Only a few short weeks after attempting the Karioi Summit (only to make it to lookout), we made it to the top. As previously discussed on another post, there are two tracks leading to the summit: Karioi Track and Wairake Track. The shortest and easier of the two is the Wairake track but does not have the same ocean views you can enjoy on the Karioi track. Aubrey came with me on this trip during her school holidays so I chose the route that was not as steep. The website says it takes 2-3 hours to reach summit.
The drive from Hamilton is not as long either which made it easier to make it back for Ella’s school pick-up. The parking lot (if you can call it that) is located near the Bridal Veil Falls. The trail can only be accessed through a private farm. We met a friendly farmer cruising around in his golf cart tending to his live stock. The 40 minute lead in through the farm requires you to climb over fences (they installed helpful benches) and walk through grassy fields. Warning to be careful as one of the trail signs had knocked over and we missed the uphill turn off. Aubrey and I added an extra 30 minutes to our walk by missing this sign. Luckily we found someone who assisted us with directions after we ended up in a cow pasture.
Once you begin the hill ascend then you can see the rolling fields of the Waikato. The trail then leads you into thick New Zealand bush and climbs steadily until you reach the summit. The path was extra muddy on this particular day due to cyclones that had recently passed through New Zealand’s North Island. We had to allow extra time to weave around deep mud puddles. Thank goodness I bought those Kathmandu hiking shoes before completing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing the previous month.
There are a couple helpful ladders installed right before reaching the summit. Aubrey handled it like a pro! At the top there is a flat helicopter pad where we enjoyed lunch and took in the view.
The day had started sunny but the clouds rolled in during our climb making the summit cold. We only stayed long enough to take a few pictures and eat snacks. I was able to get some great shots of the Wind Farm on one side and the Raglan Coast line on the other side. You could see Raglan township down below and Mount Pirongia in the distance. The day was not clear enough to capture the mountains in the Tongariro National Park but I heard on clear days that you can see these and Mount Taranaki.
Before we headed down the mountain we took a few goofy mountain top pictures. Aubrey challenged me to do a handstand and I had to prove I could still do it. Then she had her turn doing a handstand.
Help us out! Who did it better?
The rain held off until right when we reached the open grassy field and then proceeded to dump on our heads for a few minutes. We moved quickly through this area where the sheep were hanging out along the path. They took off running at the sight of us.
We were glad to make it to the car and take off our muddy shoes. Aubrey was excited to have completed the walk and exhausted from the longest hike she had done. There is nothing like a mother/daughter day hiking in New Zealand.