Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Waikareiti/Ruapani Circuit

Wairoa, Hawkes Bay

Submitted by Lyn Stanton

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 60 ?

Gnarl Factor: 57 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +15.5%

Average Downhill Gradient: -15.6%


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Estimated Times to Run







From the trailhead, keep straight on up the hill. This first part of the trail, while a moderate but relentless 300m climb, is very smooth and well formed all the way to the lakeside shelter. There are toilets here.

After the shelter the track immediately becomes significantly more technical, initially hugging the lakeside and then cutting inland for a while before meeting the Ruapani Circuit junction which is signposted. If you just want to do the circuit, turn left - but this full route incorporates an out and back to visit Sandy Bay Hut further around the lakeside. This stretch looks deceptively easy on the map but the repeated significant undulations in and out of side creeks are reasonably taxing. The track is generally good but fern overgrowth can make it hard to see your feet and will slow most people down a bit.

There are a number of small bridges in the gullies and eventually you will emerge at Sandy Bay - lovely for a dip in the right season and there is water here and shelter from the elements if needed. When ready, return the way you came to the junction and this time turn right and continue the Ruapani Circuit. You will pass a number of open swamp pans in the forest - shallow lakes if there has been a lot of rain - some relief from what can seem slightly oppressive deep forest. Small sign boards give their names and will enable you to track your progress if you have a topo map. In wet weather some parts may be very muddy. Eventually you may hear the road and emerge seemingly quite suddenly by the trail head where you came in.

Magnificent native forest with interesting swamp flats and a beautiful lake

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Roadside parking opposite trail head and nearby, or park at carpark by Holiday Park

65 km

66 minutes




The track is generally well formed but there can be vegetation over growth. A topo map is recommended. It pays to maintain awareness of the usual DOC orange triangles.


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

From the lake and at the hut. Nothing on rest of circuit.

It could get very cold in here and will get dark early in such dense bush. Gear up accordingly.

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Trail Reviews

Out to sandy bay good condition. Got defeated by overgrown ferns in ruapani circuit. Lots of funghi to spot

Rebecca Maltby

February 11

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