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With a wealth of protected forest and park land, ancient volcanic summits and panoramic coastal views, the Hamilton & Waikato region offer hikers a wide range of one day and multi-day treks and tramps.
Situated in the north of the Hamilton & Waikato Region the majestic Hakarimata Range dominates the landscape. A number of walking tracks are on offer throughout the popular Scenic Reserve including the Hakarimata Walkway. The Walkway, which comprises of an 8 hour one-way tramping track, takes visitors through native bush and around the Kauri Loop Track where grand Kauri trees have stood for hundreds of years.
The prominent landmark of Mount Pirongia is well-frequented by local residents with treks to the 959m summit providing 360 degree views over the lush pastures of the region. Tranquil streams, waterfalls and restful picnic spots abound for day-walkers, while a tramping hut close to the summit caters for those keen to explore the Pirongia Forest Park over several days.
Bordering the Hamilton & Waikato and Lake Taupo regions, Pureora Forest Park is a living museum of natural history and a multi-day hiker’s paradise. A number of huts and camping grounds can be found throughout the Park with the bush-clad terrain revealing many hidden gems including a 12 metre high bird watching tower and an ancient buried forest. Discovered in 1983, the fallen forest was preserved by volcanic material from the violent Taupo eruption 1800 years ago.
For walkers wanting a combination of land-based adventures and coastal views Raglan’s Mt Karioi is the perfect spot. The mountain provides challenging day tramps featuring rocky outcrops, steep inclines and wind-swept ridges with stunning vistas across the harbour and rugged west coast.
To the West, Mt Te Aroha, the highest point in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park, also presents avid hikers with multi-day tracks to explore. Featuring old tramways, equipment relics and abandoned gold mines the Kaimai Heritage Trail that runs through the wider Park showcases the rich mining and Kauri logging history of the area in which the Hamilton & Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Southern Coromandel regions meet.
Day hikes in this area also include the Wairere Falls track, which takes walkers through beautiful, native bush and riverside scenery to the highest falls in the North Island. The Wairere Falls drop 153m over a steep escarpment, which is part of the Okauia fault line. In summer there are plenty of pools to wade and paddle in, and the track can be explored further up the river. The spectacular lookout and summit offer magnificent views of the valley and the Waikato Plains.