Mount Ngongotaha Walks - Parachute fungi, that's what they look like
Exit the track onto Mt Ngongotaha Rd, turn left and the summit is a few
hundred meters further on up. There is nothing up there really apart
from a telecommunications tower, but I do have a wee story a bit further
on about this part of the mountain.
From here it’s either backtracking all the way or doing the big loop. Doing the loop extends the walk to about 10km but from the top it’s all easy as you can only go down. The road is closed to vehicles for about 2km.
It’s an amble down Mountain Rd with some parts having spectacular views across farmland or across the lake to Lake Rotoiti way in the distance. There is the city to see and also Mt Tarawera behind it; our most recently active volcano (1886).
Mount Ngongotaha Walks - view of Mokoia Island on the walk back down Mountain Rd
It’s lovely and quiet up on the mountain with only the sounds of whatever breeze there is, your own breathing and footsteps, birds and possibly farm animals once you get to paddocks.
Make sure to take some money and stop in at Aorangi Peak for coffee 10am - 3pm. This is our highest restaurant with the most spectacular views over Rotorua.
Once down the bottom, Clayton Rd will take you back to Paradise Valley Rd.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
As children, my brothers and I, along with other neighbourhood kids, would think nothing of walking up Mountain Road to the top of Mt Ngongotaha. Why we would take it into our heads to do this I have no idea. Fun maybe? Probably. I must admit, we did have a lot of fun up there.
Along the way there was a water reservoir. Behind it was a favorite place to play on the vines that grew prolifically, and still continue to grow I see. Swinging out over gullies was so much fun and I can’t think of anytime when any of us fell off although I'm sure we must have.
Vines criss-cross the track
Next stop would be Aorangi Peak (nowadays a restaurant) that had a
teashop. Here, we would buy lollies to fortify us for the last assault
getting to the summit.
At the top there used to be a viewing
platform with the brassy dial thing that could be swung around to
various points. You could see right to the coast of the Bay of Plenty.
It’s so disappointing that this can’t be done anymore because I’m sure
it would get a lot of visitors. The only signs it was ever there are the
To get home again we would cut behind the viewing
platform where a cable track had been laid underneath the ground. Using
this track we would run all the way down the hill, falling over
sometimes because parts of it were steep, until we hit the road. It
would have taken all of 10-15min to get down.
As soon as I walk
into the forest now, the smell takes me right back to those times when
life seemed like one long summer holiday. If only huh?
The Mount Ngongotaha walks are located on Paradise Valley Rd, via Clayton Rd, Lake Rd, Arawa St and Fenton St where the Tourism i-site is situated.
View Mount Ngongotaha Walks in a larger map
Below is a map to the two tracks to give you a visual idea of how it all comes together. As you can see, the local bus stops not too far from the start of the walks. Route 7, Mitchell Downs via Clayton Rd is the bus you would use.
Parking & Toilets
Parking is available at the Violet Bonnington Reserve. Because it is isolated I tend to park a few hundred meters down the road where there is housing.
Just prior to entering the forest two eco toilets are available for use otherwise it's au natural. Don't be like my girlfriend who twice ended up using her undies as toilet paper. Not on this track though. So, if you ever come across some buried around the place....
Just thinking about it, it can't be that uncommon. When taking part in a marathon once, my brother left his in a bush beside a church.
Mount Ngongotaha Walks - Eco toilets
What ages are catered for?
I wouldn’t think small children would be up for these walks. Maybe part of the way at the beginning would be ok but it would be tiring for little legs.
What do I need to bring?
Sunscreen, wet weather gear, definitely good shoes and a hat/cap if going down via the road.
Is it wheelchair/pram friendly?
No, not at all.
Also in the general area: