Mt. Karioi

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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. 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 tracks leading to the summit of Mt. Karioi:

Mt. Karioi Track/Te Toto Gorge Side

This is the steeper but more scenic of the two summit tracks. Chains and ladders have been installed to help negotiate the occasional rocky outcrop.

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.

Wairake Track

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.