Image: Sean Willcock | Creative Commons
Time: 4 - 6 hr one way
Distance: 9 km
From Grey Road car park, follow the track to Wharauroa Lookout then on for another 30 min to Mahaukura. The track undulates over small peaks and is uneven underfoot.
From Mahaukura, the track descends steeply before climbing again towards Pirongia summit viewing tower. This track can also be accessed off O’Shea Road via the Wharauroa Track.
Getting there: The track starts 11 km north of Pirongia. 5.5 km north of Pirongia, turn off SH39 onto Te Pahu Road. Take the first left turn into Hodgson Road, then turn left turn into Grey Road and follow this to the end.
Time: 3 - 5 hr one way
Distance: 6.5 km
The track starts from Corcoran Road, climbs to Ruapane then traverses an undulating ridge on uneven ground before passing Tirohanga Bluff, a pinnacle of hard lava signifying its volcanic origins. The track then descends and climbs before reaching the Pirongia summit. On a clear day look for Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu in the distance.
Getting there: 5.5 km north of Pirongia, turn off SH39 onto Te Pahu Road, which is signposted for Pironga Forest Park. After 5.6 km, turn into Corcoran Road and follow this to the end.
Time: 8 - 11 hr return
Distance: 17 km
This is a popular round trip for people overnighting at Pahautea Hut. Cross from Grey Road car park to Ruapane via the Mangakara Nature Walk and Link Track then follow the Tirohanga Track to the summit viewing tower. Return via Mahaukura Track to Grey Road. This is the easier circuit rather than doing it the other way round via Mahaukura then Tirohanga.
A good level of fitness is required for these tracks.
The high level tracks on Pirongia follow steep-sided ridges. Water is difficult to find, especially in summer, so be sure to take sufficient drinking water with you.
Because of poorly drained soils, the tracks can be very muddy, especially after rain.
Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date and time 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.