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Pouakai Circuit, Egmont National Park

Holly Hut - a great place for a game of Cricket. Photo: Ricky French
Egmont National Park
Total Ascent
3 days
Pouakai Hut, 16 bunks; Holly Hut, 32 bunks
A small car park before the North Egmont road end
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This tramp strikes the perfect balance between adventure and comfort, making it ideal for the novice and the experienced tramper. This description starts from the car park on Egmont Road – not North Egmont Visitor Centre.

This way, the hardest, longest day is done first. Head down the bush track and, after around half an hour, cross a swingbridge near the convergence of Ram and Kokowai streams.

The site of the former Kaiauai Shelter, now a grassy clearing offering views to Henry Peak, offers a good rest stop. The climb up Henry Peak is the biggest ascent of the trip, but a pretty modest one.

The bush section steepens and gives way to shrubs and the summit provides rewarding views of the range. Then it’s time to tackle the Henry Peak rafts – 2200m of wooden rafts laid, protecting both the landscape and the composure of trampers.

A gentle climb along a ridge brings you to one of New Zealand,s most famous photo vantage points, the Pouakai Tarns. If you ever gushed over a photo of Mt Taranaki reflected in a fetching tarn high on a mountain, the photo was taken here.

Pouakai Hut sits a short way down from a rocky plateau, only 15 minutes from the tarns. A gentle amble down a well-graded track leads to Ahukawakawa Swamp and a bridge over a pristine stream, and continues to Holly Hut – possibly the most family-friendly hut in the country.

Climb the terraced track that snakes up the folds of Mt Taranaki,s northern slopes. When you reach a junction, descend along the Kokowai Track, back into the bush.

The Kokowai Track is a more traditional tramping track, narrow and slightly overgrown, but still easy enough to negotiate. When the swingbridge first crossed on day one is reached, you know the end is nigh.

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