Spend a day exploring Mount Maungatautari and Arapuni Power Station. Almost side by side, they offer contrasting experiences.
Mount Maungatautari (797 metres) is a forest-clad volcanic peak south east of Hamilton. Soon the mountain will be completely surrounded by a pest-proof fence, allowing the creation of a 'mainland island' where rare native species can thrive. When complete, the fence will be around 47 kilometres long. Currently, two portions of the mountain have been fenced, allowing the reintroduction of kiwi to the area. You can enter the fenced zones to walk a choice of tracks. It's also possible to hike to the summit of the mountain. The track is stepped in places, well marked and fairly dry underfoot. To find the track, park your car at the end of Hicks Road and walk up beside the farmhouse. The summit itself is surrounded by forest, but if you're agile you can find the views by climbing the trig station. Allow at least half a day for the return journey.
Not far from Mount Maungatautari is the Arapuni Hydro Power Station. Arapuni is the oldest operating power station on the Waikato River (completed in 1929) and the powerhouse is protected under the Historic Places Trust. A memorable feature of the forested gorge below the powerhouse is the suspended footbridge, which is 152 metres long and has a slope of eight metres. You can walk across the bridge for spectacular views of the scenic gorge.