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Pouakai Circuit, Taranaki

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Pouakai CircuitIntermediate

Submitted by Chris Wheatley

Info Info
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Trail Information






New Plymouth

Front country - easily accessible


Very hilly

Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops


6:30 (Slow)
5:15 (Moderate)
4:00 (Fast)



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Take the Holly Hutt trail (also has the yellow Pouakai Crossing markers) to the immediate left hand side of the historic camp house. The track gently climbs for a couple of minutes before steepening climbing the stairs for approximately 1.5kms and crossing the Razorback Ridge. From here the trail takes you beneath the spectacular Dieffenbach cliffs and across Boomerang slip, be careful here as the slip is quite unstable. Remember to look up towards the summit as you pass through the valleys for amazing views that change as you make your way around the mountain. The trail continues from here with an overall downhill gradient passing the site of the huge slip that closed the track (this has had extensive reconstruction work to rebuild the trail) before meeting the junction with the Kokowai Track and continue on towards Holly Hutt.

After the steep descent from Henry’s peak the trail leads down to Kaiauai Shelter (no water available here) and several stream crossings including 2 swing bridges. After the second swing bridge there is a short climb up the side of the valley and you meet an intersection with the Ram track. Take this track as it climbs through the bush to return to the carpark next to the Camp house. 

It's worth noting that the section from above the razorback at the Round the Mountain track junction all the way around to the Pouakai Hut is part of a big project to ‘improve’ the track and make it more accessible, called the Taranaki Crossing. Significant works planned over the coming years so don’t be surprised if you come across people working rebuilding the trail.

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Features of interest

Lots of incredible sights of the mountain including crossing the Ahukawakawa Swamp and past the Tarns (look out for the reflection in the lake).

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 0%

Technical Single Track: 40%

Moderate Single Track: 50%

Easy Single Track: 10%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run 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 Strava activity for each

Tahurangi Traverse

Tahurangi Traverse

Length: 8.00km

Holly Hutt Track

Holly Hutt Track

Length: 16.00km

Kokowai Loop

Kokowai Loop

Length: 13.00km

Mangorei to North Egmont

Mangorei to North Egmont

Length: 13.80km

Pouakai Crossing

Pouakai Crossing

Length: 18.00km


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    The trail begins at North Egmont Visitors Centre.

    There is quite a lot of parking at the centre however at peak times it can become full and restrictions put in place (one out, one in) so get in early. The track can get very busy too during peak times.

    27 km

    27 minutes



  • Staying Safe


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


    Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map.

    Water is only available with little side trips to Holly Hut and Pouakai Hut. Kaiauai Shelter does not have any water supply.

    Winter time often has snow on the upper section above the bush line. Following rain the lower section gets pretty muddy.

  • Post run indulgence

    North Egmont Visitors Centre
    Top of Egmont Rd
    Closest spot for a post run coffee if you cannot hang on to return to town.

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


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