Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari (Maungatautari Ecological Island Reserve) is the largest ecological ‘island’ on mainland New Zealand. A haven for native wildlife and plants such as kiwi, kokako (wattlebird), tuatara and more, Maungatautari also provides great walking and hiking tracks.

Surrounded by 47kms of predator proof fence which encloses 3,400 hectares of Mt Maungatautari, the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust strives to eradicate mammalian predators so that native bird populations, trees and ferns are able to flourish uninhibited.

Viewing tower at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, Te Awamutu, NZ.JPG

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

There are three areas visitors can explore via the many walking tracks.

Southern Enclosure

The Southern Enclosure’s five walks vary from 30 minutes to two hours and provides some of the best bird watching opportunities on the mountain. The Southern Enclosure features a bird feeding area where visitors can watch the kaka and other birds as they come to feed, weta boxes (open the door to see if anyone is home) and the Canopy Tower which takes visitors 16 metres up into the treetops of the forest canopy. Guided day and after-dark night walks are also on offer by appointment.

Guided Walks

Learn all about the Sanctuary Mountain project and the history of Maungatautari Mountain with a guided tour of the Southern Enclosure. Guided tours provide the opportunity to learn about indigenous plants, the numerous bird species that call the mountain home, plus much more.

For a truly unique experience, a guided night-time walk will open up a completely different world of this ancient forest. The night-time tours allow visitors to see curtains of glowworms, native crayfish (koura), search for weta and listen for the call of the Kiwi.

Northern Enclosure

The Northern Enclosure is a smaller section but is of great significance as this area is where the conservation work started. Walks in the Northern Enclosure take around 30 minutes to 1 hour, showcasing some of the different fauna growing on the mountain and picturesque forest streams. There is also the Te Ara Tirohia Loop Track (meaning the viewing platform) which is 1.1km long.

Over the Mountain Walk

The final option for visitors is a ‘Walk over the Mountain’ – this is recommended for experienced trampers and will take most of the day (5-6 hours). For those suitably equipped this trek provides great views from Pukeatua Peak. If you are not familiar with the mountain it is advised that you seek advice before attempting this trek.

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari Location

  • Southern Enclosure: Off Tari Road, Pukeatua. Click here 
    Northern Enclosure: End of Hicks Road. Click here
    Over the Mountain walk: Can be accessed from the Hicks Road entrance (northern side of mountain) and Tari Road entrance (Southern side of the mountain)