This great short walk is located on the lower slopes of Mount Pironga in the Waikato region around 45 minutes from Hamilton city, the walking track is accessed from the carpark at the end of Grey Road There are several walking and tramping tracks located here.
From the carpark the track descends down into the valley taking you through some stunning native trees like kahikatea, tawa, and pukatea some of these trees are very old and very impressive in size, towering over the walk way, there are signs at the base of the large trees with a description of the species.
Around fifteen or twenty minutes of walking down the slope through the beautiful native trees you arrive at the Mangakara river on the valley floor, this stunning little river originates further up the slopes of Mount Pirongia and flows down the mountain side and under a bridge crossing.
Over the bridge is a junction of the Mangakara Nature walk and a tramping track that takes you up the valley to the Ruapane Lookout, this track is for experienced trampers with the right equipment and a bit of fitness, the track is very muddy and wet in the valley section and there are numerous obstacles like fallen trees to contend with, before heading up the mountain side to the lookout around one and a half hours walk away.
From the bridge crossing the Mangakara Nature walk carries on through more beautiful native bush and rounds a bend to a stunning river side rest spot, the water here is crystal clear even in the late stages of winter, from here the track starts to loop back up and crosses the Mangakara river one more time before entering the track you came down on, the walk is easy and well graded and suitable for the whole family, the loop walk takes around one hour to complete.