There are a variety of options for day or overnight trips in the Kuripapango area. Some are round trips and some link with other road ends or access points to the Park.
Time: 30 min
The track to the lakes heads left from the carpark. It passes through kanuka and hardwood forest, and after 30 minutes branches left and descends to the western lake. The lakes were formed many thousands of years ago as a result of the damming of 2 streams by debris from a massive slip off Mt Kuripapango. Although small the lakes are of considerable ecological and botanical significance, for the large number of plant species and vegetation types in the immediate surrounds.
Although the level of the western lake fluctuates there is generally a sandy shoreline, where there is opportunity for picnics, fishing and walking. Visitors should take care not to damage the ecologically important flora and fauna surrounding the lakes by walking and trampling on the area.
Time: 2 - 3 hr
A strenuous but rewarding walk from the Lakes Carpark is to the top of Mt Kuripapango (1250 metres). This track zigzags through kanuka forest to the main ridge. As the main ridge is climbed, increasingly spectacular views appear; looking down to the lakes and east to Hawke’s Bay. Alpine flowers and tussock are scattered among the scree on top.
From the top an alternative option, instead of returning to the Lakes Carpark, is to descend the southern side of Mt Kuripapango, to Cameron Carpark on the Napier Taihape road. A track to Kiwi Saddle Hut, and the southern end of the Kaweka Range, continues to the northwest from the junction of Mt Kuripapango with the Lakes carpark track.
Time: 5 - 6 hr
To reach the hut, drop downhill to the right of the carpark through pine trees to reach the Tutaekuri River. Cross the river, then climb through kanuka then beech forest over several ridges. Follow a tributary stream until it reaches a track branch. Mackintosh Hut is on the track branching to the right, the left track provides access to the Kaweka Range. From Mackintosh Hut follow the track to the Mackintosh Carpark (the distance by road between the carparks is 2.5 kilometres).
Time: 3 - 4 hr
A return track with river crossings through manuka and beech forest and open tops offering expansive views.
Time: 2 - 3 hr
The track drops down a steep but well graded track to the Tutaekuri River, climbs to the top of Mackintosh Plateau then continues on the flat through manuka and beech forest and through some open areas to the hut. The Tutaekuri River is crossed by a steel pedestrian bridge.
Time: 5 - 6 hr
A track through manuka and beech forest offering river scenery.
Kuripapango is located 76 km from Napier on the Napier/Taihape Road.
To reach the Lakes carpark, turn off the Napier-Taihape Road onto Kuripapango Road and follow the signs to Lakes carpark.