Over The Mountain (OTM) track
The track over the mountain is only for the more adventurous and experienced walkers. There are great views from Pukeatua Peak. The exit at the Southern end goes past the Southern Enclosure to the car park at the end of Tari Road.
While work continues on track improvement some parts are still the original forest track so you must be prepared to scramble over tree roots and up and down hill sides which may be slippery when wet.
You need to make adequate preparation for such a walk and consider the risks involved.
- have you allowed plenty of daylight time in the event that you may get lost along the way?
- is your footwear adequate?
- have you got adequate food and drink with you?
- have you packed additional warm clothing?
- have you left details of your intentions with family & friends?
- is your cell phone fully charged? (note there are a number of black spots on the mountain and cell phone coverage should not be taken for granted)
- have you adequately studied a map of your intended route?
- if you are intending to do a one-way walk have you organised return transport?
Out in the Styx Guesthouse operates a drop-off service to Hicks Road for $10/head (minimum 4 people or $40). Book with Out in the Styx on 0800 461 559.
WARNING - Trampers have been known to get lost when crossing the mountain, due to the number of old tracks, service tracks and monitoring lines that cross the mountain. It is recommended that you study a map before leaving and pay close attention to all signs. Tracks cross both private and public reserve land and whilst MEIT is constantly striving to improve signage there are a number of old signs still in existence which can be confusing. Read all signs carefully!
From Hicks Road entrance (Northern side of mountain)
- Time to summit (Maungatautari Peak) is approximately 1 hour 45 minutes
- Time to Tari Road (Southern exit) is approximately 5-6 hours
- Grade to the summit is Moderate
- Grade from summit to Tari Rd (Southern exit) is moderate to difficult
Park at the end of Hicks Road and walk up the sign posted track beside the farmhouse.
Follow the orange markers across the paddock and head directly up the hill to the forest line.
The view over Lake Karapiro is fabulous – take a few minutes to enjoy and get your breath back.
Note that you do not walk through the northern enclosure to reach Maungatautari peak or to walk across the mountain.
The last portion to the summit is board walked to avoid the mud. The summit itself is surrounded by forest. From this point you can return the way you came or continue along the ridge to Pukeatua (peak) and the Tari Road Southern exit.
The track from Hicks Road to Pukeatua peak is the original forest track and walking is not easy in some places.
From Tari Road entrance (Southern side of the mountain)
- Time to Pukeatua peak is 1 ½ – 2 hours
- Time to Hicks Road (Northern exit) is 5-6 hours
- Grade is moderate to difficult
At the end of Tari Road walk slightly left past the entrance to the Southern Enclosure until you reach the Over The Mountain entrance gate (there are signs pointing to the entrance to Over the Mountain track). This track passes around the outside of the Southern Enclosure for about five hundred metres before heading off into the bush. There are now two tracks to Pukeatua peak, both signposted, ingeniously named the new track and the old track. The new track is wider, metalled and with an easier camber. The old track is the original forest track which is narrow and steep in sections, it is slippery in the wet. If you choose this option be sure you have a good fitness level.
Regardless of which track you choose there is a 20 minute scramble on the final section to Pukeatua peak.
The view from Pukeatua peak across to the Kaimai Range, Pirongia, Pureora Forest Park and Karioi is fabulous – even on a cloudy day!
If you are continuing across the mountain you will be on the original forest track from Pukeatua peak for the reminder of the journey. Once again it is steep in sections, muddy and slippery when wet.