Hakarimata Lookout Walk – You’ll be sick of stairs by the end!

“I Love New Zealand” I proclaimed whilst trying to keep breathing and not collapse whilst walking up a ridiculous number of stairs in the New Zealand Bush. I had heard about the Hakarimata stairs and lookout walk a few times before I even moved to the top end of the North Island and had always wanted to give them a go.

Now I am a relatively fit person and I must say I struggled a little bit with all the stairs in the Hakarimata lookout walk! Take plenty of water and have pit stops along the way and you will be fine. It’s not the type of bush walk I would take my grandmother on though mind you. The signs state that it is a track rather than a walk and you should have a relatively good base level fitness. 

Hakarimata Lookout Walk

The Hakarimata Scenic Reserve is located 17 km north-west of Hamilton, near Ngaruawahia. It is a great place  to enjoy a walk or tramp through native bush, including kauri, near Hamilton. The Hakarimata Range includes 1,850 ha of native forest which is protected as a Scenic Reserve. There are three public access points to tracks within the reserve, to access the Hakarimata Walkway and get yourself up all the stairs you need to get yourself to Ngaruawahia – look up on the map Brownlee Ave and you’ll be able to locate the track in beside the Waterworks. 

Hakarimata Lookout Walk

You see those stairs above, that is just one of the many flights of stairs you will find yourself huffing and puffing through to get up to the summit. You think you have almost made it and then you come across the sign that tells you you’re only halfway. I could not keep count of how many stairs there are as I was focused on trying to keep breathing and putting one foot in front of the other without looking down too much (fear of heights anyone?).

A bit of googling and it looks as though there are over 1200 steps to get to the stop of the Hakarimata Lookout. Keep pushing onwards and upwards as the view is truely rewarding and it’s nice being out in the New Zealand bush. Just think how lucky you are to have such a gorgeous environment right on our doorstep.  Untitled design (2)Once you get to the top and have caught your breath you will be glad you made it to the top as the view is incredible, take the time to soak it all in and appreciate how far up you have come to be greeted with such a glorious view.  

Once you have taken it all in (and only then) can you consider making your decent to the bottom. Take it nice and easy going down as the steps can get a little slippery as the majority of the walk is covered in by the bush so the stairs are a bit damp. Hakarimata Lookout Walk View

If climbing over 1200 steps up a big hill is not your cup of tea I would still suggest you try the shorter Waterworks walk to the Reservoir which has a few stairs but nowhere near as many as the full lookout walk and you get to take a short walk in the New Zealand bush and appreciate this beautiful country we call home. 

Getting out and about and exploring New Zealand is one of my favourite things to do, I especially enjoy doing walks around the country as there is no better way to see our country.  

Other great walks I have done and documented on the blog include the Tongariro Crossing (Ruapehu), Taranaki Falls (Ruapehu), Time Hill Walk (Queenstown) and Spa road to Huka Falls (Taupo). 

Do you enjoy bush walks or would you rather stick to window shopping for your walking? Please comment below I’d love to know!


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  • Alisha
    June 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    This looks amazing! I’m putting it on my ‘must do’ list!

    • Amanda @ Move Love Eat
      June 19, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      Definitely do! It’s tough going but well worth getting to the top for the view, make sure it’s a nice day when you do it 🙂

  • Stevie-Lee Deacon
    September 19, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    on my 13th birthday i walked this track it was amazing and i never get sick of the view even though i used to walk up once a week when i lived there in 2012 <3

    • Amanda @ Move Love Eat
      September 20, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      It is an incredible view huh! Definitely makes you appreciate the awesome country we live in!

  • Katrina
    October 14, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    OMG what an amazing stairs workout!! A definite must do 🙂

  • Pauline Davies
    April 24, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Im just getting started with bush walks, which track is the easiest hakarimata walk?

    • Amanda @ Move Love Eat
      April 24, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      There is only one track on Hakarimata and it’s got a lot of stairs. It’s a tough climb but you can stop as often as you like to catch your breath. If you want a nice short walk without all the stairs you could just walk in to the dam and then walk back out 🙂

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