Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Kaitarakihi Summit

Thames, Waikato

Submitted by Robyn Lesh

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 20 ?

Gnarl Factor: 58 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Very hilly

Native bush

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +16.6%

Average Downhill Gradient: -16.6%


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Estimated Times to Run







Starting at the trailhead, 0.5km from the parking, the trail jumps right into a 100m climb between 0.7km & 1.5km before levelling out to ups & downs along a ridgeline for the next 2km (10m-40m mini-hills).

The summit ascent starts at 3.5km and starts to get real around 4km. After a short break at around 4.3km the real scramble starts where the trail is a rock-climb to the summit! Seems the trail used to continue past the summit but this has been pretty clearly blocked off. This summit is the reward!

Return the way you came.

Note: The chains providing assistance for the final ascent of the Kaitarakihi Summit Track have been removed. Without them the final ascent is an extreme climb and should only be attempted by experienced trail runners and trampers.

This trail includes the peak Kaitarakihi.

All the track is through native bush with a viewpoint along a ridgeline part way to the summit. Fairly exposed final climb to the summit but amazing views. Reasonably protected summit clearing at the top.

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Parking is at a viewpoint, not super well maintained but spacious & sufficient.

21 km

21 minutes




The trail is marked & well trodden.


Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone

No water available on trail.

Would be exposed slick rock after a rain. Best done in dry good conditions. Trail prior to summit scramble could likely be done in any weather.

Scramble near the summit not good for faint of heart or bad weather.

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Trail Reviews

Great views from the top excepting the really scary one back down the way you just came up! This track is 4km of trail running, followed by 500 metres of mountaineering. Can't say I enjoyed the last bit. The rest of the trail is steeply undulating though the last couple of km down (including the 600m on the state highway to the car park) provided a chance to add some speed and release some pent up nervous tension. Good to have done it but can't see me repeating this one any time soon.

Jeremy Boase

January 30, 2022

I just wanted to add that the chains at the top where the rock climb is have been removed. It is now a serious ascent that I don't recommend you try unless you really know what you are doing.

Andrew McDowall

January 20, 2022

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