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Mt Hikurangi - Sacred Mountain, Gisborne

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Mt Hikurangi - Sacred MountainExperienced

Submitted by Steve Hanmer

Info Info
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Trail Information







Back country - remote

Out and Back


Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops


8:00 (Slow)
5:00 (Moderate)
3:30 (Fast)



Mount Hikurangi Track and Hikurangi Hut are closed. For more info check out the DoC website. If this updates, please let us know.

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This really is a trip of 2 distinct halves. The first half is a very pleasant gentle stroll up to the hut through open farmland. Very easy to find your way, although the trip to the maori carvings requires a minor diversion from the main trail, but it is an extremely worthwhile sidetrip.

The very friendly landowner will give you detailed directions to the carvings, and there is then a 'short cut' to the hut from the carvings to save dropping back down to the main trail. If visibility is poor it would be much safer to backtrack onto the main trail.

Beyond the hut, this really does change into a challenging route. The gradient steepens, the track becomes more technical, and the navigation a lot more tricky. There is a poled route from the hut which climbs steeply and then sidles around to a very steep gully which is the start of the final ascent to the summit. There is a marker to indicate which gully to head up, but beyond this you have to find your own way. It is steep and loose, and there is some mild exposure in places, but on the whole, if care is taken, the summit can be reached fairly quickly. If you don't like steep loose stuff, this is possibly not for you.

I personally found it more difficult to descend the gully , so extra care should taken for this section in both directions. I took poles and found them very helpful.

Once you have made it safely back down the gully, it is a fairly straight forward trip back out the same way you came in.

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Features of interest

This mountain is reputed to be the first place in NZ to see the sun on each new day.

This is also a sacred mountain and there are some huge maori carvings situated on a plateau at around 1000m altitude.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 15%

Technical Single Track: 25%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 60%

Route Data


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  • Access

    The track starts 25 km from Ruatoria. Turn off SH35 onto the gravel Tapuaeroa Valley Road and follow the signs for Pakihiroa Station.

    There is a formal carpark just below the station manager's house. There is no public vehicle access past this point.

    150 km

    140 minutes


    Name: Te Ara ki Hikurangi track crosses private farmland - leave gates as you find them and don't disturb stock. The track may be closed for short periods during the year for farming or cultural reasons. All closures will be publicly notified.
    Telephone: Contact Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou before you start: Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou, 1 Barrys Avenue, Ruatoria 4032 Phone: +64 6 864 9004 Email: Hikurangihutt@tronp.org.nz or info@tronp.org.nz

  • Staying Safe


    Navigation to the hut is very straight forward, through open farmland. Beyond the hut it is a poled route and could be difficult if visibility was poor. The final ascent to the summit (the last 150m-200m of ascent) is not marked at all, you follow a very steep/loose gully. This is by far the most difficult part of this trip and extra care should taken here. I personally found the descent harder than the ascent.


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

    There is water at the hut. The climb to the hut is very open (no shade), so take plenty of water from the start and top up at the hut.

    If the visibility is poor, the final ascent could be very tricky. The lower section could be very slippery following heavy rain.

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