The 40 m swing bridge over the Pillars of Hercules gorge

Image: Benhi Dixon | Creative Commons


Two family friendly short walks starting from Urchin Campsite at the end of Kaimanawa Road.

Track overview

1.1 km | 1.5 km

Walking and tramping

20 min | 30 min Easy: Walking track

Dog access

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

About this track


Kaimanawa Forest Loop Walk

Time: 20 min loop
Distance: 1.1 km

A gently sloping, easy walk through beautiful native bush. There is a notable variety of forest types to be found on this short walk.

Urchin Campsite to Pillars of Hercules

Time: 30 min one way
Distance: 1.5 km

A pleasant walk through kamahi forest with views of the Tongariro River below. Return via same track, or along the road.

The Pillars of Hercules:This deep gorge has a complex history of formation. The river has eroded a narrow channel through ancient lava flows (350,000 years and older) of andesite and ignimbrite rock.

You can view the spectacular ravine from a 40 m long suspension bridge, which you can reach via the walking track, or alternatively from the car park 2 km along Kaimanawa Road.

This feature is even more spectacular from the air as the Tongariro River can be seen to suddenly narrow as it passes through this chasm.

Getting there

Both walks start at the Urchin Campsite 3 km along Kaimanawa Road. Kaimanawa Road is off SH1, 15 km south of Tūrangi.


Turangi Office
Phone:   +64 7 384 7106
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   3 Town Centre
Turangi 3334
Postal Address:   Private Bag 2
Turangi 3353
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