Takaka Hill Walkway is a loop walk at the top of Takaka Hill. The walkway passes through fascinating karst landscape, with intriguing marble rock formations, sub-alpine scrub and beech forest, and magnificent views of Kahurangi National Park and Golden Bay.
Takaka Hill Walkway is a public walkway located on private land owned by the Harwood family. The land was protected with three QEII Open Space Covenants in 1985, in recognition of the outstanding karst landscape and unusual geology. The covenant land borders Kahurangi National Park to the south and east. The walkway is maintained by the QEII National Trust and volunteers.
|Length: 3 km for half loop; 5.1 km for full loop||Time Required: 1-2 hr for half loop; 2-3 hr for full loop|
|Trail Type: 4WD road/Walking track||Physical Difficulty: Moderate|
|Uses: Walking only||Primary Direction: Either (Loop)|
The loop track is located at the top of Takaka Hill on State Highway 60, 53 km from Richmond and 38 km from Takaka. There is a car park off the side of the road which is signposted.
The walkway is well signposted the whole way around. The beginning of the track follows a 4WD road that services the transmission towers. The road heads to the left, but continue to the right along the walkway, which takes a more direct route uphill. After 600 m the walkway rejoins the 4WD and curves around to the west to overlook Takaka Valley. Take a short deviation and follow the road to the radio tower, situated atop a knob at 950 m elevation. Here you will enjoy magnificent views of the upper Takaka Valley, Golden Bay and the Tasman Mountains in Kahurangi National Park.
The walkway continues down around the high point. You will need to take your time as the track clambers over coarse marble and through dense scrub and then enters a section of beech forest. You will reach a link track that heads back to the 4WD road and which you can take to get back to the car park. Otherwise continue along the walkway, as it heads east through karst, scrub and beech forest, and loops back to the 4WD road after 2 km.
The track does not allow for fast travel. Pay attention to where you place your feet, as the oddly-shaped rock formations and uneven track can easily cause falls and twisted ankles.
Do not venture off the track. Sometimes referred to as ‘Marble Mountain’, Takaka Hill is dotted with numerous sinkholes, many of which are obscured by vegetation and rocks. Some of these are extremely deep, and though there are some warning signs in place, do not rely solely on these for your safety. The walkway is entirely above 800 m elevation and the higher section around the radio mask is very exposed, so be sure to bring appropriate warm clothing as the weather may turn unexpectedly. Make sure you wear sturdy outdoor footwear as the walkway is rough and uneven. There are no water sources on the walkway, so bring plenty of your own.