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New Zealand hikesNew Zealand Sunrise Hut Track

New Zealanders and overseas visitors have turned to unspoiled hills, forests and coasts of our magnificent New Zealand landscape in search of physical recreation and spiritual solace. Sunrise Track is one of the safest tracks to be found in New Zealand's remote backcountry, free from river crossings, well marked and well provided with huts. It may be sensibly tackled by inexperienced provided that their party includes one or two seasoned trampers or hikers. Sunrise Track is encompassed by Mide Eastern Ruahine Forest park.

Discover Sunrise Track, one of Ruahine Forest parks top destinations for tramping and hiking track adventures - Sunrise Hut ,Waipawa Forks Hut, Armstrong Saddle, On the Tops, Maropea Hut and Triplex Stream, Hawkes Bay New Zealand.

General Information

Ruahine Ranges are part of the North Island's Moutainous Divide.Sunrise Track runs through the Mid - Eastern Section Ruahine Forest Park, part of the North Block Road Tracks and areas of Crown Land administered by the Department of Conservation and Department of Lands and Survey. Sunrise Track and its facilities are administered by the Department of Conservation; its rangers are regularly present at huts and on the track in a supervisory or maintenance capacity.

All fauna and flora are protected. It is the responsibility of every traveller to seen that the environment remains undamaged and unpolluted and is preserved as nearly as possible in its natural state. Dogs are not allowed except under permit in the eastern sector where they may be used for pighunting.

Conservation staff work for the preservation of these natural and historic resources. Part of their work is to provide facilities for the visitors who come to enjoy the diverse recreational opportunities in Hawkes' Bay Forest Parks and scenic, historic and coastal reserces

Sunrise Track combines well with the Waipawa Track. It should however be noted that the Waipawa track is significantly more difficult than the Sunrise Track when the Waiapawa River is in flood. Camping is allowed only in the vicinity of each hut and at other designated campsites. There is a limit of two nights stay at any one hut. Annual Hut Passes or Backcountry tickets are required for accommodation in huts or campsites.

From North Block Road, inland from Wakarara Road
To Sunrise Hut , Armstrong Saddle , Maropea Hut
Time 4 kms / day trip
Distance 4 km Sunrise Hut
Grade easy
Highest Point
1481m, Maropea Hut
Huts 3 Huts, standard camping area around Hut

Map Ruahine Forest Park Map

  • Beech, Rimu and Kahikatea Forest
  • Extensive Beech and Podocarp Forest
  • Tussock downs and alpine herbfields
  • Sunrise and Sunset Views - a photographers paradise
  • Three Huts

Sunrise Hut Track is one of the classic tramping or hiking trips of the North Block Ruahine Forest Park Tracks. Sunrise Hut Track is a very popular day hike destination in the Hawkes Bay. Sunrise Hut Track is also a very popular walking track destination for hikers and trampers who do either the Sunrise Hut Track - Waipawa Track Loop, or Sunrise Hut Track - Armstrong Saddle - Maropea Hut - Sunrise Hut Track - Triplex Carpark loop. There is a plethora of huts, and the walking track is generally of a high grade. The distance can decieve , and you should allow different options should bad weather occur. Sunrise Hut is a very popular destination for photographers to admire the sunrise and sunset in both winter and summer seasons, the glorious sunsets are a fair compensation.


Sunrise Track is an awkward track to get to. There is no public transport available. Trampers or hikers take their private vehicles (cars and trucks) to road end car park.

Huts and Camping

Sunrise Track is a very popular hiking track in Hawkes Bay, Ruahine Forest Park. There are certain regulations in place. Camping is allowed only in the vicinity of each hut and at other designated campsites. There is a limit of two nights stay at any one hut. Accommodation in huts or campsites must be purchased in advance as Hut Pass tickets or an Annual Backcountry Hut pass. Huts can get uncomfortably crowded during the summer. Hikers pay hut fees per day which provides the user access to all huts and designated campsites. Wardens are present in the huts during the summer. Sunrise Track has a strict policy of 'carry out what you carry in' and no rubbish facilities are available.

Weather and Season
Sunrise Track lies mostly within a high hill and forest environment. Prone to high winds on the tops, heavy rainfall is the norm and snow may fall on the higher regions during different times of the year. Waipawa River should not be undertaken when heavy rainfall is forecasted. Trampers and Hikers should be prepared for all types of weather regardless of the time of the year.
Clothing and Equipment

Walkers must take adequately warm clothing. In fine weather shorts and light shirt may be worn but long trousers, warm shirt and woollen sweater are essential for cold conditions. A waterproof parka is essential! Boots should be worn and these must be properly broken in. A comfortable pack and wamr sleeping bag is essential - there is no bedding in the huts.

All food and personal utensils must be carried. You must take your own liquid fuel (preferably gas) stove; there are no cooking facilities, though all huts have solid fuel stoves for heating and drying. Use the fuel provided at huts and campsites. If this is scarce, collect dead wood only. Do not chop live trees. All native trees are protected and, anyway, green wood does not burn.

You should take a small first aid kit, small compass, including insect repellant and a suitable antihistamine if you are allergic to wasp and bee stings. Wasps and bees are present in large numbers during the summer. Carry a torch and of course, appropriate track guide


Fitness and Preparation

It is important to ensure that you are physically fit. If you are not preoccupied with blistered feet or sore muscles then not only will you cover the ground more quickly and safely, but you will have more time and opportunity to appreciate the scenery and natural features that you have made so much effort to reach! So - break in those boots, make sure your clothing and gear are comfortable and adequate, plan your food requirements, and undertake several training tramps or hikes of increasing length and difficulty. There's only one way to get fit for tramping - and that's tramping.

Before you leave home, inform relatives or friends of your intentations and dates of travel and put your names and plans in the log books along the way. This will make your location easier should you suffer any mishap.

Approach to Walking

Don't rush and don't loiter. Keep up a good, steady pace and don't indulge in too many rest stops - it's surprising how the time gets away from you. And rests should not be too long, otherwise you may stiffen up and lose your rhythm. Don't hang around if its wet and cold - keep body heat up. Start out early each day, so that you're always time in hand.

On the track, keep your party together at all times; this reduces the chance of a member getting lost or having an accident. Remember the golden rule - the pace of the party is that of its slowest member.

Although the Sunrise Hut Track is well graded, well-marked, well-hutted and well-used track, do not undertake it lightly. 4 km can be a long way in bad weather or high winds; you must be sure of your ability to cover this distance with a pack and be prepared for rapid weather changes. Your group must be well prepared and fit. Relatives and friends must be informed of your intentions and dates of travels. Put your names and plans in the intentions books at theTripleX Car park and in Books in Track Huts en route; this will make your location easier if you should suffer any mishap. Seek the Department of Conservation's advice if in doubt about weather and track conditions, and needs, plan well, and by the time you reach the track you will have no worries. Have a good time!

More>> SUNRISE Hut Track Photos
Distances Tracks / Times

But observation of one's surroundings is reduced in direct proportion to the speed of travel and, one might add, the weight of one's load. Most Sunrise Track Walkers will want to take their time - for comfort's sake and to take in to the full attraction of the natural environment.

Triplex Carpark to Triplex Hut
10 mins
Swamp Track ( loop walk from Triplex Hut )
1 hour
North Block roadend to Triplex Hut (via Swamp Track)
30 mins
Triplex Hut to Waipawa Forks Hut (via River)
1 hour
Triplex Hut to Waipawa Forks Hut (via Track)
1.5 hours
Triplex Hut to Sunrise Hut
2 - 3 hours
Sunrise Hut to Armstrong Saddle
30 mins
Sunrise Hut to Top Maropea Hut
1.5 hours

Further Information

Department of Conservation
Napier Field Centre
Phone: (06) 8350415
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