The purpose of this series is to encourage every day Kiwis to walk sections of Te Araroa, to improve their health and wellness and prove it’s not just for fit foreigners. The Pirongia Traverse section of Te Araroa is a 16km ‘up and over’ Mt Pirongia, a mighty ancient volcano in the Waikato region.
The traverse of Pirongia Mountain starts with the Department of Conservation’s Nikau Walk - an easy stroll south from the Kāniwhaniwha carpark, following the stream through a forest of plantings. Before long you are plunged into dense original native bush, including rimu, totara, nīkau and tawa. If you listen carefully, you can hear the song of native birds that are benefitting from intense trapping and predator control in the area.
The ascent to the summit (Tahuanui Track) is a pretty hard slog, especially if you are new to bush walking, as our group were. The novice hikers featured in this video found it challenging, though did very well to all make it to camp. The hardest part of the track (both up and down) is the thick mud and slippy roots that can cause some trouble, especially after rain. Check the weather forecast before starting this trek, as it can be quite challenging in high winds, and rain.
Day two of the traverse is a steep descent from campsite, to the Waitomo side of Pirongia via a well made boardwalk. For some, especially with bad knees, it can be as hard or harder getting down, as it was getting up the mountain the day prior.