This easy to spot landmark, 8km south of Te Awamutu, is an old volcanic cone that features prominently in Waikato history before colonial settlement. The full name of the mountain according to several accounts is "Kakepuku-te-aroaro o Kahu" which means "swollen stomach of Kahu". Various Tainui hapu have occupied the area and its surrounds and there are remains of 4 pa sites located under the forest canopy or regenerating bush.
There is a track, known as the Kakepuku Track, that goes through the original forest in the ancient crater and emerges at the summit where one gets amazing views of the Waipa landscape. This is approx 2-3 hours return tramp and takes you to the summit at 449 metres (marked with a trig—see photo below). The track goes up the southern side of the mountain and is quite steep and can be very slippery when wet. A major upgrade is planned and it will also include "new interpretation at the pa sites".
To access the track take the Kakepuku Mountain Road, off either Pokuru Road or Te Mawhai Road. From the carpark one must cross farmland, which is well marked before entering the bush.
The Kakepuku Mountain Conservation Project which includes the Kakepuku Historic Reserve, Waipa District Council Reserve and adjoining farmland was established in 1995 to reduce possum, rat and goat populations to minimise impact on the forest and native wildlife in the area.
Related link: DoC page about Kakepuku