The Pouakai Crossing starts at North Egmont and finishes at the Egmont National Park boundary at Mangorei Road. This means you will either need to use a shuttle service or arrange your own transportation using two vehicles. If you leave a vehicle at Mangorei Road in the morning please park at the end of the sealed road – do not continue onwards and park on the unsealed portion of Mangorei Road.
The best time of year to walk the Pouakai Crossing is from December to April. Although the route can be walked year round the higher parts can be affected by snow and ice in winter and spring. In particular, crossing the Boomerang Slip can be dangerous in icy conditions. There is an alternate route, using the Kokowai Track, which can avoid the Boomerang Slip.
In all seasons please check conditions with Metservice and DoC before beginning your walk.
The Pouakai Crossing is an 18.4km full one day walk. You will require a good level of fitness to safely and enjoyably complete the walk.
Parts of the route can be wet underfoot during winter or after rain. You are advised to wear waterproof footwear and appropriate clothing for Mt Taranaki’s changeable alpine climate.
While there is mobile phone coverage in much of Egmont National Park, there is no coverage in the middle third of the Pouakai Crossing in the enclosed basin in and around the Ahukawakawa Wetland.
Guiding and shuttle transport services are available on the Pouakai Crossing with Top Guides.
Egmont National Park Visitor Centre to Holly Hut (Distance 6.9km, Time: 3 - 4 hours)
From the Camphouse, the well-formed track steadily climbs up through montane forest and sub-alpine scrub. You’ll have excellent views of the Waiwhakaiho and Kokowai river gorges, Ahukawakawa wetland and the upper slopes of Mt Taranaki as the Holly Hut Track gradually descends to cross the unbridged Minarapa stream, and on to Holly Hut. There are fresh water and toilet facilities at Holly Hut.
If you are a very fit tramper there is an optional trip to Bells Falls – you continue on from Holly Hut on the Bells Falls Track for around 30 minutes. The return to Holly Hut will take a little longer.
Holly Hut to Pouakai Hut (Distance 6.2km, Time: 2 - 3 hours)
After your break at Holly Hut walk back up the Holly Hut Track for five minutes to the junction with the Ahukawakawa track. This track takes you across an extensive wetland. It crosses the Stony River by bridge and ascends the ridge through sub-alpine mountain cedar. At the junction with the Pouakai Track turn right along the tops of the Pouakai range. Breathtaking views of the North Taranaki coastline greet you atop the range.
At the junction with the Mangorei Track, turn right and continue on the Pouakai Track for around ten minutes to the famous tarns. These are small alpine lakes where on clear and calm days there are magnificent reflections of Mt Taranaki.
After your visit to the tarns return to the junction with the Mangorei Track and descend down this track for five minutes to Pouakai Hut. There are also fresh water and toilet facilities at Pouakai Hut.
Pouakai Hut to Mangorei Road (Distance 5.3km, Time: 1 ½- 2 hours)
The Mangorei Track descends through mixed kamahi forest to the park boundary at Mangorei Road. Please continue walking until you get to the sealed road where you parked earlier or where your shuttle will meet you.