Pouakai Circuit

2 - 3 days

25 km

Highlights

  • Mount Taranaki
  • Scenic alpine tarns
  • Ahukawakawa Swamp

Proximity

GRADE: ADVANCED

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

Completed relatively recently, the Pouakai Circuit ventures through some of the most beautiful areas of Egmont National Park.

Taranaki
Pouakai Crossing, Taranaki

By Peter Florence

Taranaki
Pouakai Tarn, Taranaki

By @tarshpixie

Taranaki
Egmont National Park, Taranaki

By ? jgraham

Taranaki
Egmont National Park, Taranaki

By Rob Suisted

Pouakai Circuit itinerary

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

Day 1

North Egmont > Holly Hut

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 > Pouakai Hut

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 Pouakai Track and on to Pouakai Hut.

Day 3

Pouakai Hut > North Egmont Visitor Centre

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. 

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Department of Conservation

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

Pouakai Circuit

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).
  • Pouakai Trig: Side trip from Pouakai 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 Mount Taranaki is very changeable, make sure you're prepared before setting out.

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