hours 10 minutes, got down in just under three hours. Track in good order but definitely some difficult parts that will require care. Memorable walk.
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 😍