The Pouakai Crossing
18.4km / 11.5 miles (7-9hrs)
The Pouakai Crossing in Mount Egmont National Park offers a much less crowded, equally scenic and just as challenging walk than its famous neighbour, The Tongariro Crossing.
A diverse and demanding 8-9 hour walk, its a little like the Taranaki region itself; wild and rugged in places, but with breathtakingly dramatic scenery and expansive views, making for a wonderful days tramping.
The 17km track circumnavigates Mount Taranaki starting at the North Egmont visitor centre. The walk begins with a steady climb through bush land, lined on either side with native ferns, and with the imposing Mount Taranaki looming up ahead. Walkers negotiate the Ahukawakawa alpine wetland and traverse the Stoney River bridge before climbing up the pouakai range onto the plateau 1400 metres above sea level. From here the trail descends – we recommend stopping at Pouakai Tarns for some excellent photo opportunities (weather permitting) and then continues back down through the forest on the newly upgraded Mangorei Track.
There are plans to add an extra 5km the crossing trail taking hikers past the Pukeiti Rhododendron Gardens. Surrounded by 320 hectares of rainforest the gardens bloom throughout the year with various plants and flowers, and are a wonderful place to listen out for native birdlife such as tui, bellbird, pigeon, fantail, waxeye, and cuckoo.
The Pouaki Crossing is located in the Taranaki region of New Zealand.
It starts at North Egmont and finishes at the Egmont National Park boundary at Mangorei Road so you will either need to use a shuttle service or arrange your own transportation using two vehicles.
The best time of year to walk the Pouakai Crossing is from December to April. Although the route can be walked year round the higher parts can be affected by snow and ice in winter and spring.