Last Updated: 20th Dec 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Iron Gate Hut to Tunupo High Point Loop

Ashhurst, Manawatu - Wanganui

Submitted by Kym Skerman

Last Updated: 20th Dec 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 54 ?

Gnarl Factor: 77 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush


Open farmlands

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +14.0%

Average Downhill Gradient: -13.9%


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Estimated Times to Run

Not suitable






The start of the run is fairly straightforward as you start on the popular Heritage Hut track. Once past Heritage hut the track becomes a bit more narrow and technical. It is a fantastic track up to Iron Gate Hut, undulating and mostly beech forest along the side of the Oroua River.

If it was bad weather or you didn't want to head to the tops an out and back would be a fantastic run option as well.

Once at Iron Gate Hut take the track heading NE away from the hut. This will start climbing sharply towards the tops of the Ruahines. Once near the top the vegetation changes quite dramatically and the track and quite likely the weather (and visibility) also. It is very slow going and a map and compass are a must to navigate around the tops and over to the Tunupo high point.

Do not cut under the high point as you may take the wrong ridge down. Climb to the top of the high point and take a bearing to ensure you are heading down the right ridge. As you get closer to the bush line a track will appear and it is pretty straight forward back down to join the Heritage Hut track and head back to the carpark.

NB This route shares a fair bit in common with the Ngamoko Range Traverse route, which you can read about here

This trail includes the peak Tunupo.

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.

Large carpark off a side road for parking.

70 km

60 minutes




Make sure you are taking the correct ridge back down.


Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece 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, Gaiters

Water available along the river and at Heritage and Iron Gate Hut.

Can get very cold on the tops. When I ran it, it was 24 degrees in the carpark and on the tops I was wearing my jacket, beanie and gloves!

Take long gaiters for the tussock and leatherwood tops.

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Overlapping Trails

These overlap with this trail 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 activity for each.

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