Last Updated: 12th Jun 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

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Kaimai Ranges North-South Track

Last Updated: 12th Jun 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 162 ?

Gnarl Factor: 59 ?







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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Point to Point (one way)

Very hilly

With permit

Native bush

Open ridges/tops


Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +10.4%

Average Downhill Gradient: -9.4%


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Estimated Times to Run

Not suitable






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.

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.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

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

With Permit



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.

Trail Legend


James Post

has completed Kaimai Ranges North-South Track once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Big big day out! I ran from south to north in the middle of winter and, as expected, the ground was boggy and hard going. Some bits really runnable some bits very technical. Lots of stream and river crossings. Hardest day out I've ever had. Got a friend to drop me at the start and then hitched lifts back to Tauranga at the end. 10.40 moving time and 12 hours elapsed so a good few sit downs and navigation stops. Classic Kaimais though!

Gregory Bassam

September 17, 2023

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