Not Your Usual RangitotoBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Jonathan Drake
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Front country - easily accessible
Undulating, some big hills
Beginner - Intermediate
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
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This trail is an out-and-back in one direction to the summit at Rangitoto with some technical climbing, along with a more casual forest loop in the other direction past the caldera lakes. Obviously it can be done in either order, however this describes the route with the summit first.
From the signboard near the Outdoor Education Centre head south on the Tarawhai Track. Keep right always, as there will be two forks to the left. The second of these forks will shortly see you climbing into the hills on the Western Okataina Walkway. Eventually you will again come to another fork, where the Western Okataina Walkway continues to the left along the range. Taking another right will take you up to the Rangitoto trig and hopefully some incredible views.
Retrace your steps, then once back at that start follow the access road to Lake Okataina Road. Turn right to follow the road briefly before then taking a left onto the Ngahopua ("The Caldera") track. Be sure to look out for great views of the two very different caldera on your right as you pass them. This track is a simple loop that will take you back to Lake Okataina Road directly opposite the access road that will take you back to the start.
For a variation to this route, coming back down from the summit and hills you can follow the trails south of the Outdoor Education Centre and across Lake Okataina Road onto more trails that then link up with the Ngahopua track - see the NZ Topo Map for more detail.
Features of interest
This route summits Rangitoto Peak, the highest point in the Wkakapoungakau Range with great views over parts of Lake Rotorua, Southern Waikato and Western Bay of Plenty on a clear day. It also adds a circuit past the caldera lakes of Rotoatua and Rotongata.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 25%
Moderate Single Track: 30%
Easy Single Track: 40%
Gravel Road: 4%
Sealed Road: 1%
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
The trailhead is from a carpark adjacent to the Okataina Outdoor Education Centre. A short access road is entered from Lake Okataina Road, 4 kilometers down from SH30. While this road is used for access to the Outdoor Education Centre, the public can drive down there and park to access the trail
There isn't a marked carpark but there is adequate space to park on the grassy area adjacent to the loop at the end of the access road, across from the Outdoor Education Centre buildings and grounds.
Short-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
There are no sources of water on the trail.
The trail to the summit could be slippery in places in wet conditions, and the area around the trig while not greatly exposed but is likely to be more exposed in high rains or winds.
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See other runs nearby:
Tokorangi Pa Track
Tarawera Trail Route Recce
Valley of the Killer Zombie Wallabies
Blue and Green Lake Loops
Whakarewarea Circuit - the Black Track
Yellow Plus Cardiac
Fat Man's Run
Okataina...Eastern & Western
The Other Okataina Trails
3 of the Best
RTRC Club Track Loop
A Roundabout Way to the Lost Tank
Whirinaki Long Loop
Lake Okareka Walkway
As You Do Loop