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The Matemateāonga Track along with the Mangapurua Track is one of the two major tramping opportunities available in Whanganui National Park. Using an old Maori trail and settlers’ dray road, you are able to penetrate deep into the wilderness of the park.

Track overview

42 km

Walking and tramping

3 - 5 days one way Advanced: Tramping track

Dog access

Dogs with a DOC permit only. Contact the relevant DOC office to obtain a permit.

About this track


The track traverses an expanse of thick bush clad hill country between Taranaki and the Whanganui River. The 42 km track is usually tramped in three to four days.

Kohi Saddle to Omaru Hut

Time: 1 hr 30 min

The track begins at Kohi Saddle in regenerating bush but reaches thick bush as the track ascends a spur to the crest of the Matemateāonga Range.

Omaru Hut, Whanganui National Park. Photo: Dave Brockway.

Omaru Hut

Category: Serviced
Facilities: 8 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served

Omaru Hut to Pouri Hut

Time: 5 hr

The track continues along the top of the Matemateāonga Range, initially through dense bush on the south western side of the range and then crossing to the northern flank. On a clear day there are occasional glimpses of the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park. 

About 3.5 hours from Omaru Hut, a signposted track branches off the main track to the summit of Mt Humphries (732 m). It is known by Māori as Whakaihuwaka – “made like the prow of a canoe”. The name refers to the skyline shape of Mt Humphries and the Matemateāonga Range. This side trip of 1.5 hours return offers a sweeping view of three national parks – Whanganui, Egmont and Tongariro.

Back on the main track, Humphries’ Clearing is a further 30 minute walk. Just past the clearing is the junction with the Puteore Route which leads south into the Waitotara Conservation Area. This route is not maintained so not recommended. Pouri Hut is one hour further along the main track.

Pouri Hut, Waitotara Conservation Area. Photo: Dave Brockway.

Pouri Hut

Category: Serviced
Facilities: 12 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served

Pouri Hut to Ngapurua Hut

Time: 3 hr 15 min

The track continues to be an easy walk. It stays on the gentle crest of the range.

Ngapurua Hut.

Ngapurua Hut

Category: Serviced
Facilities: 10 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served

Ngapurua Hut to Puketotara Hut

Time: 3 hr 30 min

The track continues on a gentle gradient with intermittent views to the north. 

Puketotara Hut, Waitotara Conservation Area. Photo: Dave Brockway.

Puketotara Hut

Category: Serviced
Facilities: 8 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served

Puketotara Hut to Whanganui River

Time: 1 hr

From the hut, follow the track as it drops abruptly off the Matemateāonga Range and steeply winds down through bush to the banks of the Whanganui River. Just beyond the hut there is a sweeping view over the Whanganui River with the Tongariro peaks lying on the eastern horizon. A large sign marks the rendezvous point with the jet boat and the beginning of the river journey to Pipiriki.

An emergency phone is available at the Bridge to Nowhere Lodge.

Overnight opportunities

Kohi Saddle – Mt Humphries – Omaru Hut – Kohi Saddle

It is a relatively easy five hour walk from Kohi Saddle road end to the top of Mt Humphries (732 m). Although not very tall, this peak rises well above the surrounding hill country. Spectacular views of Mt Taranaki/Egmont in the west, the Central Plateau volcanoes in the east and the flat topped Mt Hikurangi to the north make this walk worthwhile for all members of the family. On your return, stay overnight at Omaru Hut before a leisurely walk back to the road the next day. This walk is an excellent opportunity to introduce the younger members of your family to tramping.

Pipiriki – Bridge to Nowhere –Puketotara Hut – Pipiriki

Take a jet boat trip from Pipiriki up the Whanganui River to Mangapurua Landing and walk into the historic Bridge to Nowhere. Afterwards jet boat down river to the end of the Matemateāonga Track, walk up the ridge 1.5 hours to Puketotara Hut, to spend the night in podocarp splendor, with expansive views of the Whanganui River, the bush clad hills of Whanganui National Park and the volcanoes of the Central Plateau. The following day return to the river before jet boating back to Pipiriki.

Day walk opportunities

Kohi Saddle – Omaru Hut

Time:  3 hr return

An easy walk on a benched track close to Stratford but with a backcountry feel. This pleasant walk through podocarp forest includes spectacular tree ferns and provides an excellent opportunity for botanising. The native clematis starts to flower from October onwards, followed closely by the rata and the rewarewa (New Zealand honeysuckle). The track gently sidles across the hillside with astounding views of surrounding forest even in wet weather. Omaru Hut provides a pleasant lunch stop before returning to the road end.

Puniwhakau Road – 'The Letter Boxes' – Puniwhakau Link Track – Kohi Saddle

Time: 8 hr

This is a full day’s walk for the more experienced tramper through podocarp forest and regenerating manuka. This tramp provides views over the Mt Taranaki/Egmont ring plain. A topographical map is required for this route which is lightly marked with standard orange triangles. 

Getting there

The track is reached from SH 43 at Strathmore, east of Stratford, where the signpost indicates the road to Upper Mangaehu Road. The track entrance at Kohi Saddle is 20 minutes away. There are kilometre posts along the track from Kohi Saddle to Puketotara Hut. They do not continue down to the Whanganui River.

Transport by jet boat must be arranged with a transport operator, to either pick up or drop off your party at the river end of the track.

Know before you go

The four huts on the Matemateāonga Track require three hut tickets a night. There are slots for the deposit of tickets in the store cupboard door which is located opposite the main entrance to each hut. Annual hut passes can also be used.

Warning: The connecting routes are for experienced trampers only. They are only lightly marked and the path may be obscured by vegetation.

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.


Whanganui Office
Phone:      +64 6 349 2100
Full office details
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