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Kaimai Ranges North-South Track, Bay of Plenty

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Kaimai Ranges North-South TrackIntermediate - Experienced

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Trail Information





Bay of Plenty


Front country - easily accessible

Point to Point (one way)

Very hilly

Native bush
Open ridges/tops

Intermediate - Experienced

Not Suitable (Slow)
27 (Moderate)
16 (Fast)



This is a well marked track. There are exits along the way, but parts of it can be quite remote so be prepared. Some good climbing sections will keep you focussed. Always check with DOC that parts of the track are not closed for maintenance or Kauri Dieback.

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This is normally a 5-day hike along the entire length of the Kaimai Ranges in Bay of Plenty. Some parts are very runnable and others not so, with plenty of climbing big hills, steep rocky sections, a ladder, boulders, rivers crossings.

It is well marked with a number of huts along the way and plenty of exits off the trail if you feel you have had enough - just be aware of transport arrangements.

There is always tree fall and landslides so be prepared to navigate your way around obstacles. You will need to be prepared for all types of weather and it would be prudent to take a bivy or sleeping bag for emergencies, a good first aid kit, and plenty of food.

Leave early if you want to maximise your distance in daylight ideally getting to Motutapere Hut before dark if you are coming from the north heading south. You can run in either direction.

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Features of interest

The high northern part of the Kaimai Range is comprised of ancient volcanic rock that has been uplifted along the Hauraki fault line, its highest point being Te Aroha mountain at 952m. The land has been tilted on an angle to form a steep scarp slope facing the Hauraki Plains to the west and a gentler slope down to the Tauranga basin in the east.

The range is covered by a sheet of volcanic rock called ignimbrite. Specks of gold were first found in the Wairoa River above Kaimai village in 1867, drawing prospecting parties to the area. Mining soon began, with a large number of mines and associated industry (such as the huge Victoria Battery) being built and operated in the area. This new industry caused a huge demand for timber, with kauri first being taken from within the park around 1875. Felling of the park’s native trees stopped in the 1970s but gold mining continues to this day at Waihi.

The park is also the natural home of many native birds. More common native birds such as tūī, bellbird and kererū are readily seen and heard from within the park, while the rarer whitehead, kākā, kōkako, kiwi and kārearea/New Zealand falcon can also be found, with small remnant populations of the endangered kiwi and kōkako occurring in the northern part of the Mamaku Plateau.

Both long and short-tailed bats also call the Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park home, along with the threatened striped skink, some rare invertebrates, including the Te Aroha stag beetle and pūpū rangi/kauri snail, and small genetically distinct populations of the endangered Hochstetter’s frog.

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 50%

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Easy Single Track: 20%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: .2%

Gravel Road: 0%

Sealed Road: 0%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Karangahake Gorge at the carpark and entrance to the majority of walks through the Gorge.

    This is a point to point trail so you will need to provide your own pick up/transport at the finish. There is a small carpark at the top of the Tauranga finish area on SH 29 at the top of the Kaimai summit.

    36 km

    33 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Stick to the main track, some sections are difficult to find entry onto trails especially around Thompson Track and these can be tricky. Keep your eyes peeled and follow the signs. Don't attempt to take the short cut up past Wahini Rock as this is extremely overgrown and difficult terrain which is in the process of being cleared, use the Upper Waitawheta Track to Cashmores Clearing then down along the Wharawhara stream.

    Very patchy.

    Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.

    Plenty of water in the rivers along the way, plus there is water at huts. Ensure you treat any water.

    During winter it can be very wet and cold and some places along the track are exposed and dangerous in bad weather. There are a number of river crossings that are generally managable but can become impassable after heavy rain.

    Tree Nettle along a small section of track.

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