My Favourite Walk: Per­spir­ing on Piron­gia

Walking New Zealand - - Contents - By Alana Srubar-Ver­non

Mt Piron­gia sum­mit can be reached through many routes. Park­ing at the end of Grey Road, we started off with the en­joy­able Man­gakara Na­ture Walk.

Rich in a va­ri­ety of na­tive trees, it was a good in­tro­duc­tion to New Zealand bush for our Slove­nian friend. We joined onto the Link Track as­cended through the fog layer that en­veloped us. Join­ing onto the Rua­pane Track, we slogged even more steeply up to the Rua­pane Look­out.

The trig point here made a very lovely stop point for morn­ing tea. Above the cloud line we felt on top of the world. Dur­ing the steep as­cent we had worked up quite a sweat, and it is rec­om­mended that you take more wa­ter than you think you will need.

From the look­out the route joins the Tiro­hanga Track, a jaunty up and down trail that re­quires the use of a fair many rope chains (would be very tricky with­out them). Af­ter join­ing from the Rua­pane Look­out there is a lovely cliff that is per­fect for boul­der­ing and pro­vides an­other nice break spot.

The Tiro­hanga Track takes you right up to the sum­mit (the junc­tion just be­fore the sum­mit joins with the Tahuanui Track, which is also part of the Te Araroa Trail), where there is a view tower that pro­vides an ex­cel­lent out­look over the Waikato land­scape.

Ac­cord­ing to the “lit­er­a­ture” Mt Taranaki and Ruapheu can be viewed from here, but the clouds pre­vented our at­tempts to sight them. Just a little on from the tower is the Pa­hautea Hut, which we de­cided not to visit due to time con­straints.

Tram­pers we meet head­ing the other di­rec­tion told us of how over­full it had been that night (and ac­cord­ing to the log book this is a fre­quent event), so if you are plan­ning to break up the trek and stay the night maybe con­sider bring a tent. The view tower made an ex­cel­lent

lunch spot, but be­ing drenched in sweat and cov­ered with clouds, the wind chill forced us to scoff down our food and start our de­scent.

A short back­track and you join up with the Ma­haukura Track which takes you straight back down to Grey Road carpark. I would hate to think of the peo­ple that brave com­ing up this way as the num­ber of rope chains needed to tum­ble down this track was hard go­ing. In­ter­spersed be­tween the rope chains were gul­lies that re­quired some bush bash­ing at points as the track was com­pletely bogged out. A num­ber of peaks on the route down pro­vide a brief view over the area, which for us showed glimpses of po­ten­tial rain clouds draw­ing in closer and closer, each time we made a peak.

Relief flooded over our party as we reached the end point and we gladly changed out of our sweat soaked gear into fresh clothes and clean shoes. Bag­ging Piron­gia sum­mit is a great way to chal­lenge your­self and test your joints out with the con­stant un­du­lat­ing land­scape. It took us 10 hours to­tal in­clud­ing breaks.

Above left: A view from the Ma­haukura Peak. Bot­tom left: View from Sum­mit Tower look­ing back over the track.

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