Behind Aongatete the forest gradually rises to the high ridge called Ngatamahinerua. This massive landform is part of the range of the Kaimai volcanos which stretch south from Moehau in Coromandel. The Kaimai range is in the Coromandel Ecological District, meaning that it’s wildlife, plants and geology are all related.

Made of a rock called andesite, the Kaimai volcanoes are of a similar nature to Ngauruhoe. The eruptions that created the Kaimai range divided the Bay of Plenty from the Waikato plains, barring and diverting the course of the river we now called the Waikato.

North-South ridge track

The North-South track runs from the Kaimai Summit on State Highway 29 along the range to Mt Te Aroha. The track skirts the base of Ngatamahinerua and threads its way north past the rocky pinnacles of Queen Victoria Head Rock and the split rock of Kakarahi, the jagged profile we see on the skyline. The quickest way to reach this section of the North-South track is to walk up the well-graded Tuahu track (from the top of Hot Springs Road) and then turn south at the North-South track junction.

The walk along the tops is not for the faint-hearted. The track is difficult, and its status is down-graded to a route however it’s rewards are panoramic views over the Bay of Plenty and the Waikato.