Home / Trips / Hawkes Bay

Hawke’s Bay Ridge, Ruahine Forest Park

Image of the February 2020 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
February 2020 Issue

Topped out in the Bay

You won’t find ‘Hawke’s Bay Ridge’ on any modern topo maps, but local trampers know and use the name. It was likely coined by tramper, botanist and mapmaker extraordinaire, Norman Elder (1896–1974).

Elder began his tramping in Wellington, but shifted to Hawke’s Bay in 1931. He co-founded the Heretaunga Tramping Club, explored and mapped the Hawke’s Bay mountains, and introduced many schoolboys from Hereworth College to the hills. It was in his Route Guide to the Ranges West of Hawke’s Bay (1959) that I first saw a reference to the ‘Hawke’s Bay Ridge’.

The ridge is about 7km long, connecting Iron Peg on the Hikurangi Range with Ohuinga on the main Ruahine Range, and provides exhilarating tops travel, with a few tarns en route, and enough challenge to keep you on your toes (including one narrow cheval-like section).

A superb option in good weather is to circumnavigate the tops around the entire Pourangaki catchment, which combines the Hawke’s Bay Ridge with the Sawtooth Ridge, and Te Hekenga – other notably rugged parts of the park. Purity and Kelly Knight Huts provide accommodation, but you’ll need a tent too. Many superb tarn-side camping places exist en route.

Elder probably named the ridge because it provides a high-level connection from the west to the Hawke’s Bay side of the Ruahine Range in the east. Perhaps one day someone will get his name officially recognised on modern maps.

Support Wilderness

Since 1991, Wilderness has had one simple goal: to help Kiwis ‘See more, do more, live more’ of New Zealand.

If you value our mission, please consider subscribing. As a loyal supporter, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • New Zealand’s best outdoor journalism We’ve won multiple awards for our journalism and magazine production.
  • NZ’s best trips. Browse more than 610 trips with downloadable maps and route notes.
  • Trustworthy gear reviews. Each month we review gear we’ve been bashing and thrashing for months so you can determine if its worth your money.
  • Member benefits. Our WildCard provides discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.
  • Your support goes a long way. Your subscription will help us fund NZ’s best outdoor journalists and writers and ensure Wilderness will be there to inspire the next generation of outdoor Kiwis.

A subscription costs as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.

Distance
33.3km
Total Ascent
2924m
Grade
Difficult
Time
Maungakukeke Road to Purity Hut, 3hr; To Ohuinga, 4hr; To Kelly Knight Hut via Te Hekenga, 7-8hr; To road end, 3hr
Accom.
Purity Hut ($5, six bunks), Kelly Knight Hut ($5, eight bunks)
Access
To complete the circuit of the Pourangaki catchment, start from Maungakukeke Road end – permission is required to cross private farmland, see DOC website for details
Map
BK36

GPX File

Hawkes Bay Ridge (gpx, )

GPX File

Your device does not support GPX files. Please try a different device.