A traverse of Mt Maungatautari and Mt Pukeatua which makes a great day trip and a chance to visit a reserve that has been completely enclosed by a mammal proof fence
By arrangement with the Out in the Styx Guesthouse you can leave your car there and they will run you around to Hicks Rd for $10 a head.
From Hicks Rd the initial part of this trip climbs over farmland to the edge of the bush. From here you pass through the double gates that get you inside the pest proof enclosure. Follow the Northern Enclosure perimeter 4WD track for 20 mins then head up the ridge towards the summit.
The track begins to climb steadily through the bush and takes you straight to the summit which you arrive at in fairly short order. There is a trig station and a picnic table at the summit but no view, unless you climb the trig station.
The next portion of the track traverses through the old crater and is fairly undulating and it takes a couple of hours to get to the next peak, Pukeatua. Alternatively take the new benched quad bike track to the saddle below Pukeatua. Even if you take the easier trail, think about walking 10 mins up and back on the boardwalk along the top of Maungatautari - great views and nice bush.
Pukeatua summit is well worth the visit because from here you can get a good view to the south and see Ruapehu and Taranaki on a good day. The 300m climb/descent from/to the saddle is a bit of a scramble and will take about 15 mins either way.
From the saddle you can take the benched quad bike track that has been built up the south side of the mountain. This track is very easy and some may prefer to follow the old track down which crosses a rocky outcrop just after the saddle.
Finally after comming out of the pest proof enclosure and out of the bush, it is a quick walk down Tari Rd and to the Styx Cafe for a well earned coffee - or even a spa if you're staying the night.