2 - 3 Days 25 km


  • Taranaki Maunga
  • Scenic alpine tarns
  • Ahukawakawa Swamp



Sections of this track can become impassable in winter due to snow and ice.

The Pouākai Circuit ventures through some of the most beautiful areas of Egmont National Park/Te Papakura o Taranaki, including the iconic reflective Pouākai Tarn.

Pouakai Circuit, Taranaki, Taranaki

Pouākai Circuit itinerary

The Pouākai Circuit is the perfect choice for adventurers seeking to experience the beauty of Egmont National Park's rainforest, tussock highlands, alpine swamp and volcanic features.

Day 1

Egmont National Park/Te Papakura o Taranaki Visitor Centre > Holly Hut (3-4 hours, 7.5 km)

Climb through montane forest and subalpine scrub to the towering lava columns of the Dieffenbach Cliffs and Boomerang Slip, before gradually descending to the Ahukawakawa Track junction and Holly Hut.  

Day 2

Holly Hut > Pouākai Hut (2-3 hours, 4.5 km)

A boardwalk leads you across the Ahukawakawa wetland, a sphagnum moss swamp that's so fragile, a single footprint remains visible for years. After crossing the headwaters of Stony River, climb the ridge through picturesque mountain cedars, to Pouākai Track and on to Pouākai Hut.

Day 3

Pouākai Hut > Egmont National Park/Te Papakura o Taranaki Visitor Centre (6 hours, 13 km)

The third day sees you traversing open tussock lands and passing scenic alpine tarns (pools) before skirting around Maude Peak and climbing Henry Peak. From here the track descends down to the Kai Auahi Stream and continues on through lowland forest to the Waiwhakaiho River. 

Department of Conservation

Click the link below for more information and detailed maps of this hike.

Pouākai Circuit(opens in new window)

More information

Alternative Routes

The circuit can be completed in two days; however, if you wish to explore the central area, allow three days. 

  • Bells Falls: Side trip from Holly Hut to towering Bells Falls (1 hour return).
  • Pouākai Trig: Side trip from Pouākai Hut for stunning views along the Taranaki coastline (1 hr 30 min return). 


Getting there

Depending on which route you want to take there are several entry and exit points to this circuit:

  • North Egmont Visitor Centre: Join the circuit via the Holly Hut Track. 
  • Kaiauai carpark:  Join the Kaiauai Track 2km below the visitor centre on Egmont Road. 
  • Mangorei Road: Top of Mangorei Road, off SH3, south of New Plymouth.
  • Dover Track: Carrington Road opposite Dover Road.


Need to know

You will need moderate-to-high levels of backcountry skills and experience to undertake this walk.

Safety in the outdoors: Weather on Taranaki Maunga is extremely changeable, so make sure you're prepared and check weather conditions on the DoC website before setting out.

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