Pouakai Circuit

A major project has seen the creation of an international standard walking track in the northern area of the Egmont National Park.

The project is described as a conservation and community partnership that will create a new recreation opportunity in Egmont National Park and be a boost for regional tourism and the economy.

Venture Taranaki Chairman John Young said Venture Taranaki became involved in the project as a result of the vision of a number of community leaders in the region who saw tremendous potential in the development of an excellent walk around the mountain.

Venture Taranaki approached the TSB Community Trust and negotiated a $150,000 grant that will see the track on the northern area of the National Park upgraded this summer to a higher standard,” said John Young.

The project involved an extensive upgrade of an existing two-day walk through some of the most beautiful parts of the park including the Holly Hut area, Ahukawakawa Swamp, Pouakai Tarns, Maude and Henry Peaks and the Kokowai Stream.

Chairman of the TSB Community Trust Paul Butterworth said the trust viewed the project as one that benefited Taranaki people at an individual level and also regionally.

Work on the track was undertaken by three teams organised by Work and Income and supervised by DOC.

The track already existed but was in a poor state. This project has seen the circuit upgraded to the upper end of the back country adventurer standard. That’s a facility that’s going to attract people from all over New Zealand and around the world.

The funding  provided for wooden rafts to stabilise and harden the track surface, new stair casing and steps, two new bridges and new directional and interpretation signs. 

History of place names found on the Pouakai Circuit

This information was taken from a book written by A.B Scanlon, New Plymouth.

  • Ambury Monument /Ambury Bluffs
    West of Humphries Castle (1606 metres). This is named after Arthur Hamilton Ambury who gave his life in a heroic attempt to save W E Gourlay who slipped on the ice on 3 June 1918. Both died in the fall over this bluff. Ambury Monument is on the Holly Hut Track closest to the Camphouse.
  • Ahukawakawa
    Sphagnum moss swamp lying between the mountain and the Pouakai Ranges. The stream draining the swamp joins the Minarapa Stream to form Bells Falls.
  • Boomerang Slip
    From a distance this face of loose rock on the North Egmont-Holly Hut track has the appearance of a boomerang.
  • Dieffenbach Cliffs
    Ernst Dieffenbach (1811-1855), a German born naturalist employed by the New Zealand Company, organised the first ascent of Egmont in Christmas week of 1839. He was accompanied to the summit by James Herberley, a whaler and they reached the top on 23 December, having left Richard Barrett’s whaling station at Moturoa on 19 December. The route lay approximately along the valley of the Waiwhakaiho River. Dieffenbach Cliffs are above the Round-the-Mountain Track between Humphries Valley and the main valley of the Waiwhakaiho River.
  • Maude Peak
    At a height of 1221 metres, is a peak of the Pouakai Ranges east of the plateau which overlooks the Ahukawakawa Swamp. Maude Peak derives its name from Maude Road with which it is cemented by a track. Princess Maude was a daughter of King Edward V.
  • Henry Peak
    In the 1860s and throughout the 1870s James Henry, a Scottish nurseryman, was a well-known guide over the ranges on the Mangorei Road–Holly Flat route to Bells Falls and the Summit. The peak at a height of 1222 metres at the eastern end of the Pouakai Ranges.
  • Holly Hut
    At 975 metres, is close to the junction of the Round-the-Mountain and Bells Falls Track. The second hut, opened in March 1975, replaces one built in 1900 on Holly Flat named after the New Zealand holly growing profusely in the area. Here a campsite was formed in the 1860s and 1870s used by parties crossing the Pouakai from New Plymouth for the ascent of the mountain.

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