Around the Mountain Circuit
Image: Jeremy Beckers | ©
approx 52 km loop
The Around the Mountain Circuit (AMC) is a challenging track that passes through forest, rivers and spectacular alpine scenery. High and low level options exist for some sections, with higher level options recommended for their scenery. In winter conditions, high level tracks may be impassable due to snow. Lower level tracks are prone to tree windfalls and can be overgrown at times.
The track is suitable for experienced trampers with backcountry experience and good navigation skills. You'll need to look carefully for track markers/poles in some places. Be prepared to backtrack in order to reorientate yourself. A good topographic map is essential for navigation.
Many streams are unbridged and can become impassable after heavy rain.
Time: 3–4 hr
Distance: 8 km approx.
In the upper car park at North Egmont roadend, take the Holly Hut Track left of the Camphouse. The track climbs steeply to the junction with the AMC from where you turn right crossing several streams before reaching the Boomerang Slip. From here you will descend past the Kokowai Track, eventually meeting the Ahukawakawa Track. Holly Hut is 15 min further along the AMC.
Time: 7–9 hr
Distance: 13 km approx.
From the hut, you take the AMC across Holly Flats, joining Bells Falls Track before reaching the Stony River Track. Caution is needed in the Stony River area. Look carefully for flagged routes and be prepared for erosion and flooding. After crossing the river you continue downhill, across several streams before you meet the Kopoaiaia Track - look for the track entrance marker up on the bank. Turn left and climb uphill to the Puniho Track junction. Here you have two options:
Low track: This section of track is often muddy, eroded and overgrown. It crosses many unbridged streams. Continue along the Kopoaiaia Track past the Kahui track junction and on to the Oaonui Track.
High track: Turn left onto the Puniho Track and walk uphill 1 km to the 6 bunk Kahui Hut. From here the Kahui track descends to the junction with the Oaonui/Ihaia Tracks.
Both options: Follow the Oaonui Track, eventually meeting the Ihaia/Brames Falls junction. Turn left here onto the Brames Falls Track and walk uphill to reach the short spur track to Waiaua Gorge Hut.
Time: 7–8 hr
Distance: 10 km approx.
Return to the Brames Falls Track junction. From here you drop into the Waiaua Gorge, crossing the river and climbing the other side to meet the Taungatara Track. Here you have two options as well:
Low track: This track is often muddy and has many stream crossings. It may be overgrown in places and have tree windfalls, making navigation difficult. Turn right and follow the Taungatara Track 6 km through bush, until reaching the junction with the Auroa Track. Turn left and ascend the Auroa track 4 km to Lake Dive Hut.
High track: This area of track is severely eroded in places. Continue past the Taungatara Track along the Brames Falls Track, climbing steeply. From here the route is marked by snow poles, crossing several streams before descending to the Lake Dive junction. The left fork leads to Dawson Falls (3 hr) and the right fork is a 1.5 km tramp down to Lake Dive Hut.
Time: 4–6 hr
Distance: 9 km
The Lower Lake Dive Track winds through bush and crosses many unbridged streams, sections of this track may be overgrown and eroded. After reaching the Fanthams Peak Track turn right and descend to the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre. Walk down the road from the visitor centre and take the Kapuni Loop Track. Continue for 50 m into the bush before turning left and joining the Ridge Track. Cross the bridge and walk uphill to the Waingongoro Track turnoff and turn right following this track as it descends to Waingongoro Hut.
Time: 6 –7 hr
Distance: 12 km
Return to the Waingongoro hut track junction, where you turn right and cross the swing bridge, following the track to the Te Popo car park. From here follow the Curtis Falls Track for 3 - 4 hr to Maketawa Hut - sections of this track may be overgrown and eroded. From the hut it is 1 hr 30 min tramp to North Egmont car park.
Time: 7–9 hr
Distance: 15 km
The Upper Lake Dive track climbs steeply to the junction with the Brames Falls Track. Continue right and follow the poled route through tussock below Fantham’s Peak before reaching the Fanthams Peak Track. Turn right and descend down to the car park at the Dawson Falls Visitor Centre. This is approximately the half way point.
From the upper car park follow the Wilkies Pools Track, joining the High Level AMC track which climbs to the Plateau car park and on over to the Maunganui ski field. Continue on the AMC across tussock slopes to the privately owned Tahurangi Lodge, with the large TV transmitter nearby. From the lodge a 4WD track leads downhill for approx 1 hr to North Egmont Visitor Centre.
The Around the Mountain Circuit (AMC) can be accessed from several road ends in Egmont National Park, but traditionally begins at the North Egmont Roadend approximately 30 min drive from New Plymouth. Drive south on State Highway 3 to Egmont Village and turn right onto Egmont Road which will take you to North Egmont.
Rivers and streams on the AMC are not always bridged and can flood at any time of year.
Tracks may be eroded and overgrown in places. Backcountry experience and good navigation skills are required.
In winter conditions upper tracks on the mountain may be snow and ice covered – ice axe and crampons are likely to be required.
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.