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The circuit can be completed in two days. If you wish to explore the central area, allow three days. There are two well maintained huts for accommodation en route.
The turmoil of centuries of volcanic activity is apparent when you see the active erosion scar of the Boomerang Slip and pass beneath the towering columns of the Dieffenbach Cliffs. The water runs red here, where manganese oxide oozes from the earth into the Kokowai Stream. After passing Holly Hut you cross Ahukawakawa Wetland, a sphagnum moss swamp that's so fragile, a single footprint remains visible for years. Not far from Pouakai Hut, you can take a side trip to the Pouakai Trig. On a clear day there are stunning views along the Taranaki coastline and to Mount Ruapehu.
There are three access points for the Pouakai Circuit: North Egmont Visitor Centre, Egmont Road; Kaiauai car park, two kilometres below the visitor centre on Egmont Road; and Mangorei Road, which is off State Highway 3 south of New Plymouth.