An ancient volcano, the Parihaka Scenic Reserve was once reputedly the site of the largest pā in New Zealand. It contains the visible remains of fortified settlement including three pā site, housing terraces, storage pits and defensive palisades along its ridgeline.
A viewing platform at the 241 metre high summit offers panoramic views over the city and the harbour. A World War II War Memorial glows red at night to remember those who lost their lives during the war.
Parihaka Scenic Reserve is a Green Flag award-winning park, which recognises the best international open spaces in the world.
There are three walking tracks through native bush to the summit and a network of mountain bike trails is maintained by the local mountain bike club.
No dogs are allowed in the Parihaka Scenic Reserve in order to protect the precious native wildlife that live here. Note: dogs may be walked on leashes on the nearby Hatea River Walkway.
The summit can be accessed by a short drive from the central city, via Memorial Drive. There is a flight of steps to reach the lookout.
Parking for the Dobbie and Drummond Tracks is available at Mair Park off Rurumoki Street.
Limited parking for the Ross Track is available on Dundas Road off Riverside Drive.
What to expect
- Tracks are metal surfaced, steep in places, with a large number of steps
- Moderate fitness and good footwear are needed
- Spectacular views over the city and harbour
- Look out for a spur that leads to a former well defended pā site with interpretation signs. A battle and massacre took place here in the 1700s.
- Over 100 terraces and 300 kumara pits have been identified on Parihaka
The three walking tracks to the summit can be linked to form circular walks or can be walked one way with pick up at the other end.
The Hatea River walkway creates further walk options in the area.
Hatea River walkway
Hokianga / Dobbie Track
Time: 50 minutes (one-way)
From Mair Park, follow the Hatea Walkway 300 metres north, to the start of the Hokianga/Dobbie Track. The track winds its way up through a bush valley and on through a grove of very large kauri.
Time: 40 minutes (one-way)
The Drummond Track begins in Mair Park near the bridge over the Hatea River. It passes a memorial plaque to Norman Drummond, a keen botanist, who donated 24 acres of bush to the community in the 1940s.
Time: 40 minutes (one-way)
At the end of Dundas Road, the Ross Track follows an attractive stream up through the bush. Just before the first staircase, there is an entrance in the rocks on the right hand side into a gold mine dating back to 1909. Economic quantities of gold were never found.
Memorial Drive, Parihaka 0112 View Map