Tirohanga Track to Ruapane Trig, Pirongia

Ruapane is a 723 metre high peak on the north-eastern flanks of Mt Pirongia within the Pirongia Forest Park. There is a trig station and a lookout at the peak with views across the Waikato and to the Kaimai Ranges. Tirohanga Track starts at Corcoran Road, off Te Pahu Road, and climbs steadily to the lookout, before continuing on to the summit of Mt Pirongia. Ruapane can also be accessed by the Ruapane Track, starting at the end of Waite Road, which joins onto the Tirohanga Track before the final climb to Ruapane. A link track starting at the Pirongia Forest Park Lodge on Bell Road connects to Ruapane Track, and can also be used for access to the peak.

Ruapane is about 2 km from Corcoran Road, and the DoC signs indicate a 1 hour walking time. Information about the various tracks and points of interest within Pirongia Forest Park can be found in the DoC brochure “Pirongia and Raglan Tracks“, which can be downloaded from the DoC web site.

There is a parking area at the end of Corcoran Road, with a basic DoC toilet adjacent to the carpark. A very short walk along an easy well-formed track from the carpark leads to a picnic area with a lookout. Tirohanga Track also starts at the carpark, which is about 350 metres above sea level, and climbs to Ruapane Trig which is 723 metres asl. The first part of Tirohanga Track has about 463 formed steps in short stairways varying from about 6 to 18 steps long. The track gets steeper and rougher as it approaches the junction with Ruapane Track, and the last part approaching the lookout and trig is quite steep and rough.

The parking area at the end of Corcoran Road, with Corcoran Rd on the right. Tirohanga Track and the track to the nearby picnic area and lookout is to the left of the large sign. The short track to the toilets is to the right of the sign.

The information sign at the carpark.

The track to the picnic area branches off to the right just past the gates, with the Tirohanga Track continuing on straight ahead.

The track to the picnic area is on the right, Tirohanga Track to the left.

The picnic area and lookout, looking towards the north-west through mist and drizzle in the distance.

An aerial map of Pirongia Forest Park by the start of Tirohanga Track. North is to the right, with the top of the picture facing in a westerly direction.

The panel contains information about various tracks within the park, as well as the aerial image. The series of steps is typical for the lower part of the Tirohanga Track. DoC has placed bags with about 10 kg of stone chip at the track start, so walkers with suitable fitness levels can carry one of these and leave them by a step or track location that needs repair. Several bags can be found alongside the track.

The junction with Ruapane Track branching off to the left, and Tirohanga Track continuing straight ahead across the tree roots under the arched trunk.

The track is rather uneven in places, with tree roots being used as steps.

There are also short sections of rock to be crossed. Both the tree roots and the rocks can be very slippery when wet. There were also short stretches of muddy track, but these could usually be bypassed without much difficulty.

Nearing the Ruapane summit there were a few peeps through the vegetation towards the summit of Mt Pirongia and the nearby peaks.

The trig station at the summit of Ruapane, with a walker enjoying some lunch before heading back down again.

Looking towards the north-west, with the hills shrouded in mist and drizzle.

Looking at the ridgeline by the summit of Mt Pirongia.

A couple of the bags with stone chip have even reached the summit of Ruapane.

The GPS tracklog shows the track followed, and the location of the various points of interest. For the climb to the trig and lookout the distance was 2.0 km with a time of 1 hour, including a look at the picnic area. The downward walk was 1.8 km long and took 50 minutes. Half an hour was spent at the summit for a chat and some lunch.

The aerial image, from Google Maps, shows the same area. The trig is visible on Google Maps by zooming in as far as possible.

The topographic map excerpt shows the terrain and elevation and Tirohanga Track.

The track was walked on June 17, 2018.

 

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