On a fine day you can see as far south as Mt Taranaki, the Herangi Range and Pureora. There is also a good view of all the local harbours as well as Pirongia, Maungatautari and Te Aroha mountains.
There are two tracks up to the summit of Karioi. Do a return trip on one track or combine the tracks and cross the mountain – you'll need to arrange transport from the other side of the mountain.
Time to lookout: 3 hr one way
Time to summit: 3 hr 30 min one way
This is the steeper but more scenic of the two summit tracks.
Once over the stile at the start of the track, it’s all up hill, but there are plenty of good vantage points to stop, catch your breath and admire the view. After passing through a grove of kānuka, the track climbs up a grassy slope before reaching the main ridge. Chains and ladders have been installed to help negotiate the occasional rocky outcrop. At a large rocky bluff the track sidles around to the north for a short distance then climbs steadily to the ridge. At this point, a short 10-minute side track takes you to a lookout providing good views across Raglan Harbour.
Back on the main track it is another hour to the summit (756 m) along an undulating ridge. The vegetation along the ridge has been sculptured by the strong prevailing westerly wind. The forest changes from kohekohe at lower altitudes to tawa forest, to kamahi and tāwheowheo towards the top. Other species of note include miro, toro, horopito and Dracophyllum traversii.
Starting in Raglan:
The last 4 km of Whaanga Road are unsealed.
Time: 2–3 hr one way
Access is only allowed during daylight hours.
This is the shortest route to the summit and isn't as steep as sections of the Karioi Track. It doesn't have the same views.
It’s a 40-min walk across private farmland to the bush edge. Respect the access privilege which is only available during daylight hours.
From the bush edge, the track climbs steadily through coastal forest, comprising kohekohe, māhoe, rewarewa, kamahi and a variety of ferns and shrubs, to the summit.
Starting in Raglan:
If coming from Hamilton turn left onto Te Mata Road from SH23. Then follow the same directions as above from point 3.
The high level tracks on Karioi follow steep-sided ridges. Water is difficult to find, especially in summer, so be sure to take sufficient drinking water with you.