Sanctuary Mountain – AKA – Maungatautari

The weather the past few weeks has been warming up, and clear of rain at last, so today we decided we would make a trek up Sanctuary Mountain to its peak, otherwise known as Maungatautari.   Sanctuary Mountain is proud to be the larges pest-proof fenced project in the world!

First things first, we need to make a public service announcement on this one.   We are not gym bunny fit by any means but we usually add on 30mins to the times stated.   This walk boasts a 1.45mins to the top walk.   The signs on the walk are even less.   It would be safe to say that for the average person like Warren and I, this walk to the summit would take around 5hrs return (including SOTA activation time at the summit.  Be prepared is another thing we need to make people aware of.   The track is not the easiest in parts, with some patches in need of someone in there with some loppers and chainsaw.  There are a number of tree’s down across the tracks which you either need to go under or over.   There is also two tracks from the gravel track that will lead you to the summit and we later discovered by bumping into another party on the way up (as they were looping around and back down), that form a loop walking track.    This loop however does not get you to the summit, where you reach the fork in the track you will need to veer off to the South a little and walk down a boardwalk path to the summit (approx 15mins) and find the trig marking the summit.


Once you enter the Sanctuary, follow the gravel track along the fence line, and take either the first or second entry track to follow the path markers to the summit.   This path is labeled (1hr at the first entry), or 45mins (at the second entry).   Neither of these signs are accurate by any means as mentioned above.   You will need good walking shoes, and plenty of water with you as the track does get steep in parts and is filled with lots of tree roots and mud in places.

Once at the summit, Warren made quick work of getting his line set up  to get up and on the air, as after our rude shock coming up, we knew we had a long walk back down again. The summit is totally enclosed in bush, so no stunning view shots were able to come of today’s blog, even climbing up the trig to look out proved wasted energy with only tree tops in the way even from up there.


On setting up we quickly worked ZL2ATH at Rimutaka ZL1/WL-054 who was finishing his activation for a summit to summit. A nice stream of ZLs on 40 m then to try our luck on 20 we added a few VKs to the log. Time was marching on due to our under estimation of assent time so we couldn’t hang around much longer and had to pack up and depart. 13 contacts in all made for an enjoyable activation.







We spent about 50 minutes at the top before deciding to call it a day with another successful SOTA activation under Warren’s belt.  By the time we reached the bottom of the summit track our legs were certainly feeling the strain.  Our feet were sore and ready to make the last trek back along the fence line, down the gravel path, across the fields and back to the car-park, and homeward bound.



Summit – ZL1/WK-052

Height –797 m

Access – Car park at the end of Hicks Road, Karipiro.

Nominal time to summit – 2 hours walking (signage is certainly not accurate)

Mobile and internet coverage from the summit –Full coverage.

Summit Marker – Trig station.

Land Access Permission – not required – reserve land.

3 thoughts on “Sanctuary Mountain – AKA – Maungatautari

  1. Well done Warren and Emma, sorry I wasn’t near a radio to work you. Some of those trig beacons you have up north look pretty rough! Dangerous wildlife at the bottom too 🙂


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