View from the Knights-Shorts Loop Track

Image: Brian Dobbie | ©


Take a strenuous day hike and enjoy the spectacular scenery from the tops of the Ngamoko Range in the Ruahine Forest Park.

Track overview

Walking and tramping

8 - 10 hr Advanced: Tramping track

Dog access

Dogs with a DOC permit for recreational hunting or management purposes only

About this track


From the carpark follow the poled route across the farmland to the forest edge and down to cross Makiekie (Coal) Creek for the first time. Depending on the amount of rain you may end up with wet feet at this crossing. The track then climbs steeply for a short time up onto a river plateau. There is a very short loop track off to the left - Te Ngahere o Tane - which rejoins the main track a few minutes further along. Just past this is a track junction. Take the left track (Knights Track) and after a further 20 min walking meet Makiekie Creek for the second time. This is an ideal spot for a picnic and a paddle.

Cross the creek here and then climb steeply through forest for approximately one hour before reaching open shrubland. From here the hard work is rewarded with great views all the way onto the top of the Ngamoko Range (a further 1 hr 30 min - 2 hr). Poles mark the junction where the route heads south along the range. Return to the carpark via Shorts Track which heads down an open ridge before descending back into forest. The low level link track from Knights Track joins in below the bushline. Follow Shorts Track back to the main junction with Knights Track and on out to the carpark.

This is a strenuous all day hike and due to travel on the open tops this hike should not be attempted in poor visibility or bad weather.

The forest here is an interesting mix of conifer and broadleaved species and beech forest. Access to the Ngamoko Range and over to the Pohangina Valley attracts hunters and trampers to this area. Nearby Sixtus Lodge is used by school groups who often use the local tracks for outdoor recreation. A small privately covenanted bush area on Limestone Road gives access to some wonderful glowworm grottos.

Getting there

Turn right onto Apiti Road just past the village of Kimbolton. This becomes Oroua Valley Road before Apiti. Table Flat Road turns off to the right past Apiti. Follow this until you see the signpost for Limestone Road (veer to the right near the end of Table Flat Road). Wind along Limestone Road till you get to the DOC carpark at the end.

Know before you go

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.


Te Papaioea / Palmerston North Office
Phone:   +64 6 350 9700
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   28 North Street
Palmerston North 4410
Postal Address:   Private Bag 11010
Manawatu Mail Centre
Palmerston North 4442
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