Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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Mangaone Return

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

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Grunt Factor: 16

Gnarl Factor: 14








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Dog Friendly

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest

Open farmlands

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +8.6%

Average Downhill Gradient: -8.3%


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Estimated Times to Run







The track is straightforward to follow. From the southern end stick left and you'll soon enter Kaitawa Scenic Reserve following a well marked and formed track. When it opens out into farmland, follow the track markings and 4WD track. There is a reasonable climb up and down to the start of the northern end of the track using a well gravelled farm road, finishing at a large gate. Turn around here and head back the way you came.

The run follows the Mangaone Walkway along an old bush tramway making for generally easy gradients and a wide track (except for the occasional short sharp uphill where the track has been rerouted due to damage), and is made up of two parts. In the southern end you run through historically milled regenerating native podocarp forest which is lush and damp. In the northern end you cross a mixture of farm land, pine forest, and pockets of regenerating native forest along a rough farm road.

More info here:

The southern and northern main car parks are at isolated road ends with a few houses near by. Although it's probably safe, use common sense and don't leave valuables in plain sight. There are information boards at both ends of the track. There is no public transport.

11 km

16 minutes




At the start of the southern section make sure to stay left. A section of the Te Araroa trail heads off/joins from the right heading up to Pukeatua and over to Otaki Forks, but both trails are well marked.

Very patchy.

Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.

Take water from home, although there is plenty of water along the route it'd be sensible to treat it before drinking due to the surrounding farmland.

Can be a bit muddy in winter and after heavy rain.

Although this is an easy trail, due to poor cellphone coverage, make sure someone knows your intentions in case you hurt yourself. On sunny weekends there will be plenty of others about, but you don't want to spend a night out here as it'll be VERY cold in the valley.

Trail Legend


Brandin Jansen van Vuuren

has completed Mangaone Return 3 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Beautiful bush track for the first (Waikanae) half, following the Waikanae river. A few bridges and a couple of decent stream crossings to wash your shoes off. Would be a lovely spot in summer.The 4WD track was fine to run on but a lot steeper than I was expecting. Definitely felt like a decent workout.

Joe Benbow

June 21, 2020

I walk/run this trail weekly with two of my clients dogs. I start from the Northern end and it can be quite unsafe especially in logging truck season.

Shiree Palmer

July 31, 2019

Loved the southern section of the track but wasnt keen on the northern section - was one of the very rare times that I felt uncomfortable running alone.

Richele McKenzie

May 17, 2019

Half and half here... half sublime trail through native Bush, half 4wd road. Still a very pleasant afternoon!

Mike Tennent

February 28, 2019

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