About the Walks

The Puketawa Track & Slip Track are now temporarily CLOSED. They will re-open on the 16th September 2019. Sorry – but it’s just too wet & slippery at the moment!

The PUKETAWA TRACK  2-2.5 Hour circuit

In 1992,  Michélé O’Sullivan purchased a 60 acre bush block nestled amongst another 400 acres of podocarp rainforest.  The farmer who was selling the land told her, “It’s mostly tawa up on that hill, so that’s what I call it – Puketawa.  Maori for ‘hill of tawa'”.  The name stuck.

  • The 6 km zig-zagging, self-guided Puketawa Track, is hidden in the midst of around 400 acres of podocarp rainforest. Your adventure begins gently at the Pakihi Road end of Dillon’s Road, a metalled road lined with fenced paddocks.  The track ascends from 540m above sea level through the native New Zealand bush, to the flat, open tops of the farm above at 760m.  As you trek you’ll be shaded by the tree-ferns flourishing beneath the light-loving  tawa, rimu, totara & other giants of the forest.  The smaller ferns & shrubs will brush your legs & feet.  The track has been deliberately formed to let you ‘feel’ the bush & with minimum disturbance to the flora around you.  It is not a manicured path and you’ll have to step over the fallen matai or rimu, & use the craggy roots of the maire as stairs.   The views of Mount Ruapehu, the Tongariro National Park and the Central Plateau & the market gardens within it are stunning! Once on the flats above there is a gentle 700m side-walk (guided only) to the 3 meter high mysterious Maori carving.  We’ve yet to discover who it is that is carved from the mighty totara tree  We think it is of Papatuanuku, the Earth Mother, & her son, Tawhirimatea (the God of the Weather) resting on her shoulders, stand proudly guarding the lands around us.   From this elevated plateau, we’ll look down upon the hidden Otiranui Lake full of wading birds & the forest below.  You’ll then descend back through the forest to the 3-Ladies Picnic Site & then along a graded farm-track & back to the start.

Trekking Time: 2-2.5 hours

Cost:  $10 per person entrance price for one or both tracks,


SLIP TRACK  1-1.25 hour circuit

  • The Slip Track begins at the same place as The Puketawa Track – the Pakihi Road end of Dillon’s Road, half-way between Ohakune & Raetihi.  It continues along a farm track until you reach a sign routed into slabs of wood directing you up another steeper farm track.  Alternatively, continue on another 50m from the routed sign, “Slip Track” & you’ll see the sign for the “Puketawa Track”.  Take the Puketawa Track route through the bush for about 200m.  You’ll then find the ‘Slip to Link’ track. This track, marked with red flagging tape, will take you across to Slip Track & up to the 3-Ladies Picnic site & back to the start.

Trekking Time:  1 – 1.25 hours

Cost: $10 per person entrance price for both tracks.


Walkers undertake this trek at their own risk. A reasonable level of fitness is required. The track is uneven, steep & slippery in parts No camping, fires or dogs (without talking to Michélé first.)

 The trek is owned & operated Michélé O’Sullivan & her husband, Ralph Berry.

 If you can do the Tongariro Crossing you can do this!


CONTACT:  Michélé O’Sullivan   Email:  info@thepuketawatrack.nz    Phone:  +64 6 3853328 Cellphone: 021211332