The Rapurapu Kauri Track in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park is accessible directly from SH29 the Waikato side of the Kaimai Range. The track leads to 3 large Kauri trees near the southern limit of their natural occurrence. On the way the track crosses the Rapurapu Stream 8 times. The stream crossings may not be possible after heavy rain.
The first 750 m or so of the track goes through recently cleared pine forest, before entering the regenerating native bush area in the Forest Park. The same track is used in both directions, for a total of about 6 kms, but with only about 30 m in height difference between highest and lowest points.
The Leyland O’Brien Tramway (or Tramline) Track follows the route taken by a tramway last used many years ago to extract logs from the forest in the Kaimai Range. The northern end of the track is at the end of Whakamarama Road, and the southern end is at a junction with the North / South Track which runs along the length of the northern end of the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park. On the way it joins up with the Ngamuwahine Track.
The DoC web site has information about the track. However, the expected time of 2 hours in each direction does not agree with the DoC panels along the track, and the actual walking time was about 2 hours 15 minutes without any breaks. One of the few tracks where the actual walking time was longer than the DoC posted time. Continue reading
The Mt Eliza Mine Track connects the North South Track in the Kaimai Range to Thompsons Track, south-west of Katikati. Thompsons Track consists of two major parts: a road from SH2 south of Katikati to the boundary of the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park, an impassable 4WD track crossing over the Kaimai Range to Thompsons Road, off Te Aroha – Gordon Rd on the western side of the Kaimai Range. The Mt Eliza Mine Track passes the old, abandoned Mt Eliza gold mine, with part of the track consisting of the pack track used to transport supplies to the mine. Continue reading
The North South Track in the Kaimai Range is a total of 82 km long, with the northern end in the Karangahake Gorge, and the southern end near the summit of SH29 across the Kaimai Range. Accessible directly from SH29 is also a short Kaimai Summit Loop Track, about 700m long, with two stream crossings and numerous steps.
This post covers the Summit Loop Track and the North South Track between SH29 and the North Henderson Tramline Track. For more details of the Henderson Tramline Tracks see the Henderson Tramline Loop post. This also includes the North South Track between the two tramline track branches.
There is a parking area by the northern side of SH29 near the summit. The Summit Loop track forms the first part of the North South track, with both starting at the parking area. Directly across the road from the parking area is a small spring where people often stop and collect drinking water. Continue reading
There are several walking tracks starting at or near Aongatete Lodge, on a short access road near the end of Wright Rd south of Katikati. The tracks are in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park. One of the tracks provides access to the North South Track, which runs along almost the whole length of the Kaimai Range. The other tracks provide walks through regenerating native forest, and access to a popular swimming hole in a local stream.
There is a parking area on the lodge access road, and a toilet nearby. Although there is also parking by the lodge this should not be used, as the gate on the access road may be locked at any time. Continue reading
Mount Te Aroha in the Kaimai Range at the edge of the Hauraki Plains towers above the town of Te Aroha. At a height of 953m it is the highest mountain in the area, with the summit being used for a transmission and communication tower. Previously the mountain has seen mining (gold, silver, tin, etc) and forestry activity.
There is a road leading from Tui Rd to the summit, but this is not open to the public. Several walking and tramping tracks also lead to the summit, with the shortest and most direct being the track from the Te Aroha Domain. This is the most frequently used track. With the Domain only being about 35 metres above sea level, there is a more or less direct climb of about 920 metres to reach the summit. Continue reading
The Lindemann Loop Track, accessible from the end of Lindemann Rd just north of Katikati, consists of two parts: the southern Ridge Track, and the northern Pack Track. These rejoin at a junction a short distance from the Wairoa Shelter. The track continues on past the Wairoa Shelter, joining up with the Upper Waitawheta Track and Cashmores Clearing Track. The Wairoa Stream Track also joins up with the Lindemann Loop Pack Track.
The Pack Track is more than twice as long as the Ridge Track, but has a gentle gradient except where crossing streams where the original track has been washed away. The Ridge Track has some steep sections as it follows a ridgeline from Lindemann Rd to the junction with the Pack Track.
Although it is now considered too dangerous to climb Sentinel Rock, a large rocky outcrop in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park, it is still possible to view the rock and surrounding valley from a nearby lookout. There are also views to the Pacific Ocean and parts of the Bay of Plenty.
The track to the lookout starts at the end of Hot Springs Rd, just south of Katikati. The Tuahu Track and Tuahu Kauri Loop Track lead past two of the largest kauri trees in the Western Bay of Plenty, to the start of the Sentinel Rock Track.
The Ngamuwahine and Ngamuwahine Loop Tracks on the northern slopes of the Kaimai Ranges in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park are accessible from the end of Ngamuwahine Road, off SH29, about 25km south of Tauranga. Ngamuwahine Road, about 3km long, is gravel, winding, and only about 1 vehicle width most of the way. So meeting with other traffic usually means one of them reverses to the nearest suitable passing spot.
Tauranga Intermediate School administers an outdoor education facility, the Ngamuwahine Outdoor Education Lodge, at the end of Ngamuwahine Road. There is a large grass parking area and picnic area at the end of the road, by the entrance to the lodge and the start of the track. But there are no toilet facilities on or near the track.
The tracks pass through regenerating native forest, with a number of pine trees in between. All the tracks are under tree cover, so will stay moist for most of the year.
The Henderson Tramline Loop in the Kaimai Range is a short distance south of Tauranga, just off SH29. Unfortunately there are no expansive views from this track, which starts on Old Kaimai Rd, and ends about 1.5km away, also on Old Kaimai Rd. Large parts of the track follow the Henderson Tramline Western Branch and Northern Branch. These tramlines were constructed to transport logs when the forest was milled. None of the rails survive, but there are remains of the tramline sleepers in several places. Continue reading