Last Updated: 15th Jan 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Taraire Ridge and Pukenui Loop

Whangarei, Northland

Submitted by Mike Tennent

Last Updated: 15th Jan 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 19 ?

Gnarl Factor: 66 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +8.0%

Average Downhill Gradient: -8.0%


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Estimated Times to Run







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.

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

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.

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




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!

Trail Legend

Raewyn Peters

Raewyn Peters

has completed Taraire Ridge and Pukenui Loop once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Love the tree roots and the big hill!! Hoka EVO Jawz all day

Pat Kalin

December 23, 2021

Awesome trail, lots of gnarly tree roots. But an awesome trail through the bush.

Bevan Hand

June 3, 2021

Awesome! Like a steeper version of the southern Catlins Forest.

Mike McManaway

June 3, 2021

Very gnarly, lots of tree roots, at least 3 creek crossings. But worth the effort be in such beautiful bush.

Ian Kleingeld

April 18, 2021

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