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There are ways to visit and experience Maungatautari at no cost.

Northern Enclosure

The northern enclosure located at Hicks Road is able to be accessed by public. Parking for this area is located directly in front of Maungatautari marae at the base of the mountain. Follow signs and do not park on private property near the entrance.

The entrance is surrounded by private farmland, so please use the available track and keep to the path. The path to the northern enclosure is roughly 1.5km and includes some steep areas. 

Dog's are not permitted in the sanctuary at any time to protect the native species living within the sanctuary.

There are outdoor (long-drop) toilets available which are not maintained daily. 

The loop track within the northern enclosure is roughly 1.5km and takes an estimated 35 minutes to complete the track. Perfect for a day trip in Waipā.


Maungatautari Mountain

The Maungatautari Mountain track (Te Raki track and Te Tonga track) takes the historic route to Pukeatua Peak, from Hicks Road on the northern side to Pukeatua on the south. Allow 5-6 hours. Walkers will enjoy wonderful views of the forest and lush Waikato landscape from the two southern peaks.

Caution: The ‘Over the Mountain’ track is not suitable for children under 12 years of age. This track is suitable for experienced hikers and adventurous walkers with a good level of fitness. This track is steep at times and will be very muddy and slippery in wet weather. This walk is available for independent walkers.

Toilets: There are no toilet facilities on the northern side of the mountain (Hicks Road). Bioloo composting toilet facilities are available outside the on the southern side (Tari Road, Pukeatua).

Visitor Centre (Manu Tioriori): Limited snacks, cold drinks, tea, coffee and a small selection of ice creams are available for purchase at the between 9am and 4:00pm.

Please remember to check the weather before you head off on your tramp.

Download the map of the mountain

North to South on the over the mountain track (Te Raki track and Te Tonga track):

  1. Park at the marae on Hicks Road (northern side of Maungatautari mountain) and walk to the track at the top of Hicks Road.
  2. Walk 500m uphill using the track provided.
  3. ​Enter the sanctuary through the ‘Over the Mountain Track Entrance’ gate (double door system)
  4. *Biosecurity check – please ensure you check your bags for stowaway pests before you enter.
  5. Walk along the back of the northern enclosure for 800m uphill until reaching the over the mountain turn-off.
  6. Steep uphill walk for 1.5km climbing up tree roots and through mud – you’ll get muddy and sweaty!
  7. There is a board walk at the top 400m to the summit. At the beginning of the boardwalk there is the option of heading down the stairs to the gravel track (see Wairere Traverse).
  8. From here, there is a big drop down a muddy, slippery ridge and a couple of climbs to get to Pukeatua Peak with views to the central plateau.
  9. Steep downhill, clambering down tree roots will get you to the saddle where you can join the gravel track (Wairere Traverse).
  10. On the over the mountain track, climb the steep rocky path to the rocky outcrop to get the best views from the mountain of the Central Plateau, Mount Pirongia and Mount Taranaki.
  11. A very steep descent gradually eases into a gentle downhill ridge to get to the gravel track after 1.5km.
  12. Another 2 km down the gravel track brings you out to the southern side of the mountain.
  13. The visitors centre (Manu Tioriori) is 50m outside the gate.

Pukeatua Saddle return – Allow 2-3 hours or 7.3km 

  1. Park at the end of Tari Road (southern side of Maungatautari mountain).
  2. Walk past the Nganeko pou carving, through the wooden gates, and 20m up the gravel road to the Wairere Traverse - Over the Mountain Track gate.
  3. Enter the sanctuary through ‘Wairere Traverse - Over the Mountain Track Entrance’ gate (double door system).
  4. *Biosecurity check – please ensure you check your bags for stowaway pests before you enter. Follow the fence line for about 10 minutes while looking for kiwi footprints in puddles, also under the hood of the southern enclosure predator proof fence for wētā!
  5. Approximately 700m take the left turn-off continuing up Wairere Traverse – Over the Mountain Track.
  6. The historic Te Tonga Tramping Tack (to the east) begins approximately 1.8km into Wairere Traverse (to the west).  This track is more of a backcountry tramping track following unformed natural tracks, and orange triangles.  
  7. Climb up tree roots to the rocky outcrop to get the best views from the mountain of the Central Plateau, Mount Pirongia and Mount Taranaki.
  8. From the rocky outcrop continue a very steep 500m descent to Pukeatua saddle connecting Te Tonga Tramping Track with Wairere Traverse, below Pukeatua Peak.  There is a bench seat with partial views to the east and Waikato river.
  9. This is a good resting point before returning to Tari road via Wairere Traverse for a loop walk.  
  10. Alternatively stay on the Wairere Traverse, which is a wide gravel all-weather track heading to Pukeatua saddle and back for an easier tramp.

*Please take care on the Wairere Traverse on the way up to (and down from) the Saddle. It can be slippery in some places and there may be heavy machinery operating while we upgrade the track.

Maungatautari Peak return – Allow 5-6 hours or 14.6km

  1. Follow instruction to Pukeatua Saddle and the bench seat below Pukeatua Peak, approximately 1.5 hours or 3.6km into the tramp.  
  2. Pukeatua Saddle is a good resting point before continuing north ascending Pukeatua Peak on the historic Te Tonga Tramping Track.
  3. Climbing the 2nd highest point is a very steep climb, clambering over tree roots to Pukeatua Peak with partial views of the central plateau.
  4. From here, there are a couple of descents along a slippery ridge and a big climb up to Maungatautari Peak approximately 7.3km or 3 hours. 
  5. The trig station at Maungatautari Peak is marked as being 797m above sea level and submerged in bush.
  6. There is a picnic table to rest at before continuing north down Te Raki Tramping Track which is a boardwalk and stairs.
  7. At the bottom of the stairs take the Wairere Traverse gravel all-weather track on the left.  Returning to the southern side of Maungatautari and Tari Road car park in a loop walk.  
  8. Alternatively stay on Wairere Traverse gravel all-weather track to Te Raki Tamping Track.  Ascend the stairs to Maungatautari Peak and return to Tari Road car park on the same track for an easier tramp.

Wairere Traverse Over the Mountain return – Allow 12 hours or 22km 

Ultra-marathon runners may like to warm up on the Wairere Traverse Over the Mountain Track that is a gravel all-weather track heading right the way over Maungatautari.  

Please note that there is not a visitors centre on the northern side of Maungatautari. You will need to venture back over the mountain to retrieve your vehicle.

Link to other descriptions of the tracks:

Some important information

What you need to know

Opening hours & access

Manu Tioriori visitor centre is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm daily (closed 25th December). Snacks and beverages are available only.

Entrance to the southern enclosure (Te Tui a Tāne) is available during Manu Tioriori opening hours.

The Tautari wetlands and tuatarium are only accessible to the public on a guided tour during Manu Tioriori opening hours.

Wairere Traverse (Over the Mountain track) is accessible at any time of the day however for safety of the public and of our flora and fauna we do not recommend visiting after dark.

Environmental care code

Protect plants and animals.

Please do not feed the animals.

Carry out all of the rubbish you take in.

Keep to the tracks.

Enjoy your visit and toitū te whenua (leave the land undisturbed).

No dogs (please contact us if you have an assistance dog).

No bikes are permitted.


Before you go through any of the double gates which protect the forest from pests, please:

Check - your gear for introduced pests such as rodents, skinks or insects.

Clean - your footwear and gear, removing soil and seeds.

Close - ensure your gear is zipped up and food is in a sealed container to avoid attracting rodents or insects.