Northland's twin peaks, buried deep in the bush, offer stunning views for those brave enough to tackle their steep sides.
Te Raupua and Tutamoe are separated by just 40km as the crow flies, though travelling between them requires three hours of driving through the sleepy, relaxing inland towns of Tai Tokerau.
Start with the hardest peak first – it's a massive achievement if you can clamber up.
The best way to try to tackle Te Raupua is to take the 100km Kauri Coast drive from Dargaville to Ōpononi, the first town in the historic Hokianga Harbour.
You'll want to find a place to stay, because tackling the mountain is an all-day mission.
Between Ōpononi and Rawene you'll find a Copthorne Hotel, backpacker hostels, baches and AirBNBs, plus outdoor delights including the Tolkien-esque Wairere Boulders and the epic sand dunes on the harbour's north side. If you encounter a true blue Northlander with a wild boar strapped to his truck, don't be surprised.
When the weather looks right, tell your accommodation provider you're off to have a go at climbing Northland's highest peak. If you're not an experienced tramper, you can at the very least march into the Waima forest for an hour or two.
Te Raupua is concealed by the bulging Waima Ranges and often hard to see, but there are two ways to give it a go.
The easiest – without actually climbing the thing – is to find Waiotemarama Gorge Rd, southwest of Ōpononi, take the DOC track to Hauturu High Point, climb for two steep hours and, from a clearing, get your photos of Te Raupua and its nastily-named neighbour Mt Misery.
Otherwise, if you're serious about going all the way, head up bumpy Mountain Rd past the family-friendly Okopako Lodge. You're in for a rough, wild day in a remote, hard-to-access forest, so starting early is essential.
The advanced-level Waima Main Ridge Track requires a 20-minute drive up a rocky road through gorse and goats. Park where the road ends at a water tank. Here, the Six Foot Track begins, winding along a cliff above the powerful Whirinaki River waterfall.
After this, the canopy closes over. Hikers won't see a lot of sky again unless detouring 30 minutes up the 4x4 track to Frampton's Hut, an old six-bunk Kiwi classic with an iron potbelly stove.
Turning back here is okay and certainly earns you a beer and some Instagram selfies. Once again, if tackling Te Raupua, be sure you've told someone where you're going, because it's all bush after this.
Although a Scottish settler coach road crisscrossed the Waima Ranges in the 1800s, this is untouched forest - deep, thick and ancient. Expect birdcalls and billy goats bleating in the bush as you make the slow, steady slog uphill. Thankfully, the track is well-blazed and the path clear and unmistakeable.
At 781m, Te Raupua ("The Petal") is the highest mountain across both Northland and Auckland. It can take as long as three hours to climb up to. Trudge up through ponga ferns, taraire and rātā trees, hit a sign saying you're on the region's highest peak and you'll feel deeply satisfied.
While Te Raupua is completely bushed-over, and only Hauturu High Point will give views west across the Pacific Ocean, you will be able to boast you've tackled the highest mountain for miles around. The thrill is as pure as the downhill return.
If you're hungry for more of natural Northland, take State Highway 12 or 15 back towards Dargaville.
Bookending Northland's west coast mountains, the Tutamoe Range lies at the south end of the ranges and is best accessed from Tangowahine Valley Rd (cellphone reception is usually perfect, don't worry about that).
The sharp peak of Mt Tutamoe is a native forest-covered cone sitting atop pine plantation. Don't be dissuaded by the hour it takes to tramp up the truck road and the pines.
Once you hop over the stile, expect to plunge into dark, dense, usually cloudy forest where NZ's largest kauri trees used to grow (Kairaru was said to be 1.5 times the size of Tane Mahuta).
Another hour upward – including a vertical scramble up a ladder of tree roots - and you'll emerge at trig point with jaw-dropping views up and down the coast.
Finish the day or the week with reviving dip near Dargaville - try Bayly's Beach, a motel spa pool, or the cerulean water of Kai Iwi Lakes, clear as glass and always warm.