Te Manga

Cook Islands

A difficult walk/scramble/climb up the highest mountain in the Cook Islands. With its tropical weather, and thick steep ridgelines this mountain is for the more experienced and determined hikers.

Scrambling or Climbing
Navigation Required
Maximum Elevation

Getting there

Walk starts from Tupapa Rd on the North East side of the island. If you are travelling there via bus you can just tell the driver to stop when you are nearby - the buses do clockwise and anticlockwise circuits and they stop where ever you want them to. 

Route/Trail notes

The walk starts off easy enough along a graded road that leads to a water collection point. From there you are into the bushes at the end of the road following the stream for a short while before beginning your steep ascent. The track is reasonably easy to follow with occasional tape also aiding navigation. The section up to the ridgeline is quite draining in the heat due to the complete lack of airflow. Once you hit the ridgeline the gradient eases for a bit and you start to get your first views. Eventually you will reach the start of the vertical sections. These sections have rope (of questionable reliability) fixed to assist your ascent. The first one has a few hand and footholds which allow you to climb without fully relying on the rope. The second vertical section about 20mins further on has little to no foot/hand holds. This is made even more difficult in the wet because the moss make the rock like ice. If you get past this section rest assure you have passed the worst of it.

After a while you will get up onto a razorback ridgeline with steep drop offs on either side. This is further complicated by the thick vegetation disguising massive holes in the ground that your whole leg will disappear into if you aren't careful. After traversing this section you will reach the long roped ascent to the summit. Some of these sections are almost as difficult as the 2nd wall from earlier but have more scrub on the side of the wall that you can dig your feet into being that the wet rock provides little grip. Immediately before arriving at the lower summit you will get to a Y intersection - walk about 10 meters to the right and you will be at the lower summit, continue to the left and you will descend then climb up to the higher summit. Once there you will see a sealed lunch box with a notebook to sign your name in and a dog bowl. Descend via the same route - carefully.


Nil cost

Other References



GPS Tracks

  • No GPS available for this walk yet.


Well first thing I'll say is good luck trying to find a clear weather window. I had the aid of a small team of meteorologists and even with their assistance it's a bit of a gamble. The cloud likes to rest of the mountain range - some days it will start off cloudy and then get clear as the day goes on, other days (like my day of ascent) it will start off clear then get cloudy as the day goes on. Fortunately it didn't rain and hadn't rained for a few days prior, but everything is still perpetually wet up there anyway. I used the GPS track from Alltrails and loaded it onto my phone and found it to be pretty reliable. However, the AllTrails track doesn't go all the way to the summit, it stops about 5-600 meters prior for some reason, not sure why. The track keeps going so I kept going. A friendly dog started following me from the road below and he was quite good company. When I passed the first vertical sections I figure that was the last I would see of him but a few minutes later he was right back behind me so either he knows an easier way, or he is a spectacular climber. I did watch him on the descent to see how he did it and he kind of just ran down the vertical wall then used the bushes or trees to slow his descent - falling with style. The 2nd wall stopped me for about 5 minutes while I tried to figure out how I would ascend. It is a little tricky and a mistake or a snapped rope could result in a 2 story fall onto the rocks. I made it to the first summit and thought it was the actual summit. It was only when I went to descend and found myself climbing again that I realised there was more to go (I didn’t notice the Y intersection so I ‘descended’ straight up to the main summit. Up there you will find the climbers log book and a dog bowl which I filled with water for my K9 companion. If I had known he would have escorted me the whole way I would have brought some treats. The descent isn’t quite as tricky as the ascent because you don’t need to rely on the rope quite as much. Although navigationally it can be a bit tricky because there are a few places it’s quite easy to take a wrong turn. My dog guide faithfully followed me in the wrong direction a couple of times as if to say “You have to solve your own problems, I’m just along for the ride”. Shame I didn’t have clearer conditions, but a good challenge nonetheless. Passed a group of 3 coming up as I was descending. They were just about to get to the roped sections so would have been quite curious to see how they went.

Vonsnrub on 27 May, 2024


Click here to load this map.

Done this walk?

This walk has been ticked 1 times

Aussie Bushwalking can keep track of your bushwalks.

Login/signup to tick this walk off.

Tick walks to keep track of where you've been. You must Login to tick walks. Accounts are 100% free so sign up if you don't have one.