Mount Pirongia Summit via the Tirohanga Track
Mount Pirongia is an extinct volcano peaking at 959 metres above sea level. It is the highest peak in the Waikato Region and it is a bloody tough climb!
You have been warned… this is not a straight climb up to the summit!
Be prepared to climb up 723 metres to the Ruapane Lookout then descend (yup you head back down the other side) until you ascend again by climbing up rocks via chains. You then descend a second time before finally heading up to the 959m summit platform.
Just remember… on your return it is not all downhill… 🙂
How to get to Mount Pirongia – Tirohanga Track:
Head 5.5 km north of Pirongia, turn off SH39 onto Te Pahu Road, which is signposted for Pironga Forest Park. Drive for 5.6 km then turn into Corcoran Road and follow this to the end. A carpark will meet you along with a sign indicated the start of the track. Follow the orange signs to the summit.
Tirohanga Track to Mount Pirongia Summit:
Note – The track says 3-5 hours to the summit. It took me 2 hours to reach the Mount Pirongia Summit. So please bare this in mind with my timing in the blog. 🙂
From here, head around the Ruapane Tower to stay on the right track. This track will descend before reaching more rock faces to climb.
These rocks have chains attached so you can absail your way up and over the ridge. Make sure you stop and take in the view along this area as it is spectacular.
The track gets a lot more rugged from here on. It is overgrown with lots of exposed tree roots and the track is often hard to distinguish so keep an eye out for the orange markers. Also note, there isn’t many flat parts at all, you’re either going up or down and holding onto trees for balance.
40 minutes in from the Ruapane Lookout you will reach another peak with big boulders. You can opt to continue on or climb these rocks for some photos with a good view and a short rest.
Carrying on your hike you will descend and ascend for another 40 minutes before reaching the Mount Pirongia Summit!
The Mount Pirongia Summit has a platform which provides stunning views over the Waikato. At 959 metres above sea level on a clear day you can see Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu in the distance.
Choose your day wisely as I believe a lot of people end up with nothing but mist for a view. I timed the day perfectly and got stunning 360 degree views.
You back down Mount Pirongia via the same track. It took me 1.5 hours to get back to the carpark. The descend still sees you climb up peaks which the legs don’t love to much!
Take your time to ensure you make it back safe. Once you get past the Ruapane Lookout to the stairs it is an easy run to the end.
In comparison to The Pinnacles and Te Aroha… I would probably say Mount Pirongia is rougher and harder being that you descend and ascend mutiple times before summiting. But defintely worth it on a clear day for the views!
Tip – leave early as possible as the track supringsly gets busy mid to late morning.
There are many other tracks you can take to the summit. I chose the quickest but hardest climb. You can also park one car at The Tihoranga Carpark and another at Grey Road and take one track up and another track back for variety. There is also a hut you can stay at if you are that way inclined. Make sure you check the Doc site for more info.
Enjoy the climb if you decide to tackle Mount Pirongia!
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