Desperate to get out of Auckland for Queen’s Birthday Weekend, we decided to summit Mt. Te Aroha, the highest point on the Kaimai-Mamaku range (952m). Te Aroha town is only a 1 hr 46 min drive from Auckland (and we had the luxury of the long weekend) so it seemed like a promising one-day excursion. We took our time leaving the city Saturday night, ready to start climbing the next morning.
Te Aroha Summit Track:
Beginning at the Mokena Geyser in Te Aroha Domain, the track ascends almost 1 km – I know my quads were screaming the whole time – and can get a bit muddy, so make sure you’ve got trail running shoes or hiking boots with good grip. It took us approximately two hours to get to the summit, stopping for a few quick water breaks and the cheeky photo opportunity.
We timed it so we could enjoy lunch up there, though I pretty much inhaled my food before I could face the descent. Apparently you’re supposed to be able to see Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Taranaki on a clear day. While we were lucky in terms of the weather, visibility was a bit compromised and we couldn’t see as far as the doc site promised. One of the best parts was the run down to the bottom – my first ever trail run! Lots of roots and slippy bits to watch out for, but a heck of a lot of fun if you’re mad for a bit of speed.
Amazing scenery en route to summit
Essential hiking gear guide:
My somewhat muddy trail running shoes!
Barry’s well-loved Inov8s
Layered up at the summit
A good pair of trail running shoes; I can’t get over how amazing my inov8 Roclites are – these beauties got me down the mountain in one piece with ZERO falls (and I’m probably the most unco person out there). The grip is amazing, and hey it doesn’t hurt that they’re hot pink either.
Activity tracker; We used a Garmin Vivosmart watch keep track of the distance traveled. The best part if you can share the route on social media afterwards and have a digital log of all your activity.
Plenty of water. While I usually carry at least 2L of water with me, I only took one bottle this time and all of us ran out! Te Aroha is definitely thirsty work so make sure you’re well equipped!
Warm layers. Depending on what time of the year you head up (the official site says “be prepared for alpine conditions at the summit”) a merino base layer, windbreaker/rain jacket and a hat should mostly suffice.
Can’t wait to discover more of the Kaimai Ranges!