Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Kaweka North Loop

Hastings, Hawkes Bay

Submitted by Giles Pearson

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 93

Gnarl Factor: 65








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote


Very hilly

Native bush

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +12.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -11.3%


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Estimated Times to Run

Not suitable






Running in the Kawekas can be frustrating but this one has reasonable amount of running in it i.e. you can probably run 50% of the time.

You start with a hard 800m climb up the Makahu Spur to make the main ridge. On reaching it, detour south (left) to bag Kaweka J and soak up some great views. Then turn back north along the main ridge, following the poled route that skirts just under North Kaweka (1707m) and continues over Pt 1638 to Whetu (1650m). From here keep following the ridge in a generally northerly direction to Pt 1379 and picj up the track that drops into the forest to Makino Hut. Note: the route along the tops has some running (not much), but improves as you drop in to the forest.

Some 3km down the track, after dropping around 300m, you'll need to turn right (east) towards Makino Hut, which you'll reach after about another 3 kms. From the hut continue on to the trig at Pt 996 and then turn right (SE). A little short of 1km along this track you will see but IGNORE the direct track to Middle Hill Hut (this takes in 3 gorges and is hard work with no running, so not recommended!) Instead head out to the road which is some 4km away.

Once you hit the gravel road turn right and run downhill towards the Mangatutunui Stream. When you get close (and BEFORE the road bridge) keep a look out for the track to Middle Hill Hut on your right. This climbs around 500m over 5-6 km with very limited running opportunities, to reach the hut. Continue on for around 1km and then turn left towards the Kaweka Flats Bivvy and keep heading in a generally southerly direction to return to the car park. The track from Middle Hill past Kaweka Flats Bivvy is a bit frustrating and gnarly, before a nice finish stretch back to the car park.

Great views to Ruapehu from Kaweka J.

Road is unsealed but fine for 2WD unless it's snowy

80 km

91 minutes




Easy enough unless the cloud is down. The route over the tops is poled, but not very well. Take a compass or GPS in case, but personally I wouldn't try this run unless conditions are ideal


Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, 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, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions), Gaiters.

No water from Makahu Road end to Makino Hut so take plenty

Wind and cloud on tops. Snow in winter

Mountain weather - be prepared!

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Trail Reviews

I grew up locally in Puketitiri and try to get up into the ranges when I’m back with family for Christmas. I usually do the shorter version of this run which comes down Camp Spur. Christmas eve was a lovely day with no wind so I decided to try the longer version. Note - conditions can change quickly up there so you need to check the weather forecast carefully and carry appropriate gear including a map and compass.

There were stunning views from Kaweka J of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe. I really enjoyed the run across the top and down to Makino Hut. I stopped there to top up my water before descending to Makahu road. I regretted not topping up my water at the river before the climb up to Middle Hill hut as I found this section really hot with not much shelter. Coming back was slower than I expected due to the heat and it was great to reach the shade of the beech trees. It was an awesome day out!

Victoria Gallagher

January 3, 2022

Love it!

Hannah Lund

April 1, 2021

Oh man I love the Kaweka's- site of my first every trail run back in the 1990's- the mighty Kaweka Challenge! This loop is awsome, must admit I think we did the gorges referred to in the write up

Tony Sharpe

April 15, 2020

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