IntroductionThe challenging Around the Mountain Circuit offers you spectacular bush and alpine scenery. It is best tramped from October to April.
The Around the Mountain Circuit s a challenging track that passes through forests, rivers and spectacular alpine scenery. High and lowlevel 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.
The western side of the mountain is prone to ongoing erosion and storm damage, with slips and treefalls common. Extra caution and awareness are required through these areas.
Many streams are unbridged and can become impassable after heavy rain.
North Egmont to Holly Hut
Time: 3–4 hr
Distance: 8 km
In the upper car park at North Egmont road end, 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.
Holly Hut to Waiaua Gorge Hut
Time: 7–9 hr
Distance: 13 km
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 right onto the Ihaia Track and walk downhill for around 500 m to reach the short track into the Waiaua River. Walk up the riverbed to reach the small spur to Waiaua Gorge Hut. Allow up to an hour longer on your trip.
Waiaua Gorge Hut
Waiaua Gorge Hut to Lake Dive
Time: 7–8 hr
Distance: 10 km
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.
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.
The Lake Dive Hut burnt down in 2020. There is no longer a hut at this site. Camping is possible: there is a toilet onsite and drinking water needs to be boiled.
Lake Dive to North Egmont
Low track: Lake Dive to Dawson Falls and Waingongoro 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 turn off and turn right following this track as it descends to Waingongoro Hut.
Low track: Waingongoro Hut to North Egmont
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's a 1 hr 30 min tramp to North Egmont car park.
High track: Lake Dive to Dawson Falls and North Egmont
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 around 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 around 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.
Be ready for changeable weather
Mt Taranaki has changeable and unpredictable weather. Check the forecast and carry enough clothing and equipment to ensure you are able to cope with any type of weather, at any time of the year.
Snow, high rainfall and storm damage can make tracks impassable.
Expect challenging track conditions
Rivers and streams on the Around the Mountain Circuit 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.
Stay safe when crossing rivers
If you plan to cross unbridged rivers, know how to cross safely and be prepared for if you cannot cross.
Do not cross if the river is flooded, you cannot find safe entry and exit points or are unsure it’s safe. Turn back or wait for the river to drop. If in doubt, stay out.