Mt. Karioi

The Legend

A long time ago, Karewa was the husband of Karioi, but he flirted with her sister, Pirongia, and was cast into the sea as the offshore rock named by Captain James Cook as Gannet Island. Karioi then turned her back on Pirongia and lay down. The profile of Karioi from Raglan is likened to a ‘Sleeping Lady’ (Wahine Moe).


Mount Karioi is a 2.4 million year old extinct volcano 8 km SW of Raglan in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island. It was the earliest of the line of 4 volcanoes, the largest of which is Mount Pirongia (the others are Kakepuku and Te Kawa). Karioi forms a background to many parts of Raglan.

Karioi was also a Highway Board area around the maunga from 1870 to 1889, when it was absorbed (with Whaingaroa Board area and formed into Karioi Riding) into Raglan County Council. In 1876 it had a population of 112 in 27 houses and in 1889 119 ratepayers, 80 of them absentees.

Walking Tracks

There are two available tracks to reach the summit of Mt Karioi in Raglan. This allows those hiking the trail to do a mountain crossing, or a return trip on either side.

Note: Mt. Karioi is a very rough track, extreme care and proper gear is recommended. The track can get very muddy even in Summer. Remember to follow the Orange Arrows. Other coloured markers or tape are used for land management purposes and should not be followed.

Mt Karioi Track

Time to lookout: 2 hr 30 min - 3 hr one way
Time to summit: 3 hr - 3 hr 30 min one way


This is the steeper but more scenic of the two summit tracks.

Once over the stile at the start of the track, it’s all up hill, but there are plenty of good vantage points to stop, catch your breath and admire the view. After passing through a grove of kānuka, the track climbs up a grassy slope before reaching the main ridge. Chains and ladders have been installed to help negotiate the occasional rocky outcrop. At a large rocky bluff the track sidles around to the north for a short distance then climbs steadily to the ridge. At this point, a short 10-minute side track takes you to a lookout providing good views across Raglan Harbour.

Back on the main track it is another hour to the summit (756 m) along an undulating ridge. The vegetation along the ridge has been sculptured by the strong prevailing westerly wind. 

Wairake Track

Time: 2 - 3 hr one way  

This is the shortest route to the summit and isn't as steep as sections of the Karioi Track. It doesn't have the same views.

It’s a 40-min walk across private farmland to the bush edge. Respect the access privilege which is only available during daylight hours.

From the bush edge, the track climbs steadily through coastal forest, comprising kohekohe, māhoe, rewarewa, kamahi and a variety of ferns and shrubs, to the summit.