Pirongia Loop of Insanity.Intermediate
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Front country - easily accessible
Native bushRiversideOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/topsOther
Not Suitable (Slow)
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
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Start at the reserve carpark, cross Limeworks Loop Road and take the Nikau walk for 2.5 km to the Kaniwhaniwha Campsite.
From the campsite follow the Tahuanui Track for a hard climb of about 6.5 km until it meets the Tirohanga Track. Follow the Tirohanga Track 1 km to the Pirongia Summit (957 m), stay on the track for about another 1 km until you get to the Pahautea Hut. The hut has shelter, water, and the most phenomenal view from a toilet you will ever get.
From the hut take the Bell Track 1.5 km to the Cone (954 m). From here the track drops down for about 8 km to the central campsite. Stay on the Bell Track for another 4 km and take the swing bridge over the Blue Bill Stream.
Once across the bridge the track immediately turns to the left and follows the stream for about 4 km until it meets up again with the Nikau Walk, take this 2 km back to the Kaniwhaniwha Reserve.
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Features of interest
Pirongia Mountain is the largest area of native forest remaining close to Hamilton and is of considerable conservation value due to the variety of plant life and wildlife habitats available. Rimu and tōtara are found at lower altitudes along with tawa and tree ferns. Higher up, the forest changes; hardy plants like kāmahi, tāwari, horopito and mountain.
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Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 40%
Moderate Single Track: 35%
Easy Single Track: 10%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 15%
Gravel Road: 0%
Sealed Road: 0%
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
The trail starts at the Kaniwhaniwha Reserve on Limeworks Loop Road, Te Pahu.
From Hamilton take SH23 to Whatawhata. Turn left onto Te Pahu Road after the bridge over the Waipa River. Limeworks Loop Road is about 10.6 km on the right.
There is a decent carpark with a serviced toilet block, it can get quite full so getting there early is advised. There is a great flat area beside the stream and you can soak the joints and ligaments in one of the swimming holes when you get back from the trail. There is also a DOC campsite 2.5 km from the carpark.
As this is a DOC forest park there are orange trail markers at least every 20 - 30 m in both directions of the trails. If you find you are on pink markers you have left the main track retrace your steps. There are also signs at all intersections giving directions and track names.
Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Track wise half way is the Pahautea Hut, you can get water to drink there. Although it's only 10 km it is a hard trail.
There are number of stream crossings that could be used if you carry a filter bottle.
The high level tracks on Pirongia follow steep-sided ridges. Water is difficult to find, especially in summer, so be sure to take sufficient drinking water with you. Because of poorly drained soils, many of the tracks can be very muddy, especially after rain.
Mud, rocks, streams, steep tracks and drop-offs.
Post run indulgence
Beside the reserve.
Swimming and cooling off after the hard trail!
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