Haurata High Country Walks, Matawai
There’s nothing like the rugged Gisborne back country: at Haurata High Country Retreat you can explore this unique landscape to your heart’s content. A biologically-farmed, locally-owned station about 65km from Gisborne along SH2, this place offers stunning high country and mountain views, pastoral landscape, trails winding through native bush, giant boulders, a river with eels and swimming holes, and tonnes of birdsong and fresh mountain air. The owners offer guided day walks, as well as overnight accommodation and the chance to experience a working farm.
Te Ara ki Hikurangi, Ruatoria
Mount Hikurangi is Ngati Porou’s sacred mountain, and the highest non-volcanic peak in the North Island. Summitting this mountain is somewhat of an expedition – it’s 4-5 hours to the hut, and a further 2-3 hours to the summit, with the last 400m being steep and unstable scree. It’s not for the inexperienced walker: backcountry navigation and survival skills are a must, as is warm clothing. Please note you need to contact Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou, the landowners, for permission before you walk the track – and that sometimes the track may be closed for farming or cultural reasons. For those wanting a different experience of the mountain, Maunga Hikurangi Te Urunga Sunrise Experience is less demanding, and an unforgettable way to greet the dawn. You’ll ride in a 4WD by starlight to the site of nine huge carved pillars (whakairo), and learn the stories with a local guide.