Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Peak

Te Mata Park’s Giant Circuit

We both had the weekend off after arriving in southern Hawkes Bay, and it was a nice one.  We returned to Te Mata Park and walked the Giant Circuit.

We followed the park website‘s recommendation that we walk the Giant Circuit in a counter-clockwise direction, unlike all of the other signposted walks in the park.

Very near the car park there is a platform with a great view to the north and east toward Hastings and Napier and the bay.

Giant Circuit, near the Main Gates Car Park
Giant Circuit, near the Main Gates Car Park

Te Mata Park is very accessible.  It’s a large 99 hectare (about 245 acres) park with 5 well marked walks.  It has an epic landscape, with forests and cliffs and great views of southern Hawkes Bay.  The best views are from Te Mata Peak, the highest point in the park at 399 meters (about 436 yards)).  The landscape demands that I shoot lots of panoramas, both horizontal and vertical.

Redwood Grove, planted 1974, Giant Circuit
Redwood Grove, planted 1974, Giant Circuit

I knew that we’d pass a grove of giant redwoods, and I thought we’d arrived when we reached the grove shown above.  A plaque informed us that this grove was planted in 1974.  The Giant Redwoods grove was planted in the 1930s.  As I’ve come to realize, past residents of southern Hawkes Bay loved planting redwood trees.

Giant Circuit climbs steeply out of grove and valley to the top of the surrounding cliffs.

Giant Circuit
Giant Circuit

The track then follows the ridge along the western border of the park.

Giant Circuit
Giant Circuit

The redwoods in the Big Redwoods grove are a lot larger than the ones we saw earlier.  The grove itself is larger too. There’s a 3rd redwood planting somewhere in Te Mata Park.

Big Redwoods grove
Big Redwoods grove

The track continues through a beautiful valley below some picturesque cliffs. This valley extends along most of the southern end of Te Mata Park. On the left, in the pic below, is one end of the ‘Hogs Back’ ridge whose opposite end is Te Mata Peak. The Rongakako Trail follows the top of this ridge.

Giant Circuit
Giant Circuit

The cliffs of Te Mata Park are composed of erosion-resistant limestone. Originally deposited in horizontal layers on the seabed, they were “tilted and bowed upward by the geological forces of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. The features of Te Mata Park are a result of the earthquake fault which runs from Wellington in the south, through the Ruahine ranges to Hawke’s Bay”.

Te Mata Park's southern valley
Te Mata Park’s southern valley
Southern Te Mata Park
Southern Te Mata Park

At the end of the ridge above a view opens up of the farmland of the Tuki Tuki region south of the park.

Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Park
Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Park

The ‘Snakes & Ladders’ section of track is fairly new, and very steep.  It was already in shadow on this winter late afternoon.

Bottom of the ‘Snakes & Ladders’ section of track
Bottom of the ‘Snakes & Ladders’ section of track

We took it slow, and enjoyed the improving view as we climbed.

Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Park
Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Park

The pic below is a comfortable walk away from the Te Mata Peak car park, still looking over Tuki Tuki.

Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Peak
Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Peak
Approaching Te Mata Peak
Approaching Te Mata Peak

There are many more pictures from the top of Te Mata Peak in my blog post on my first visit.

Looking southeast from Te Mata Peak
Looking southeast from Te Mata Peak

Walking the landscape between Te Mata Peak and the Saddle Lookout provides new angles on familiar landscapes.

Looking northeast toward the Tukituki River and Hawkes Bay
Looking northeast toward the Tukituki River and Hawkes Bay

This dog made me a bit nervous, coming up beside me as I stood near the edge shooting this panorama.  He ignored me, and took in the view before continuing on his way.

Looking northeast toward the Tukituki River and Hawkes Bay
Looking northeast toward the Tukituki River and Hawkes Bay

A last stretch of forest took us away from the road.

Last stretch of bush
Last stretch of bush

When we emerged from the trees everything was painting in the golden light of early evening.

Palms in golden light
Palms in golden light

From there it’s a short walk back to the Main Games Car Park.

Fall colors
Fall colors

Te Mata Park is an impressive place.  I look forward to exploring more of it.  I think I need to get a mountain bike so that I can explore the many trails dedicated to bikes.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 31 pictures below.  To view on imgur click here.

« 1 of 2 »

One thought on “Te Mata Park’s Giant Circuit”

Comments are closed.