The limestone bluffs of the Mangaokewa Scenic Reserve are less than a 5 minute drive from Te Kuiti. This means that climbers can easily pick up supplies and a good feed at the end of a day on the rock. The reserve also offers free camping, flush toilets, BBQ pits and a river (complete with waterfalls). Due to the overhanging nature of much of the rock, climbing here is not hampered by bad weather, although moisture can condense on the rock in cold weather. In fact, because the cliffs are broken up into two distinct tiers (the
upper tier being more consistently overhung) it is possible to play on easy vertical and slab climbs on the first tier because most of them are protected from rain by the cliffs above. Most enticing to climbers is the abundance of colonettes, tufas, and stalactites to play on.
In general, the limestone is solid, featured and quick to clean up but there are sections which are not as good as others so be aware that loose rock may be
encountered at anytime. It is recommended that belayers WEAR HELMETS to reduce the risk of injury in the event of a loose rock coming down. It should also be mentioned that there are sections of a softer, sandstone type rock (as seen between the two tiers of the Colosseum) which are quite unstable. It's also
worth mentioning that many of the softer colonettes are seriously weakened when wet, and should not be climbed on in these conditions (read: climb on 'em in the rain, and that key hold will rip right off for good.) That said, most route development has involved the removal of as much "bad" rock as possible so get out there and enjoy the routes!
The town of Te Kuiti is 1hr south of Hamilton on State Highway 3.From Te
Kuiti, head south on State Highway 30 (by the large statue of a sheep shearer)
towards Taupo for 2km. After cresting the first big hill, the turn-off is located on
the left-hand side and is sign posted "Mangaokewa Scenic Reserve" with both
a large wooden sign and a small yellow sign on the opposite side of the road. If
you are coming up highway 30 from the direction of Taupo, do not be confused
and drive down Mangaokewa Road as that this does not lead to the cliff at all.
After turning into the reserve, drive down the hill to the carpark/camping area.
The best access to the crag is by crossing the swing bridge and following the
track to the right. Within 5 meters, there is a smaller track which cuts left up the
hill. Take this left for only a few meters until a "climber track" appears on the
right (marked with two piles of stones). This track treads up the hill diagonally to
the right and will bring you directly up to the Colosseum.
31 Total Routes
['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',7],['2 Stars',16],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',1]
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Roof climbing at Mangaokewa