Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari New Zealand

One of the places we really wanted to visit was Maungatautari wildlife sanctuary. A mountain located in the Waikato, centre of the North Island near the towns of Cambridge, Te Awamutu and Putaruru.

Maungatautari is the location of a fully fenced wildlife reserve surrounded by the longest pest-free fence in the world.

Maungatautari mountain view
Maungatautari mountain view

From the northern side of the mountain you can see as far as Lake Karapiro, and from the Pukeatua side you can see the Kaimai Range, Pirongia, Pureora Forest Park and Karioi... depending on if the weather is clear enough to see that far.

Out in the Styx Cafe and Guesthouse
Out in the Styx Cafe and Guesthouse

We took a leisurely drive from Auckland via Hamilton, Ohaupo, Te Awamutu, and on down to Pukeatua to the Out in the Styx Cafe and Guest House for our evening meal and accommodation.

It was a lovely evening so while our meal was being prepared we quickly took a short drive up to Tari Road car park to take a look at where we would be doing a bush hike the following morning in the Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari pest-proof enclosure.

Rate Loop Track Maungatautari Mountain New Zealand
Maungatautari Rata (loop) Track Sign

The Maungatautari site is a wildlife haven that is now completely predator free due to a pest-free (even mouse-proof) fence being erected around the entire perimeter of the mountain. The longest fence of its kind in the world. We were really looking forward to the next days walk.

Because we didn't have very much time, out of the several walks available, we decided to do the shorter Rata Loop Track inside one of the pest-free enclosures.

The Rata Loop Track walk includes the aviary and tree top viewing tower. The start of the hike can be accessed from Tari Road (Pukeatua) on the southern side of Maungatautari, off Arapuni Road opposite the Pukeatua school.

The purpose of the fence is so that native New Zealand birds can be reintroduced into the wild without the threat posed by predators that did not originally exist on these islands.

New Zealand Kiwi, kaka and takahe, hihi and whiteheads have been reintroduced to Maungatautari.

The 3,400 hectare enclosure has the potential to support up to 2,000 New Zealand native birds so there is plenty of space for many more in the future.

Viewing Tower, Rata Loop Track, New Zealand
Top of Maungatautari enclosure viewing tower

A fantastic testament to the success of the Maungatautari reserve project was when the first chick appeared from it's burrow on 10th December 2007.

This was the first kiwi chick to hatch in the wild on Maungatautari in over one hundred years and this was only possible because of the hard work of members and friends of the trust, and financial support from sponsors of this project.

We also visited the places where this chicks parents were hatched; Rainbow Springs in Rotorua and Otorohanga Kiwi House, Otorohanga.

Maungatautari Southern Enclosure Map
Southern Enclosure sign

Visit the Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari web site for more information about this amazing place and find out more about the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust.

Out in the Styx Cafe and Guest House is an excellent place to stay while visiting the area, the accommodation is very reasonably priced and the food is absolutely amazing. Out in the Styx Guesthouse also operate a drop-off service to the Hicks Road end of the walking tracks so you can walk back and not worry about having to return for your vehicle.

Other NZ Walks

Places in Waikato Region

Other Wildlife Sanctuaries and Parks in New Zealand

Pest-proof fence, Maungatautari Mountain, New Zealand
Predator-proof fence, Maungatautari Wildlife Reserve
Viewing Tower, Maungatautari Mountain, New Zealand
Viewing Tower, Maungatautari Wildlife Reserve
Tree Fern, Maungatautari Mountain, New Zealand
Tree Fern, Maungatautari Mountain
Viewing Tower, Maungatautari Mountain, New Zealand
Viewing Tower, Maungatautari Mountain