Te Mata Peak

sights / Parks & gardens

Lonely Planet review

Rising melodramatically from the Heretaunga Plains, Te Mata Peak, 16km south of Havelock North, is part of the 98-hectare Te Mata Trust Park . The road to the 399m summit passes sheep trails, rickety fences and vertigo-inducing stone escarpments cowled in a bleak, lunar-meets-Scottish-Highland atmosphere. The lookout still awaits its makeover, but it’s really all about the views which – on a clear day – fall away to Hawke Bay, Mahia Peninsula and distant Mt Ruapehu.

The view of Te Mata is also extraordinary. To local Maori this is the sleeping giant Te Mata O Rongokako. From the fields around Havelock North, a little imagination will conjure up the giant, lying on his back with his head to the right. The park’s network of trails offers walks from 30 minutes to two hours. Our pick is the Peak Trail for views, but all are detailed in the Te Mata Trust Park brochure available from local visitor centres.