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Taraire Ridge and Pukenui Loop, Northland

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Taraire Ridge and Pukenui LoopBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Mike Tennent

Info Info
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Trail Information







Urban fringe


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Plantation/exotic forest

Beginner - Intermediate

2:30 (Slow)
2:00 (Moderate)
1:15 (Fast)



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Head from the carpark following the gravel walkway. Head straight past the first gate into the 'Kiwi Area' and keep following the gravel path around. You will soon come to a second gate and head on in through that.... then, as the sign says, follow the orange triangles (not the pink trappers ones).

The first bit is really easy running on well manicured trails. There is the occasional rough bit, but at first you will find it smooth going - easy way to warm up. Even the first few up and downhills have steps for most of them. I could see they were still quite new. I could understand though, as there are kauri all around including an absolute beaut (make sure you take the short detour). With Kauri Dieback becoming so prevalent, anything to save these stunning trees is ok by me... even if it means running totally on boardwalk!

Then the going gets a bit more technical, still some steps thrown in and some boardwalk... at 5km you come to a signed intersection. This is where you can go left and complete the Pukenui Loop, or head right onto the Taraire Ridge Track... as is the way for this run. Then everything changes, no manicured trails here... from here on in it's technical, technical and more technical. Ups and downs, tree roots by the million, so small stream crossings and a healthy dose of mud.... pretty much everything we look for in a trail! It this section you have to pay attention to the triangles, because quite often there is no apparent trail. But they are there and slowly you will work around the loop and back to that first gate we walked by at the start... make sure to check out the second large kauri not to far from the end.

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Features of interest

Some amazing old trees including Kauri Groves and 2 large and beautiful Kauri.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 5%

Technical Single Track: 60%

Moderate Single Track: 25%

Easy Single Track: 10%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 0%

Gravel Road: 0%

Sealed Road: 0%

Route Data


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I did it!
  • Access

    The trailhead is only about 2 minutes from downtown Kamo in the northern part of Whangarei. Turn onto Three Mile Bush Road and head out until you come to Amalin Drive... which also has a sign (that you could easily miss) for Pukenui Forest Walk.
    At the end of Amalin Drive is a carpark from where the adventure begins.

    The carpark is quite a way from any houses so make sure it is locked and any valuables either hidden or taken with you.

    10 km

    17 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    If you lose the next orange marker, pick out what looks to be the right direction and head that way... within 20-30m you should be able to see the next triangle. If not then backtrack to the previous one and make sure.

    There is only one trail off the Taraire Ridge Track that actually heads back down right into Whangarei City.

    Very patchy.

    Waterproof leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.

    There is a stream that comes close on a lot of the run, not sure how potable it is, but if needs must!

    I can imagine in winter it could get very mucky.

    Tree roots, tree roots, tree roots..... they are everywhere and a sprained ankle waiting to happen. Don'y try to go too fast on the second half of the route unless you are a wizard at tree root running!

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