Short Walk. Well formed path with easy grades. Suitable for people of most ages and fitness
Walking Track. A defined, formed track. Suitable for people with reasonable fitness levels
Tramping Track. Limited track formation, often with steep grades. Boots recommended. Suitable for people of average physical fitness with back country skills and experience
Route. Lightly cut marked or unmarked tracks, often steep. Streams, rivers, may be unbridged. Boots recommended. Suitable for fit, well-equipped and experienced people.
Recommended Easy Walks : Up to 2 hours
Kitekite Falls Track (loop)
Edwin Mitchelson Track (walk and return)
Karamatura Loop Track
Auckland City Walk (loop)
Mercer Bay Walk
Recommended Longer Circuits
Mountain Rd Carpark - Old Coach Rd Track - Goodfellow Track - Fairy Falls Track - Mountain Road Carpark
Mt Donald McLean Carpark - Donald McLean Track - Bob Gordon Track - Donald McLean Track - Mt Donald McLean Carpark
A little More Demanding
Montana Heritage Trail : Cascade Kauri Carpark - (northern end of) Auckland City Walk - Cascade Track - Fenceline Track - Long Road Track - Upper Kauri Track - (turning left into) Auckland City Walk - Cascade Carpark.
Glenesk Carpark - Piha Valley Track - Centennial Track [steepish descent to and return from Black Rock Dam, optional] - Home Track - Winstone Track - Connect Track - Kitekite Track - Glen Esk Carpark
Glenesk Carpark - Home Track - Marguerite Track - Lucy Cranwell Track - Kauri Grove Track - Winstone Track - Connect Track - Kitekite Track - Glenesk Carpark
Karamatura Carpark - Karamatura Track - Fletcher Track - (turning right onto) Donald McLean Track - Karamatura Track - Karamatura Carpark.
Anawhata Beach Track
Arataki Nature Trail
Arthur Mead Track
Auckland City Walk
Bob Gordon Track
Buck Taylor Track
Cave Rock Track
Chateau Mosquito Track
Clark Bush Track
Con Bryan Track
Crusher Pipe Track
Cutty Grass Track
Destruction Gully Track
Donald McLean Track
East Tunnel Mouth Track
Edwin Mitchelson Track
Fairy Falls Track
Goat Hill Track
Goldies Bush Track
Huia Dam Rd
Huia Ridge Track
Ian Wells Track
Kakamatua Beach Walk
Kakamatua Inlet Track
Kakamatua Ridge Track
Karamatura Loop Track
Kauri Grove Track
La Trobe Track
Laird Thompson Track
Lake Wainamu Track
Large Kauri Walk
Lion Rock Track
Long Road Track
Lower Kauri Track
Lucy Cranwell Track
McElwain Loop Walk
Manukau Bar View Walk
Manukau Timber Company Heritage Trail
Maori Bay Track
Maungaroa Lookout Track
Maungaroa Ridge Track
Mercer Bay Loop Walk
Mokoroa Falls Track
Mokoroa Stream Track
Montana Heritage Trail
Mt Donald McLean Walk
Nihotupu Dam Road
Nihotopu Ridge Track
Nikau Grove Walk
Odlin Timber Track
Old Coach Road Track
Opanuku Pipeline Track
Orpheus Graves Walk
Pararaha Valley Track
Piha Valley Track
Pohutukawa Glade Walk
Pole Line Track
Puriri Ridge Track
Quarry Track #1
Quarry Track #2
Ridge Road Track
Robinson Ridge Track
Sharp Bush Track
Signal House Track
Smyth Ridge Track
Spragg Bush Track
Swanson Pipeline Track
Takapu Refuge Walk
Tasman Lookout Track
Te Henga-Goldie Bush Walkway
Tom Thumb By-Pass Track
Tom Thumb Track
Twin Peaks Track
Upper Huia Dam Track
Upper Kauri Track
Upper Nihotupu Walk
Wainamu Bush Track
Waitakere Tramline Walk
Waitakere Dam Walk
Waitoru Reserve Track
Walker Kauri Track
Walker Ridge Track
West Tunnel Mouth Track
Zion Hill Track
Zion Ridge Track
Montana Heritage Trail: A circular tramp starting I from Falls Road carpark; then follows Auckland City Walk (16), Upper Kauri (14), Long Road (4), Fence Line (19) and Cascade Tracks (20) back to carpark. Upgrading and further maintenance of this circuit is being funded in a partnership with Montana Wines Limited. 8km 4 hours.
Our recommendation is that you walk this track in the other direction. The last part of the Fenceline Track, descending towards Falls Rd carpark is quite steep, and our experience is that past a certain point, a steep descent is more hazardous than an ascent of the same piece of track, especially without poles. The Upper Kauri Track is a relatively easy descent in comparison. We would reckon 5-6 hours, fatman time, allowing for a lunch break and photography.
1. Mokoroa Falls Track: From end of Horseman Road, track follows old logging road through Goldie Bush down gentle ridge to a rock ledge with view over the Mokoroa Falls. Here track branches with a short steep section to left leading down to Mokoroa Stream. 1.9km 35 minutes.
NB. This track is administered by the Department of Conservation. No dogs allowed.
Note also, the trip down the Mokoroa Stream is not recommended for the unfit or inexperienced.
2. Takapu Refuge Walk: From the carpark at Maori Bay, walk skirts around headland then descends to end of Muriwai Beach Access Road. Two short branch tracks lead to lookouts over gannet colony. 800m 30 minutes return.
Basically designed to get busloads of people from the carpark to the gannets. Perambulator friendly, apart from the slope down to the beach. Scruffy scrub and seacoast vegetation. As a walk nothing whatever to recommend it apart from the views of the gannet colonies - which are world-class - at the end.
Maori Bay carpark is a pleasant spot to watch the sunset, which can be spectacular, and the beach is a favourite surfing destination. You will often catch paragliders in action.
3. Edwin Mitchelson Track: From Oaia Road, track descends through regenerating coastal forest to Lookout Track (20 minutes) then continues to Edwin Mitchelson Road. Spectacular views north up Muriwai Beach. 1.1km 35 minutes total.
(A delightful walk. I walked from the bottom (Edwin Mitchelson Rd) to the top (Oaia Rd) and back. Rich variety of ferns, as well as the usual regenerating bush, especially hangehange. I was interested in what appeared to be several variations in leaf size and shape, all within relatively close proximity.
An easy, gentle climb and a leisurely return. Spectacular views depend on absence of sea mist which is by no means a given.)
4. Long Road Track: From end of Long Road, old road ascends partly through Pae 0 Te Rangi Farm then follows undulating ridge in bush through Smyth Corner to Simla. 4.2km 1 hour 45 minutes.
The gravel road section at the beginning is steep and scrubby. The bush section is clay surfaced, and after rain can be slippery in places and often quite muddy. Nevertheless a pleasant walk, providing access to many other tracks.
5. Ridge Road Track: From Anawhata Road, track follows undulating ridge to Simla. 3km 1 hour 30 minutes.
We walked up to Simla and back with a break for lunch, taking just over 4 hours in all, though much of the walk in was slowed by photography. Clay surface, for the most part, and moderately slippery when wet — a wide track, suitable for quadbike access, gently sloping, mostly downhill from Anawhata with some gentle rises and falls and a small climb up the last stretch to Simla. Expect wet feet if it has been raining.
6. Wainamu Bush Track: From Long Road Track, track follows ridge before descending steeply to small clearing beside Wainamu Stream; track continues on opposite bank a little way downstream then climbs steeply to follow ridge to Smyth Ridge Track. 2km 2 hours.
7. Smyth Ridge Track: From Smyth Corner, track follows undulating ridge to Kuataika Track. 2.2km 40 minutes.
8. Kuataika Track: From Anawhata Road, track crosses farm then descends steeply through bush to cross Anawhata Stream, then climbs very steeply to open ridge which it follows down to Kuataika Stream. Track then climbs continuously up past Kuataika Trig, and along undulating ridge to Smyth Ridge Track. 5.2km 2 hours 15 minutes.
9. Sisam Track: Named for the Sisam family, part of whose property now comprises the Cascades Park. Track follows ridge from Smyth Ridge Track, then descends very steeply to junction of Chateau Mosquito and Simla Tracks just above Anawhata Stream. 1.6km 30 minutes; 45 minutes to ascend.
10. Simla Track: [Signposted “For Experienced Trampers Only”] From Ridge Road Track, track follows along ridge; views of Anawhata Valley unfold just before track descends extremely steeply to Smyth Stream at old kauri dam site.
1.7km 35 minutes; 1 hour to ascend.
11. Chateau Mosquito Track: From Anawhata Road, track follows along undulating ridge, then descends very steeply to cross Anawhata Stream. Track follows upstream on left side for 200m and climbs a short distance to junction of Simla and Sisam Tracks.
2.3km 1 hour; 1 hour 40 minutes in reverse.
The first 30% or so is a doddle. A more or less level 4WD track for sissies. There's a red clay/rock under parts of the track which could be treacherous after recent rain. This part through scrubby and somewhat scruffy bush.
The second 50-60% is a generous but increasingly steep walking track down to the stream. Not for oldies and fatties unless in very good shape and using sticks. (Moi!) It is demanding, but has few vices. On the return trip you will find it extremely steep and extremely long. But it's OK. Just take it slowly and rest when you need to. Trees somewhat larger and more varied.
The section between the stream and the junction with Simla and Sisam is just plain vicious: wet, boggy, rocky, slippery, narrow, and infested with wasps when I walked it at the beginning of April. Recommendation. Go as far as the stream and have lunch. You may still need to deal with wasps.
Fatman time return, 4 hours.
12. RGB Track: [Signposted “For Experienced Trampers Only”] Named for Ron Bennett, the tramper who originally cut the track. From Ridge Road Track just north of AUTC hut, track follows ridge, then descends steeply to cross Anawhata Stream; then ascends steeply to meet Chateau Mosquito Track. 2km 1 hour.
13. Pukematekeo Track: From bend on Pukematekeo exit road, 70m below trig, track follows ridge with steep final descent to Falls Road, adjacent to Ranger Station. 1.6km 45 minutes; 1 hour 15 minutes to ascend.
14. Upper Kauri Track: From Auckland City Walk, l00m on right, upstream from swing bridge, partly metalled track follows graded ascent to bluff-top ridge with impressive groves of mature and ricker kauri, then continues up long, gentle ascent to Long Road Track, 200m east of Smyth Corner, 3.1km 1 hour 30 minutes.
Barely a tramping track. The initial climb from the Auckland City Walk is steepish, but an otherwise excellent walking track, From junction with Cascade Track to Long Road Track junction, this track is a doddle. Well formed boardwalks, gravel paths, easy walking, attractive bush.
15. Lower Kauri Track: [Signposted “For Experienced Trampers Only”] From Upper Kauri Track, track descends gently through kauri grove, over undulating ground and across two streams; then ascends steeply to ridge with stand of mature kauri before reaching Long Road Track. 1.9km 45 minutes. (Fatman time 2 hours)
After a short, level beginning, you will descend sharply by a root-ridden muddy track to the first stream. A short easy climb along a comfortable if somewhat eroded track brings you some gentle rises and falls until you reach the big kauri. At this point, there is another sharp descent to the right, and a series of steepish rises and falls across several more streams with some gentle intermediary track not dissimilar to the Marguerite Track, until a steep, slippery, root ridden climb brings you once more to a benched track, still climbing steeply to another wonderful kauri, before you level off for the last couple of hundred metres to Long Road.
Good boots are a distinct bonus and sticks are essential.
16. Auckland City Walk: Park in Falls Rd Carpark. Walk starts from swing bridge at lower end of picnic area and follows bank of Waitakere Stream. At junction of Cascade and Waitakere Streams a short track (150m) on right branches up to a small gorge and waterfall. Main walk continues across wooden bridge and along stream to a second bridge then ascends gradually back to upper picnic area on Falls Road. 1.5km 1 hour.
An exceptionally generous time allowance. An excellent track surface, and mostly easy going. Information plaques at intervals for info vultures.
17. Karamatura Loop Walk: Coming from Titirangi, turn right about 100m before the Huia Museum to the picnic area. From Karamatura picnic area, walk climbs gradually to junction of Tom Thumb and Karamatura Tracks, then veers left away from Karamatura Stream. Track returns back along side of valley, then descends steeply on side of spur to rejoin initial part of walk. 2.4km 1 hour. NB. It is recommended that this circular walk be done in an anti-clockwise direction.
If it's been raining recently, the descent on the way back can be slippery, and sticks are helpful.
18. Anderson Track: Two entrances from Scenic Drive; either opposite top of Peripatus Track (27) or down old driveway 300m to north, both leading to a grassy clearing (site of former homestead) where track descends into bush and follows steep ridge down to Waitakere Stream; from there fairly level track continues to Auckland City Walk near large kauri. 2.3km 45 minutes.
Though the descent is well formed with plenty of steps, we recommend that you do this track from the bottom (Falls Rd) end up to the Scenic Drive - or via West Tunnelmouth Track to Waitakere Tramline Track.
19. Fence Line Track: From Simla, track descends past Robinson Ridge Track down undulating ridge (steep and slippery in parts), crosses over Saddle Dam to Waitakere Dam Walk. Track then veers sharply left uphill before descending to meet Cascade Track. 3.4km 1 hour.
Same applies to this one as to the last one. If you're doing the Montana Heritage Trail, we recommend a clockwise circuit, which means climbing this one.
There's been a major change here. The old Fence Line Track from Waitakere Dam to about 250m west of Simla has been closed and replaced with a brand new piece of Montana motorway which meanders along beside the Waitakere lake about 50m back, and then climbs towards Simla.
Seats and lookout station provided, even. Wonderful spot for removing your bottle of Montana white from it's chilly bag and viewing the scenery in a relaxed fashion.
Wonderful piece of track, in keeping with the Montana heritage track styling elsewhere, but not a reason for closing the old Fence Line section which would make a good loop with the new bit from Waitakere Dam. The Robinson Track can still be accessed from the old Fence Line Track, about 200 m from the old/new junction.
20. Cascade Track: [Signposted “For Experienced Trampers Only” from the junction with the Fenceline Track.] From Auckland City Walk opposite large kauri, track ascends steep, kauri-covered spur, then descends west side of spur to skirt small valley and cross Cascade Stream. From there track ascends through grove of large kauri to Upper Kauri Track. 1.5km 1 hour 15 minutes.
A very pleasant if at times somewhat demanding walk. Lovely bush and exquisite birdsong. Some steep and slippery sections. Boots and sticks advised, and a reasonable level of fitness. Allow at least three hours fatman time for the round trip from the Carpark.
21. Robinson Ridge Track: From Cascade Track, track descends to and crosses a branch of Cascade Stream, then follows a long graded ascent to meet Fence Line Track. 2km 1 hour 15 minutes.
You've got quite a lot of work to do to reach either end of the track before you even consider the requirements of the track itself. I chose to do it uphill. I started at Cascade Carpark, walked along the Auckland City Walk and up the Upper Kauri Track to Cascade Track junction, then down to the Cascade-Robinson Ridge junction. At the far end, I turned right for 200m, then left onto the new Fenceline Track and back along the new Fenceline Track to the Waitakere Dam turnoff, and on to the junction with Cascade Track.
Then right onto Cascade Track, right onto Auckland City Walk and back to the car. About 7 km of reasonably strenuous walking. Fatman time for the circuit, including a 20 minute lunch break, approximately 5 hours. Fatman time for the track itself, uphill, was approx 90 minutes.
So, if you do it this way, you need to be reasonably fit, and you need to be able to manage a steepish downhill section on the trip out when you are most likely to be tired and your knees wobbly. Sticks/poles are pretty much a given.
The track surface itself, in dry weather, is ok, but in wet weather the combination of slippery clay and tree roots would make considerable demands on stability, and there is at least one stream crossing (possibly two including the Cascade Track stream crossing) that might cause problems with any volume of water. There's a wonderful lunch spot just above the Robinson Ridge stream crossing.
The track is varied and interesting, passing through a considerable variety of vegetation types but fairly unrelenting if not excessively steep uphill. Birdsong, as anywhere in the Cascade Valley, is wonderful.
22. Browne Track: From Ridge Road Track, track follows ridge with steep descent to Anawhata Stream. 480m 20 minutes.
23. Waitakere Tramline Walk. Follows tramline and pipeline from near base of Waitakere Dam along bluff-top ledge with spectacular views of the Waitakere Valley and falls; continues through short tunnel to western portal of tramline tunnel and West Tunnel Mouth Track. 1.6km 30 minutes.
(To get to this one you have to first walk in to the Waitakere Dam, either down the Waitakere Dam Track or via Fenceline Track, or from Falls Rd Carpark via Auckland City Walk, Anderson Track and West Tunnelmouth Track to start from the other end. A pleasant walk with some great lookout points, and a railway station (?) half way along for a sit-and-look-at-the-view opportunity.)
24. Swanson Pipeline Track: From end of Tram Valley Road, track follows driveway; through low tunnel (caution required) then follows pipeline along bulldozed road and track over undulating terrain (very steep in places) to Christian Road near Waitakere Filter Station. 2km 1 hour 15 minutes.
From the end of the road there's about 300 metres of driveway to the start proper, and no indication that at the end of the 300 metres there is a No Parking sign at the only place you can park. Ignore it. You can park so as to permit access to the track for any vehicle that needs it and the only vehicle tracks I could see were a motor bike's tracks, plus a few horses' hoof marks if you want to be picky. Any traffic officer this far off the beaten track is more likely to be coming here for illicit sex, than in pursuit of his employment.
The track has a wealth of native plant species in a context that suggests scrub. Well worth some attention. It passes across a series of ridges on its way to Christian Rd and would probably be the ideal training track for Day 1 of the St James Walkway. Good walking but ocasionally steepish, usually in short bursts of about 50-100 metres. Plenty of steps at the Christian Rd end, some of which could use some attention
The tunnel, about half way, is about 30 m or so long, and about 1.5m high. You will run out of light underfoot about a third of the way through, but the track is level and gravelled, and, at least when I was there, did not host cave wetas.
Time estimates are generous. Even stopping for photos and having lunch at Christian Rd I got back in just over 2 hours.
26. Opanuku Pipeline Track: A metalled driveway follows pipeline from Mountain Road to Opanuku Stream picnic and camping area (10 minutes); then climbs steeply along clay bulldozed track, and through a short tunnel just before Christian Road near Waitakere Filter Station. 1.4km 40 minutes total.
1 hr fatman time. Easy strolling as far as bridge. Fairly ordinary scrubby bush along the road in with little of interest. Past the bridge, no sign of bulldozer. Plenty of signs of water erosion. Not as steep as notes might suggest but requires care if wet. Tunnel is approximately 1.8m high, 20-30m long, and a little rough underfoot with barely adequate light.
27. Peripatus Track: From Swanson Pipeline Track, track crosses Swanson Stream and ascends steeply to gentle section before ascending extremely steeply to Scenic Drive. 1.6km 1 hour 30 minutes.
28 . Whatitiri Track: From carpark at end of Falls Road, track leads past gas barbecue into paddock, then descends via tractor track to cross Waitakere Stream. Track continues through bush for 300m to grass clearing and on through first farm gate; turns left up onto grassland for 700m through two more gates, then turns again to follow bush boundary as track climbs to meet Long Road Track. 2.9km 1 hour.
Useful to complete a loop from Long Road Track back to Cascade carpark, but for what's worth seeing, I'd probably start at the carpark end and walk in as far as the bridge. The farm section is cool if you like walking beside dead sprayed gorse, or out in open paddocks.
29. East Tunnel Mouth Track: From Waitakere Filter Station at end of Christian Road, a metalled road leads to the east end of the Waitakere pipeline tunnel, then continues as a track on steep ascent to saddle on Scenic Drive. 1.2km 30 minutes.
"Then continues as a track...." Euphemism. In fact, damned euphemism. This one took me 50 minutes, more than half of which was the track from hell leading from the tunnelmouth up to the Scenic Drive. I made it to the top, but as I was carrying only one stick I was loath to attempt the steep, slippery, crumbly rock descent, and walked back to the car via the Scenic Drive and Mountain Rd which was slightly less dangerous. Getting up there involved hauling myself up on tree roots and convenient tree trunks, and taking some patches on hands and knees. High spot was cascades of flowering orchids pouring out of a huge puriri tree on the road section. Not recommended for the elderly and stout, though the walk up to the railway depot is pleasant and interesting walking.
30. West Tunnel Mouth Track: From east end of Waitakere Tramline walk near pipeline tunnel, track ascends gently to Anderson Track. [Note near start a few metres of quite slippery rock to negotiate, requiring reasonable agility.] 400m 10 minutes.
31. Lookout Track: Starts from Motutara Road, Muriwai, approximately 100 metres east from park shop. Track climbs steep stairway to Domain Crescent, then recommences 150 metres further up road and climbs to spectacular lookout (20 minutes). From lookout, track continues through coastal forest to meet Edwin Mitchelson Traclc. 700m 25 minutes total.
(I recommend you do this one from Oaia Rd via Edwin Mitchelson Track. Why do steps when you don't have to? Good views from lookout.)
32. Quarry Track: From Waitea Road track climbs easily through mature nikau and pohutukawa, crosses small stream and eventually meets Lookout Track junction. 450m 15 minutes.
33. Filter Track: From Waitakere Filter Station at end of Christian Road, track ascends spur through kauri grove, very steep in places; views over Auckland; track then crosses flat area at top to Scenic Drive. 800m 45 minutes.
It actually starts about 50 metres along the East Tunnel Mouth Track on the left. It's on my list. (Done 100307) Miranda walked it recently and reckoned I could handle it without too much worry. (Correct) There are several short and steepish sections and one seriously steep bit closer to the end. Likely to be quite slippery when wet. Parking at the Scenic Drive end is non-existent, and you may wish to park your car at the Christian Rd end and walk the track both ways. You may consider a loop along the Scenic Drive and down the East Tunnelmouth Track, but neither of these sections is comfortable or even attractive walking.
34. Walker Kauri Track: From Mountain Road, track follows easy grade to a large kauri, then narrows and continues down to a second kauri. 750m 30 minutes return.
35. Spragg Bush Walk: From picnic area at the junction of Scenic Drive and Mountain Road, a gentle graded walk leads past historic cemetery to a large kauri; then continues down gentle grade and crosses small stream to rejoin Scenic Drive, 500m north of the picnic area (30 minutes). Two branch tracks link this walk with Turanga Road. The first branch is on the right 30m before the large kauri and meets Turanga Road on its first bend (5 minutes); the second, 200m beyond large kauri, continues downhill to meet a small stream and emerges at end of Turanga Road (10 minutes). Total track distances 2km.
36. Fairy Falls Track: From Scenic Drive opposite parking area, initial section of track is level and metalled but later descends steeply to the top of Fairy Falls (45 minutes). Track then makes an extremely steep descent partly down a boardwalk, beside the falls and continues downstream a short way before a gradual ascent to Mountain Road. 3.2km 2 hours total.
The section of track between the Falls and the Scenic Drive carpark has been massively upgraded in 2006, with gravel paths and substantial railed boardwalks, and only the section from the base of the Falls to the first level is likely to present any problems. If you are walking the Fairy Falls/Old Coach Road circuit, I recommend you do it anti-clockwise from the Mountain Rd Carpark, and take the shortcut across the Goodfellow track.
37. Maori Bay Track: Short track which connects Motutara Road and Maori Bay access road. 200m 10 minutes.
38. Goodfellow Track: From Old Coach Road Track, track leads to kauri covered spur with views of Auckland, then descends around bluffs and continues across two small streams to meet Fairy Falls Track a short distance above the falls. 1km 30 minutes. (66min Fatman time)
This track has been vastly upgraded to bring it in line with the best of Montana Heritage and Fairy Falls tracks. It's a delightful walk through wonderful terrain. (I'd suggest that your "Fairy Falls Circuit" begin at Mountain Rd, go up Old Coach Rd and across Goodfellow then left back to Mountain Rd via Fairy Falls Track. This route is somewhat up and down, but if you walk it in this direction you get relatively long and gentle ups combined with quite steep downs, mainly steps.) Part of the Goodfellow Track near OCR is presently (Aug2007) under construction, and somewhat muddy. Otherwise the track is excellent. Those with height difficulties may find the steps, lacking a handrail, somewhat daunting here and there, but if I can do the height stuff, I think most people are likely to manage.
39. Old Coach Road Track: From Fairy Falls Track on Scenic Drive, track follows line of old road for a while before exiting onto Scenic Drive for a couple of hundred metres, and then resuming to the end of Tawari Road, the highest point on the circuit, then down to Mountain Road passing large kauri and rimu enroute. Track slippery after rain. 2.4km 1 hour.
40. Dreamlands Track: From Scenic Drive down metalled road, track passes partly through private property to Opanuku Road. 400m 20 minutes.
41. Cutty Grass Track: From Scenic Drive, track follows undulating ridge; with a large kauri on left (10 minutes); then reaches Ridge Road Track near its junction with Anawhata Road. Track recommences a short way further north along Ridge Road Track and descends easily to Anawhata Road. 3.6km 1 hour 15 minutes.
When I arrived, an earth-moving contractor was just finishing a reshaping of the section between Anawhata Rd and Ridge Rd. The clay surface was very wet, and between my starting and finishing, the route was used by a very large group of orienteers or similar, and the track on my return was considerably cut up and greasy. My suggestion is that for the next few months from June 2007 you start/finish this track using the Ridge Rd entrance off Anawhata Rd, until winter rain has removed the fine clay from the surface and left just the gritty, non-slippery elements. A pleasant walk. The track is broad enough and gentle enough to be used by 4WD vehicles or bikes. It's definitely a boots track, not a street shoe stroll, though, and sticks are useful for balance on a surface that is often greasy.
The kauri is about 15 metres off the track along a just visible and partly overgrown sidetrack, unsigned. It is not specially tall, and unless you are looking for it you might well miss it. It is, however, more than 2 metres in diameter, a massive presence.
Fatman time for the return trip to Anawhata Rd was just on 4 hours including time out for lunch half way.
42. Large Kauri Walk: From Scenic Drive, an easy short walk to large kauri, (7m girth). 30m 2 minutes return.
43. Lucy Cranwell Track: From Marguerite Track, track descends ridge steeply, crosses stream and joins Kauri Grove Track. 1km 30 minutes.
I took about 70 minutes for this, having previously walked about 4 hours to reach it, with a full training pack. Not noticeably steep compared with many others, but still something of a goat track in places. Pleasant surroundings
44. Crusher Pipe Track: Track branches off Huia Dam Road crossing stream to right of water pipes, then climbs and widens to meet junction of Hamilton Track and Smiths Road. 800m 20 minutes.
We walked this one from the end of Hamilton Track. Important. The 1:50000 topo sheet is misleading here. The "Telephone Track" shown on this map no longer exists, and the Hamilton Track curves round to end on the Crusher PpeTrack about 50 m from Smiths Rd. From Smith Road, the Crusher Track is a broad mown strip heading steadily downhill to an unsigned Y junction. The "obvious" left hand fork peters out about 70 m further along. The right hand fork narrows after about 50 m into a foot track descending towards the stream. Just before the stream, where the pipeline emerges from the ground, there are about 20 steep steps - about 400-450mm tread depth - going straight down the bank to a substantial concrete bridge over the stream, followed by a short scrambly path up the opposite bank to a broad, mown vehicle track heading gently uphill to meet the Huia Dam Road.
45. Rangemore Track: From small parking area on Scenic Drive, west end of track climbs easy grade to knoll with grove of kauri (15 minutes) then descends gradually to rejoin Scenic Drive approximately 1km from parking area. 1.8km 1 hour.
The track is rougher and muddier underfoot than most "walking" tracks.
And unless you've organised dual transport the 1 km walk back to the car up the very winding Scenic Drive, with no footpath, narrow sloping gravel verges, and moderate to heavy traffic, can require a certain amount of survival skill. For all that, a pleasant walk and one I'd come back to.
46. Taumata Track: From Ferndown Track, narrow track leads through bush, Crosses stream by waterfall and climbs steeply via numerous steps to a saddle; continues up ridge to Parekura Peak with panoramic views over the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours. 900m 1 hour 10 minutes return.
Normal starting place for this track is Pope-Godley Reserve, at the end of a small unsigned gravel road towards the far end of Opanuku Rd. A mistake at ARC signs depot has Taumata Track beginning here, but this is in fact the start of the Ferndown Track. Taumata Track begins about 5 minutes in. The track sign is almost obscured by long grass and you can miss it if you're not looking for it.
47. Parker Track: From bend on Identification Loop of the Arataki Nature Trail, track goes down a gentle grade to end of Parker Road. 140m 5 minutes.
48. Arataki Nature Trail: A network of three metalled loop walks which starts from Scenic Drive opposite the Park Visitor Centre. The Identification Loop is short and level, while the upper and lower loops contain graded descents and ascents. 1.6km total. Walks range from 20 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes.
The ID Loop is disappointing if you're looking for something more informative than tourist bus standard. The track is wide and immaculate, and large coloured inspirational information boards are dotted about all the way around. Some nice kauri at the far end.
I don't know what is meant by "graded", but the lower loop is quite steep coming back up, and you'd need to have a few kilometres of training in hand before attempting it at speed. OK for exercise when other tracks are looking muddy and uninviting, (which is, fortunately, when you are least likely to be surrounded by busloads of tourists or school pupils on the Arataki track) . If you're looking for an introduction to the Waitakeres, I'd choose the Auckland City Walk every time, or the Kitekite Falls Track at Piha.
49. Clark Bush Track: Track skirts around headwaters of small stream, passing several large kauri. Three entrances; from Manuka Road (50 m from Woodlands Park Road junction), Tainui Road (opposite Ngaio Road) where track descends steeply on steps to 'Bishop' Kauri, and blind end of Tainui Road. Level sections of track exist across the top of the reserve and from the end of Tainui Road. Steep, muddy sections occur between these levels and leading down to and across the stream. 1.8km 1 hour 15 minutes.
50. Exhibition Drive: Starting from Nihotupu Filter Station at the junction of Scenic Drive and Woodlands Park Road, old metalled road (originally a tramline) provides level bush walk with occasional views over Woodlands Park and Manukau Harbour. Meets the south end of Shaw Road near the halfway point and continues to a point overlooking Lower Nihotupu Reservoir at Mackies Rest. 3.2km 45 minutes.
You have know this one exists. There's no signage at either end. Park in the carpark at the start of Woodlands Park Rd, and make your way around the left of the filter station and onwards along about 3.4 km of gentle downhill Watercare access road. It's one for the months when everything else in the Waitaks is knee-deep in mud. This one is the ultimate perambulator-friendly track and we must have seen about half a dozen of them on the walk, and this on a midweek afternoon. It's a there and back walk unless you have a second car at the other end, at the start of the Pipeline Road track, and it's a good stretch, so allow a couple of hours if you want to take photographs.
51. Upper Nihotupu Walk: From carpark, track crosses bridge, then follows easy grade to meet Upper Nihotupu Dam Road (10 minutes). Pedestrian access continues down easy grade from Piha Road to Upper Nihotupu Dam, bypassing two waterfalls enroute. 2.6km 40 minutes total.
NB: Access to reservoir and shoreline prohibited. Toilets available 500m down road past dam.
Nonetheless, a couple of tracks lead off from the road to the edge of the reservoir stream. Allow a little more for the return journey uphill. This walk also provides access to the Christie Track and the Summit Track which start on the far side of the dam
52. Pipeline Road: Near Huia Road and Exhibition Drive intersection, pedestrian access road leads to start of Pipeline Track. 2km 30 minutes.
NB: No access permitted along this road beyond this point.
One for the stats. Maybe I'd do it again to get to the Pipeline Track. Predominantly downhill there and uphill back on loose gravel and little shade. Sunblock a must on a fine day. Roadside a combo of gorse, hangehange, mahoe, ferns and coprosmas with a few small treasures here and there along the way amongst a host of exotic weeds. Biggest plus is that dogs are allowed off lead but under control. Against this are numerous signs advertising poison drops.
53. Smiths Road: Forks right off Huia Dam Road, crosses bridge over headwaters of Lower Huia Dam then climbs steadily to junction of Crusher Pipe Track and Hamilton Track (20 minutes). Road continues to pipe tunnel (no exit). 1.4km 35 minutes total.
54. Kakamatua Inlet Track: From Cornwallis Road, a steep clay track leads down to Kakamatua Inlet. 200m 30 minutes return.
55. Nihotupu Ridge Track: From east end of Parau Track, track follows along undulating ridge between the Kakamatua and Nihotupu watersheds, then descends steeply to join west end of Parau Track. Poorlv defined in parts. 4.2km 2 hours 15 minutes.
56. Orpheus Graves Walk: From Cornwall is Road, level walk leads to graves of three sailors who drowned when HMS Orpheus was wrecked on the Manukau Bar in 1863 . 50m 5 minutes return.
57. Kakamatua Beach Walk: From parking area beside Kakamatua Stream bridge on Huia Road, level walk to sandy beach at head of tidal inlet. 100m 10 minutes return.
Hardly a walk at all in itself, but opens out onto the Kakamatua Inlet which is a delight, and can easily soak up a couple of hours, especially if you're into exercising a dog in paradise.
58. Con Bryan Track: From 50m along Huia Lookout road, steep track descends to secluded sandy beach. 300m 20 minutes return.
59. Parau Track: From picnic area at foot of Lower Nihotupu Dam, track ascends to water tank on flat-topped ridge, then follows a bulldozed track for 50m. From here track bears right up a very steep, deeply rutted track to ridge top, follows ridge a short distance, then descends steeply to cross Kakamatua Stream. Track then ascends through pines and continues over gently undulating terrain and across small stream to Nihotupu Ridge Track junction. Track continues a short distance along ridge and branches right to descend to swing bridge below Lower Huia Dam. A short branch on the right leads to top of dam. 6.2km 3 hours 45 minutes.
60. Panto Track: From north side of Huia Road, 200m east of Cornwallis Road turnoff; wide track climbs to clearing amongst pines, forks right then narrows and follows ridge to Parau Track. 3.1km 1 hour 15 minutes.
Pleasant walking, medium difficulty - mud and tree roots require care, long, generally uphill, walk from Huia Rd and downhill most of the way back, but slippery enough to warrant just as much care on return journey. Likely best as a summer walk. Boots and sticks recommended. Wonderful variety of vegetation over length of track. Excellent views over Manukau from a couple of vantage points
61. Kakamatua Ridge Track: Track climbs undulating ridge from Farley Track to Parau Track. 1.2km 30 minutes.
62 Farley Track: From Parau Track near Huia Stream swing bridge, track passes over gently undulating ground with several bridge crossings over stream to a small waterfall; from here, graded track climbs to Kakamatua Rd (45 minutes). Track then descends to and crosses Kakamatua Stream before gradual ascent to join Panto Track, 300m from Huia Road. 3.2km 1 hour 45 minutes total.
63. Huia Dam Road: From locked gate on top of Lower Huia Dam, road meanders besides reservoir initially, then follows Huia Valley by-passing Smiths Road (30 minutes) and Christies Track (50 minutes) to meet Upper Huia Dam. 6km 1 hour 15 minutes total.
NB: Gates located near entrance to Twin Peaks Track are locked at 4pm.
Watercare notices tell you gates are shut at 3.30 pm. This is the easiest "long track" I've done in the Waitaks, but your legs will get a good workout nevertheless. There are a couple of steepish hills, but it's all gravel road, "put one in front, then put the other" territory. The gravel surface is medium coarse, and at times, loose, and after 13 km, my feet were suffering a little, even in boots, as my feet rolled again and again.
From the outer gates to the Upper Huia Dam and back is around 13 km. Fatman time including photographs and a 15 minute lunchbreak 4hr 40m, but the return trip, lots of gentle downhill was 1hr 40.
I'd do this one in winter, or after rain, as in high summer I imagine that fine dust from the gravel surface could be a problem, if it's anything like the Pipeline Rd Track
64. Manukau Bar View Walk: Short, level, metalled walk from Whatipu Road to view of Manukau Harbour entrance and bar. 200m 10 minutes return.
65. Mt Donald Mclean Walk: Easy graded, metalled walk ascends from parking area and circles to summit. Viewing platforms give panoramic views of Auckland City, the southern Waitakere Ranges, and Manukau Harbour. 500m 30 minutes return.
About 150 metres from the top is a small side path, about 15m long, leading to a sheltered seat with wonderful views to the east. An excellent spot for lunch if you've come up the long way.
Some reports suggest the road up from the bottom should not be attempted in low-powered vehicles, and make comments about steepness. It is steepish, yes, but I am the world's second most nervous driver, after my mother, and I would have no hesitation in taking any small motor vehicle up to the parking lot at the top.
66. Omanawanui Track: From Whatipu Road opposite Puriri Ridge Track, track follows gentle undulating ridge before descending gradually to meet road again (15 minutes). Track reenters bush nearby and continues along ridge with steep sections (caution required); rewarding views of Manukau Harbour entrance, Awhitu Peninsula and Whatipu. Track swings off ridge and descends steeply to Whatipu parking area. 3km 2 hours 15 minutes total.
Miranda walked this one. Not for the elderly and stout, in her opinion, and certainly not for those with vertigo problems. Track has ample width, but drop off is considerable and close to vertical.
67. Signal House Track: Branch track from Omanawanui Track follows ridge to site of Signalman's House, above Paratutae Island. (Captain Wing operated the signals on Paratutae Island for ships entering the Manukau Harbour in the 1850s and 1860s). 400m 20 minutes return.
68. Huia Ridge Track: (CAUTION dcw) From Piha Road, opposite Cowan Track, track follows Huia watershed fenceline through to Lone Kauri Road. Track re-enters bush and follows undulating ridge around the upper Huia watershed before swinging right along ridge between the Karamatura and Pararaha headwaters. Track then crosses a boardwalk and a small tributary of each valley before joining Walker Ridge Track. 6km 2 hours 45 minutes.
Any resemblance between the above description and the track itself is probably co-incidence. The notes have this as a "walking track". The track itself bears a deserved warning sign "For experienced trampers only" The first section, from Piha Rd to Lone Kauri Rd might just make "walking track" description but the sidle up from Piha Rd in my opinion takes it beyond walking track and into tramping track category. Even then it is often sloping from side to side and quite slippery when wet. The section from Lone Kauri onwards is often steep, mostly boggy, ie, more than 75mm deep, root-ridden, and slippery, and for most of my first hour on it, dark and singularly unattractive as a route, or as a piece of bush. Being a little short of time, I walked 90 minutes in from Lone Kauri Rd and then returned, and I didn't even make it as far as the Nugget Track turnoff.
Maybe I try again in midsummer, with a pickup arranged at Mt Donald Mclean. Not recommended for oldies and fatties unless you have plenty of time and a reasonable degree of fitness and strength in your knee and ankle stabiliser muscles. And your hiking poles...
69. Zigzag Track: From parking area on View Road, track descends valley to Titirangi Beach Road. 1.2km 30 minutes.
70. Twin Peaks Track: From Lower Huia Dam road, track ascends very steeply (good views) to 'Tom Thumb' Kauri, then traverses Twin Peaks and Te Toiokawharu (highest point in Waitakere Ranges - no view) and along undulating ridge to Huia Ridge Track. 3km 2 hours 30 minutes.
71. Karamatura Track: From junction of Tom Thumb Track 3nd Karamatura Loop Walk, track climbs steeply over short distance before descending to White Stream (branch to Karamatura Falls), then ascends steep zigzag section to spur which climbs easily to Donald McLean Track. 2km 1 hour.
Officially, from the bottom, about 1hr 20m. At the top of the track, the sign says 1h 30 min to the carpark. Fatman time (30 Nov 2007) for the descent, 2hrs 20. In June 2007 we climbed this track, again in about 2hr 20.
This one will make very considerable demands on your agility and fitness, and the long and very steep middle section is among the more demanding we have walked so far, whether you're ascending or descending. Sticks and good boots essential. Lots of mud in winter or after rain.
72. Donald Mclean Track: From Mt Donald McLean parking area, metalled track follows undulating ridge to junction of Huia Ridge Track and Walker Ridge Track. 2.2km 45 minutes.
This is excellent all-weather walking, with varied bush, from Mt Donald McLean to the junction with Karamatura Track. The final ten minutes or so to Karamatura Forks is much narrower and slightly rougher going. There is one mildly steep section, but only in comparison with the easy grade of the rest. Some of the rock used to form the path is on the large side and needs attention if there has been recent rain when a clay-soled boot landing on one can cause you to slip.
73. Bob Gordon Track: A loop from Donald McLean Track descends ridge to sites of old kauri dam and bushman's camp on tributary of Whatipu Stream; then climbs back up ridge on opposite side of stream to join Donald McLean Track. 1.4km 45 minutes.
It's an uncommonly pretty track. It winds and winds narrowly down and down and down to a stream crossing, and the last 40m of vertical descent and up again are the only sections that require care. The track here is about as steep as it can get on clay without cut steps, and one is prevented from slipping largely by the carpet of dead kanuka leaves. In wet conditions it could be much trickier, and even in early December, there are a number of boggy patches.. For the rest, it's a sauntering track, with a bewildering variety of trackside vegetation, including a rather lovely - and tiny - creamy white orchid. I recommend a north > south passage, as the climb back up is nowhere near as far. Fatman time (including photos) 1hr 15 min.
74. Fletcher Track: From Karamatura Loop Walk, track ascends long steep spur with very steep, short climb to main ridge with view over Huia, then continues along undulating ridge to Donald McLean Track. 3.1km 1 hour 30 minutes.
For the elderly and stout, don't attempt this one unless you've just come back from a longish tramping holiday or are otherwise at peak fitness. It's long and it's uphill and it goes on and on and on. That said, it's one of the most interesting tracks in the Waitakeres, with many outstanding viewing spots, and a wonderful variety of terrain and vegetation. Steeper reaches will be slippery and difficult in wet weather or after recent heavy rain.
You also need to know how you're getting back to your car. If you're likely to be stuffed by the time you reach the top, you probably need to arrange a pickup at Mt Donald McLean. For the elderly and stout, coming back down the Fletcher, or the extremely steep descent of the Karamatura track is not advisable in wet weather or if you're tired and/or without sticks
Fatman time, (fit version) from bottom of Fletcher to top, 2hr 30m
Note. About half way up you will reach a point where the track at first seems to attempt an almost vertical 6-7m scramble from root to root. Lots of smooth roots and footstep placings to convince you so. Don't even think about it. To the right, is what looks as if it might be the remains of an old track, and may be, but it's still impassable. The "real" track heads off about 3m back on the left, still a moderate clamber, but no serious problems.
75. Tom Thumb Track: From Karamatura Track, track crosses Karamatura Stream (unsafe when in flood), then ascends steeply to lead around bluffs with views of Manukau Harbour. Track continues over fairly even ground then climbs to meet Twin Peaks Track beside 'Tom Thumb' Kauri and steep section of Twin Peaks Track. 1.6km 40 minutes.
76. Tom Thumb By-Pass Track: Between Tom Thumb Track and Twin Peaks Track, track by-passes the 'Tom Thumb' Kauri and steep section of Twin Peaks Track. 600m 15 minutes.
77. Goat Hill Track: From 'Tom Thumb' Kauri on Twin Peaks Track, track ascends steeply to top of Goat Hill; views of Manukau Harbour and Huia Valley. 200m 30 minutes return.
78. Walker Ridge Track: From junction of Donald McLean Track and Huia Ridge Track, track follows undulating ridge to junction of Gibbons Track and Muir Track; several steep sections. 2.8km 1 hour 30 minutes.
Fatman time 2 hrs 50 m. Highly variable track. One steep section that requires care and one step at a time progress, and likely to be worse in wet weather or after recent heavy rain. No formed track, just a space between trees, heavily rutted in places, and you need to pay attention, but no serious vices.
Major issue is that you will have walked at least 45 minutes to reach this track, and you will have about a couple of hours to go after you get to the end of it, if you go in our direction, from Donald McLean Track to Gibbons Track.
We walked Donald McLean and Gibbons Track in ARC times on the same day. ARC estimate seems wildly out, even when our time includes a lunch break.
79. Gibbons Track: From 100m along northern beach access beside campground fenceline, track ascends to cliff-top where it follows old logging road with good views; then veers inland to junction of Muir Track and Walker Ridge Track. 3.2km 2 hours.
Alison Dench and LeeAnne Parore in their valuable book Walking the Waitakere Ranges, graded this track as "Hard". Maybe when the book was written, and maybe still in bad weather, but not the day we walked it. Fletcher and Karamatura Tracks would be much better candidates. The slog up from Whatipu is steep in places, and certainly longish, but mostly not too much of a problem if you adjust your pace to suit.
Since the book was written ARC have done extensive work providing side drainage on the steep section, and this has preserved a track surface that might otherwise have deteriorated badly after rain.
We approached this walk from the other end via Walker Ridge Track. Much easier, I would imagine, going our way, which is a gentle descent most of the way with a steepish drop near Whatipu. Path surface on the whole good in dry weather, but subject to shallow/deep vee problems and would be slippery in wet weather.
There is a small area of track where those with height issues may appreciate a warning. Track runs for a few metres along the edge of a considerable drop, but ample width for most people to cope.
Fatman time, including photographs, 2 hrs.
80. Odlin Timber Track: From parking area on Lone Kauri Road. track descends to cross Pararaha Stream, then ascends over saddle, across Cowan Stream and up long spur to Walker Ridge Track at Orange Peel Corner. 2.8km 2 hours.
81. Ian Wells Track: From Piha Road track follows old access road to the (now empty) Nihotupu Auxiliary Dam, then narrows and continues with some muddy patches and stream crossings to meet Cutty Grass Track. 2.4km 1 hour.
Fatman time a little over two hours including stops for photographs, and just over the hour on the trip back, no photos and downhill. This track is marked "For experienced trampers only" but all I could see that merited such a description were three stream crossings one of which involved, for this elderly and stout person, walking through the 250mm deep stream and getting my boots wet. One of the others requires that you be able to leap about a metre, or alternatively walk through about 250mm of water. A supermarket plastic bag or two and a bit of duct tape would probably keep the inside of your boots dry.
The track is relatively level, but there is a stretch of about 150-200m in the middle which is quite boggy and could get much worse in winter, as could several other sections of this track. I'd recommend hiking poles to cope with slippery or muddy conditions. [Information from elsewhere suggests that in wet conditions, walking some sections of the track is more accurately described as wading.]
Some interesting plant communities, quite dissimilar to the bush across the Piha Rd and around the Upper Nihotupu Dam
82. Destruction Gully Track. From Whatipu Road, metalled track leads to seat and lookout. Unmetalled track then follows spur before descending steeply to stream which it follows to the sea, past harbour beacons. 1.2km 45 minutes. Last section before the beach is extremely steep and requires some agility (info from Miranda).
83. Pararaha Valley Track: Starting behind large sand dune at entrance to Pararaha Valley, track follows northern bank of Pararaha Stream, fording the stream to junction of Muir Track by a grassy area and shelter. 1.1km 20 minutes.
Boardwalk inclined to be submerged in wet weather. Track fairly rutted in some areas, deeper than it is wide.
84. Muir Track: From Pararaha Valley Track by large grassy clearing and shelter, steep track ascends around a rocky outcrop and up a tributary valley to meet Gibbons Track and Walker Ridge Track 1.2km 45 minutes.
According to reports I have had there may be height/vertigo issues for some people on part of this track. I have not walked this track myself.
85. Buck Taylor Track: From carpark on Lone Kauri Road, track climbs to gate; then continues down ridge, dropping steeply to meet Pararaha Valley Track beside Waihuna Stream. 1.8km 45 minutes.
Walked this one in early December, 2007, from Zion Hill Track junction to Lone Kauri Rd, when it should have been dry if it was going to be and it wasn't particularly. Variable surface, at times a bit of a scramble, the climb up from or descent to Pararaha Valley probably rules it out for most of the elderly and stout, unless general fitness and in particular knee and ankle stabiliser muscles are in good shape.
86. Zion Hill Track: From picnic area along Pohutukawa Glade Walk, track ascends steeply to Zion Hill and descends gently on the other side crossing Waihuna Stream to meet Buck Taylor Track. 3.6km 1 hour 20 minutes.
We missed out the steep ascent from Karekare, and joined from Zion Ridge Track. Pleasant but demanding track and probably don't even think about it in wet weather. Surface likely to be exceptionally greasy. That said, in dry weather a good workout, with some great views.
87. Horoeka Track: From Piha Road, track descends steep spur to Karekare Road beside Karekare Stream bridge; views of lower Karekare Valley and West Coast. 1.4km 30 minutes.
88. Zion Ridge Track: From Buck Taylor Track, track follows along level ridge and meets Zion Hill Track on Zion Hill. 1.4km 40 minutes.
Pleasant walk along wide and generally easy track. In wet weather likely too muddy to consider.
90. Ahu Ahu Track: From Te Ahu Ahu Road, track follows old bridle path on a steeply graded descent. Lower portion of track follows a mown trail that leads to sandy saddle behind The Watchman at Karekare. 2.2km 1 hour.
91. Comans Track: From Ahu Ahu Track, track (rocky and steep in places) follows cliff-top above Mercer Bay with excellent views, then descends very steeply to saddle behind The Watchman. 1.4km 1 hour.
92. Mercer Bay Loop Walk: From parking area by site of World War II radar station (now a navigation beacon) at end of Log Race Rd, metalled walk passes through regenerating bush and leads around Takatu Head with views over Piha and the Tasman Sea. A mown track then descends along cliff-top to Te Ahua Point above Mercer Bay. Walk loops back then climbs steadily up small valley to gate on south side of Log Race Road parking area. A short branch tracks joins Te Ahua Point with Ahu Ahu Track. 1.4km 1 hour 30 minutes round trip.
Ample parking area. We did this one clockwise, and we suggest you do too, starting at the gate.
There are some moderate height issues, but the immediate vegetation is so dense that the track would be difficult to fall off, and doubtful areas are well fenced. There has been one recent death when a woman standing on the very edge of the cliff, beyond the safety fence, for a photo opportunity, missed her footing.
A good track to practice height de-sensitisation on. A small side track leads to a seat on the steepish hillside with wonderful views out.
ARC time estimate is weird. Without hurrying, and taking plenty of time to take photos and to get used to its high places, we still finished in under an hour.
93. Cave Rock Track: Steep track leads off to the left at the beginning of Pohutukawa Glade and winds uphill to the top of bluffs above a Maori shelter cave. Views over Karekare. 250m 40 minutes return.
94. La Trobe Track: From Lone Kauri Road, down a metalled access road, track starts on the right and follows along ridge between Company and Karekare Streams; track eventually descends steeply the north side of the ridge across Murdoch Stream and winds down to Karekare Road, 100m north of parking area. 3km 1 hour 30 minutes.
Short branch track en route leads to Werera viewpoint with panoramic views over Karekare and upper Karekare Valley.
95. Kitekite Track: An easy, level metalled track from carpark at end of Glen Esk Road, follows Glen Esk Stream then forks. Track branching right ascends medium steep spur, edges around the valley slopes (good views!. and descends steps to foot of Kitekite Falls. This part of track is in impeccable condition. It's a walking track, not a tramping track. Take your grandmother and a pram, as far as the falls viewing point, at any rate. Track branching left crosses stream them climbs steeply up kauri covered spur with steps to foot of falls. 1.8km 45 minutes.
Fatman time for loop including snack and taking lots of photos, about 2 hours
96. Kauri Grove Track: Track leaves Piha Road and traverses remnant kauri forest; continues around headwaters of Glen Esk Stream and descends easily to Ussher Cross, then to top of Kitekite Falls, beside site of old driving dam; it then crosses stream to meet Connect Track. 3km 1 hour 15 minutes.
97. Winstone Track: Easy, metalled track leaves Piha Road, just before Karekare Road turnoff and descends to Ussher Cross (30 minutes); continues across Glen Esk Stream, climbs a ridge and continues up gentle grade along south side of ridge through young kauri groves to meet Home Track. 2km 1 hour total.
If you look carefully you will indeed find traces of gravel embedded in the surface of the track as a reminder of its early history, but as far as todays's walker is concerned, we have a hard, somewhat greasy clay and rock surface in a shallow V, which immediately after rain would be likely be quite treacherous. On the other side of the stream, crossed on stepping stones, on the way up to Home Track junction the track sidles for some distance up a ridge, and is narrow and root-ridden, slippery and often boggy, with many areas of track partially collapsed down the bank below, though an earlier (summer) walk found it much friendlier. Fatman Time 1hr 10 m
98. Home Track: From parking area on Piha Road, track follows along gently descending ridge (muddy in places), before a final steep descent to end of Glen Esk Road, 3.8km 1 hour 30 minutes.
We were crazy. We finished the Kitekite Loop with excess energy, dumped our packs in the van and decided to do the Home-Winstones-Connect-Kitekite circuit with just cameras and waterbottles. We walked the first part of the loop from Glen Esk Rd to Winstone Track uphill along the Home Track. Pleasant and varied walking but steep. We recommend you don't try it unless you have at least some hill-training under your belt and the weather is dry, or alternatively, like sensible people, you have dual transport arranged, start at the top at Piha Rd and work your way down to Glen Esk Rd. Upper reaches of the Home track become very muddy and boggy in winter.
PS Poles are good ...
On a recent trip, in October 2007, we walked the section between Winstone and Centennial Tracks, and found it extremely boggy
99. Marguerite Track: Links Home Track with Kauri Grove Track. En route, track crosses two streams in headwaters of Glen Esk Valley and edges around intervening spurs with some mature kauri. 2.3km 1 hour 30 minutes.
Pleasant and varied walking though somewhat demanding at times of agility. Very winding and up and down over short distances, and much longer than the mapped route suggests. Fatman time 2hr 20 min to junction with Lucy Cranwell Track
100. Centennial Track: From McElwain Loop Walk, track leads to high rock bluff. From this point, track descends a series of rock steps and continues around several small valleys down to Black Rock Dam on Piha Stream (30 minutes). Track crosses stream, then climbs steeply to Home Track. 3km 2 hours total.
Fatman time for this including photo time, about 1hr 15m from Anawhata Rd to Black Rock Dam. A bit of an adventure, especially once the track begins to descend, quite steeply, and the views out become increasingly spectacular for a bit and the path becomes increasingly narrow for a bit, with just a well placed single rail fence to steady oneself on. I do have height issues still, from time to time, but this wasn't one of them. There was just a sense of "Wow!" Some agility is required on the steeper sections.
Varied and interesting vegetation and terrain, but I probably wouldn't wish to attempt this section uphill. On the day I walked this section I went on from Black Rock Dam down the Piha Valley Track and up the McKenzie and Quarry Tracks — just as much climbing, but longer and a bit gentler, though the McKenzie Track is still a bit of a haul.
The first time we walked this track we joined it from the Forbes track. We reached the stream, about 100 metres down, and headed off up what seemed like the obvious continuation of the track, on the bank directly opposite. Obviously it wasn't. This mistake took us up a poison line, and on a 100 unit scale, this was one unit short of bush crashing. The track was just visible, very steep, very overgrown, and frequently involved hands and knees scrambling and pulling yourself up by grabbing hold of tree roots. It emerged south of Marguerite Track. Exhilarating and stretched us to our limits. Great that we could manage it, but, still, a mistake.
So, once you've crossed the stream, make sure you find the right track up. It's not signposted. The Centennial Track is the one closest to the old kauri dam.
From the junction with Piha Valley Track, the Centennial Track makes its way up to Home Track. The initial 50m or so is quite steep, and then the grade flattens slightly, though consistently uphill. Varied, interesting and attractive bush, and a track which was at times 6kph grade and at others, one foot placement at a time.
101. Piha Valley Track: From carpark at end of Glen Esk Road, easy, level track follows bank of Piha Stream past McKenzie Track junction to a fork (30 minutes): left hand branch leads upstream into the lower end of the Piha Gorge while main track makes a steep ascent to Centennial Track, a short distance above Black Rock Dam. 2.2km 1 hour 30 minutes total.
Pleasant walking. Flat and level as far as the McKenzie Track junction and a little past that, before heading off steeply uphill. There is at present a track gang at work, resurfacing the track up the ridge and building somewhere around 280 steps to take you more comfortably to the top. If you head down to Black Rock Dam, take care. It's extremely steep and not at all easy going unless you're reasonably agile.
We managed the distance between Glen Esk and the end of the track in a little over 45 minutes, not stopping for photos on this occasion.
102. McKenzie Track: From small clearing on Piha Valley Track, track ascends, steeply in places, to a ridge which it follows to McKenzie Junction; views of Piha Valley. 1.1km 45 minutes.
Strenuous but enjoyable. Inclined to be muddy here and there, especially after rain. Here again, sticks provide valuable assistance. On a clear day, views are magnificent once the bush thins out along the top ridge. Follow arrows across stream from the Piha Valley track.
103. Pole Line Track: From small parking area on Anawhata Road, track leads to McKenzie Junction, along level section of former power line route. 800m 20 minutes.
Mostly perambulator friendly or at worst neutral, and this in late May when almost everywhere is a bit sloppy. From McKenzie Junction a gentle uphill stretch, mostly at least 3m wide and benched, back to the Anawhata Rd. Maybe about 20m when the perambulator might have some difficulty. If you started this from McElwain Loop, you've now got a kilometre or so of the winding gravel Anawhata Rd to traverse, uphill, back to the car. In May, very few cars around. In summer, likely a different matter.
104. Quarry Track: From McElwain Loop Walk, undulating track leads to McKenzie Junction. 1.1km 25 minutes.
Three parts. First, from McElwain Loop is charmingly benevolent; second, a steepish and slippery descent down a clay track deformed by water erosion needs one foot at a time care from the elderly and stout, then levels off for bottom section to McKenzie Junction.
105. Forbes Track: From Centennial Track, just upstream from Black Rock Dam, track ascends very steeply to ridge and follows gently undulating route around the head of a tributary of the Piha Stream, then ascends to Quarry Track near McKenzie Junction. 1.1km 45 minutes.
We walked this one from the top down, reaching McKenzie Junction via Piha Valley Track and McKenzie Track. Probably best to avoid this after any decent rainfall as it's steep enough to be extremely slippery. Not one I'd recommend for the elderly and stout unless you have a a fair degree of residual fitness and your knee and ankle stabiliser muscles are in good shape. I wouldn't have managed without poles — the descent would have been too steep in a couple of places — and it helped that I had not long finished a tramping holiday in the South Island. The central section of track is narrow and somewhat tunnel like for much of the time, but pleasant walking.
106. Taraire Track: Leaves Lone Kauri Road, 100m up road from bridge adjacent to Karekare parking area, and leads to picnic area at foot of Karekare Falls (5 minutes); from here track climbs steeply to spur alongside Opal Pool Stream, crossing saddle and Company Stream for final ascent to La Trobe Track. The track passes through one of the largest groves of taraire in the Waitakere Ranges. 900m 30 minutes total.
107. Maungaroa Ridge Track: From McKenzie Junction, track follows undulating ridge between Piha and Wekatahi Streams to Maungaroa Lookout Track. 2.2km 45 minutes.
A pleasant and relaxing walk, especially if you've arrived at McKenzie Junction via Forbes or McKenzie Track. Track mainly downhill at first, broad and gentle, but quite badly scoured by water in places and some agility needed for the elderly and stout to negotiate these areas if they are slippery from recent rain. There are some sharpish uphill sections, mainly quite brief and not at all difficult, followed by longer downhill stretches. The route back to Glen Esk Rd via Maungaroa Lookout Track, however, is considerably more demanding
108. Maungaroa Lookout Track: From midway along Glen Esk Road, track leads across Piha Stream and ascends very steeply to Maungaroa Ridge. Near the top a short branch leads to Kitenui Lookout and, just beyond junction with Maungaroa Ridge Track, a second branch track goes to Maungaroa Trig for views over Piha. The main track winds steeply down other side of ridge, crossing Wekatahi Stream twice and passes into Nikau Grove Walk. 1.9km 1 hour 15 minutes.
109. Pohutukawa Glade Walk: The walk leaves Lone Kauri Road across bridge adjacent to Karekare parking area; passes through grassy picnic areas along level sandy track and out over dunes at the south end of Karekare Beach. Part of walk may be covered in water during wet periods. 500m 10 minutes.
110. White Track: From Anawhata Road, track follows level driveway then branches left to descend steeply with some steps along east side of cliff-top to meet Marawhara Walk at stream. 1.3km 45 minutes.
111. Marawhara Walk: From small parking area beside second bridge on North Piha Road, an easy graded walk leads to a grassy picnic area beside Marawhara Stream. 600m 10 minutes.
112. Nikau Grove Walk: A level, metalled walk from end of Garden Road passes through a grove of nikau beside Wekatahi Stream and meets Maungaroa Lookout Track at the first stream crossing. 580m 10 minutes.
113. Rose Track: From Anawhata Road, track descends steeply down private concrete driveway, branches right just before Rose's cottage, then descends to Whites Beach, (20 minutes). Track continues from northern corner of beach and ascends steeply over point to Fisherman Rock Point. 700m one way total 2 hours return.
114. McElwain Loop Walk: From opposite parking area along Anawhata Road, walk leads uphill along easy grade to wooden lookout platform with steps (15 minutes), giving views of Upper Piha Valley and coast to Muriwai. Walk then descends easily on opposite side to Quarry Track, then turns left to return to Anawhata Rd. 1km 40 min total
Or vice versa. Relatively straightforward walking with few vices. Starts out as level benched gravelled track with a drain on either side a la Montana Trail, but reverts to narrower tramping track in short order. Some good views down the valley and the lookout is grand. We did notice broken auto glass in the gravel at the carpark, so security is obviously a factor here. Fatman time about an hour (including photographs).
115. Anawhata Beach Track: From end of Anawhata Road, track passes down driveway then branches off right to become a steep, metalled track down small valley, finally crossing dune to south end of Anawhata Beach. 700m one way 1 hour return.
116. Waitakere Dam Walk: From large parking area on Scenic Drive, walk follows driveway down to the Waitakere Dam. A short branch midway down leads to a 7m girth kauri. 1.4km 30 minutes.
If it wasn't for the long climb back up from the dam you'd describe this one as "perambulator-friendly". (Or skateboard friendly.) Tar seal, and bordered by a generous lawn strip and landscaped native plants all the way down. Rata is a brilliant feature in flower. From the dam you can head right along the Waitakere Tramway, or cross the dam to the Fenceline Track going left to Simla or right to the Falls Rd Carpark.
Note: Now that the new "Montana" version of the Fence Line Track between Waitakere and Simla has been completed this provides an excellent alternative to a walk along the tramway and back
117. Lion Rock Track: From beach near the Lion's tail, track ascends up his back to a grassy lookout on his shoulders. 110m one way 30 minutes return.
118. Arthur Mead Track: From Piha Road, track descends steeply to Karekare Stream. 600m 20 minutes.
119. Sharp Bush Track: From Mountain Road level metalled track leads to a kauri grove (5 minutes). Track then descends steeply one side of ridge and follows old bulldozed road, then fords Stoney Creek to meet Opanuku Road. 1.2km 20 minutes total. (Fatman time 80 minutes there and back, time for photos included.)
Unless you've got two cars, you'll be walking this one both ways. I suggest you start at Opanuku Rd end where there is a small carpark across the road from the track entrance. Stream crossing is straightforward, with usable stepping stones. I saw no sign of the bulldozed road, and apart from one short set of steps, and even then, I'd hesitate to describe any part of the track as especially steep. Muddy in places, but mostly easy walking. On the whole, somewhat scruffy. A variety of vegetation, but, the kauri aside, not an especially memorable walk. I used it as an early morning warm up for the Fairy Falls circuit via Goodfellow Track, which is memorable.
120. Hettig Track: From Anawhata Road, opposite Chateau Mosquito Track entrance, track descends steeply with some steps, then follows valley floor over rough, sometimes indistinct route to Marawhara Stream at site of old dam. 500m 20 minutes.
NB: Extreme caution required when going downstream from here.
121. Byers Walk: Easy level walk crosses footbridge at end of Glen Esk Road and follows Glen Esk Stream past picnic area through groves of ponga and nikau, to footbridge crossing stream to join Kitekite Track. A second footbridge connects Kitekite Track and Byers Walk near the picnic area. 400m 15 minutes. Parts of it remind me of the last day of the Heaphy, minus the tree nettles. Sandy track, pleasant shady walking, with one magnificent spiral rata to be dwarfed alongside.
122. Connect Track: Track connects Winstone Track with Kitekite Track near Kitekite Falls. 300m 20 minutes. Medium - steep grade, pretty much downhill from Winstone Track. Could get quite slippery in wet conditions. Reminded me a bit of the West Tunnelmouth Track - basically there to join up two tracks. In it's own right, nothing special.
123. Tasman Lookout Track: Steep track with some steps ascends cliffs at south end of Piha Beach. At the top, a short branch to the right leads to lookout point over Piha and Taitomo Island. Track continues around cliff-top to second lookout overlooking The Gap. 600m 40 minutes return .
124. Monument Track: From parking area at end of Cornwallis Road, track leads through pines and regenerating bush up to Mclachlan Monument. 200m 20 minutes return.
125. Cowan Track: From Piha Road, track descends over uneven ground, deeply rutted with roots, to bridge on Kauri Grove Track. 200m 10 minutes.
126. Laird Thomson Track: From north end of Piha Beach, track ascends steeply to saddle of Te Waha Point. A short side branch to the left leads to lookout with views of Piha and Whites Beach (5 min). Main track continues from Te Waha Point saddle up ridge and along short length of private drive to Rose Track. 600m 35 minutes.
127. Ferndown Track: From parking area at Pope-Godley Reserve (off Opanuku Road), track crosses stream to grassy area then enters regenerating bush and follows descending ridge to end of Grassmere Rd. 2.2km 45 minutes.
The grassy area referred to is some little distance on, and the track continues to climb for some distance thereafter. Muddy and stony patches, and some wading through long (wet) grass, but generally good underfoot. Slippery after recent rain. Some lush ferns to be seen. Unless you've organised dual transport, this is a 4.4km round trip. Allow at least 2 hrs there and back, fatman time, with more for taking photos. Well worth a look.
128. Puriri Ridge Track: Starting 20m from carpark along Donald McLean Track, track circuits valley basin then follows undulating ridge, with good views, down to Whatipu Road. 2km 45 minutes.
We started from the Whatipu Rd end and walked up to Mt Donald McLean. One steepish climb near the middle of the track, and one section about 5m long of somewhat exposed ridge but not too fearsome given my known loathing of heights. Wonderfully varied bush to walk through, and given the amount of mud in the Waitakeres in May, hardly any at all to be seen, and nothing remotely boggy - the last three walks in the Waitaks have seen me in mud over ankle deep at times. Recommended.
129. Waitoru Reserve Track: In an anticlockwise direction from small carpark on Bethells Road, loop track marked with red discs ascends easily through young podocarp forest to a high point. Track then descends to a point near farmland, and eventually back to the carpark. 1km 45 minutes.
NB: The Waitoru Reserve, owned by Waitakere City Council and jointly managed by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society and Waitakere Ranges Protection Society, features fine stands of rimu and kahikatea.
130. Jubilee Walk: From bus parking area, off Pine Avenue, easy walk follows coast cliffs and rejoins Pine Avenue near park gate. Walk continues across road and follows easy grade to car parking area at the end of Pine Ave. 1.8km 1 hour 15 minutes.
131. Houghton Track: From Lake Wainamu Track, track ascends steeply up spur to main ridge; then climbs gradually to junction of Smyth Ridge Track, Kuataika Track and Wainamu Bush Track. 2.1km 1 hour.
132. Lake Wainamu Track: From carpark on Bethells Road, by bridge crossing Waiti Stream, track follows this shallow stream along easy grade to lake Wainamu outlet, then skirts around lake, and crosses Wainamu Stream by a small waterfall. Track continues further around lake to boundary fence. 4km 1 hour 15 minutes.
133. Upper Huia Dam Track: [Experienced Trampers Only] From carpark on Piha Road, track follows line of old dam construction tram line. Several small stream crossings. First reservoir views not far from dam. 4km 1 hour 30 minutes.
Recommend you walk this track after a prolonged dry spell. This will remove the necessity for lifejackets, water wings, etc in boggy patches. The lower parts of this track are up there with Ian Wells in the "wettest track in the Waitaks" championship.
Yes, it may follow the old tram line in that none of the gradients involved is at all steep, but the track has degraded considerably since then, is narrow and rocky in places and one of the most severely rootridden I have encountered in the Waitakeres.
Mostly the gradient is eminently manageable with two or three scrambly bits getting into and out of streams, but there were very few parts of the track where you could set your foot without looking first. It's pretty much downhill all the way to the dam and uphill all the way back. ARC time is 90 minutes. Fatman time was 2 hr 15m down and an extra 15 minutes on the way back, plus lunch at the dam.
Several cuttings and part of the concrete foundations of an old bridge are all that remain to suggest a tramway might ever have been there. Here and there are the remains of old wooden pedestrian bridges super-covered in moss, but they are long gone and not replaced.
Without being as thoroughly bloody as the Onepoto-Panekiri trek on the Waikaremoana track, this one will nevertheless ask a few questions, as the cricket commentators say, and at the end of the day you will have very few unexercised muscles. But it will be a tired but happy feeling as they used to say in school essays when I was marking them forty years ago.
134. Nugget Track: Track climbs from Upper Huia Dam through tall stands of kauri and podocarp forest to meet Huia Ridge Track. Some steep and slippery sections. 2km 1 hour.
135. Christies Track: Drops steadily beside gully from Summit Track near western end of Upper Nihotupu Dam. Some muddy patches. Crosses Huia Stream just before final short climb to Huia Dam Road. 1.8km 1 hour 15 minutes.
We walked this one uphill from the Huia Dam Road. Our time 2hr 30 approximately. First half relatively friendly. Second half steeper and extremely muddy — along some parts of track there were boggy areas where the hiking poles sank in more than 30cm. Much of it requires step by step placement of feet and astute use of hiking poles to avoid falling. Fallen trees a regular issue.
136. Hamilton Track: Climbs gently from Crusher Pipe Track to cross Summit Track (35 minutes). Continues down into Nihotupu catchment with great views, and large kauri trees to Nihotupu Dam Road end. 2.8km 1 hour 25 minutes total.
Note. The 1:50000 series topo sheets does not show Hamilton Track between Summit Track Junction and Crusher Pipe Track. Instead it shows Telephone Track heading across to Huia Dam Road. Telephone Track no longer exists. We walked the section of Hamilton Track from Summit Track to Crusher Pipe Road. Far from the 35 minutes listed here, and coming downhill, we took a minute over the hour. Muddy, slippery and in your face most of the time. Fallen trees across the track a regular issue.
137. Summit Track: Follows sharp ridge from western end of Upper Nihotupu Dam to cross Hamilton Track (40 minutes). Track then climbs steeply at first then steadily to meet Nihotupu Ridge Track. 2.6km 1 hour 40 minutes total.
The first section, from Upper Nihotupu Dam to Hamilton Track took us approximately 1hr 20, or about twice the ARC time. Pleasant "up high" track, relatively straightforward, though somewhat muddy and slippery. Great views here and there. Down hill from the summit, but undulating. Second section still to do.
138. Nihotupu Dam Road: Section of private Watercare Services road open to pedestrian public, from Pipeline Track to Hamilton Track. 1.3km 20 minutes.
139. Incline Track: From Nihotupu Dam Road wide track crosses Nihotupu Stream then climbs steadily, then very steeply to meet grassy track bypassing Hauler Tunnel on Nihotupu Tramline. Large, squat kauri marks top of track. Surface slippery to boggy in most places after rain. 800m 30 minutes.
The track between Scenic Drive and the Hauler Tunnel, along the Nihotupu Railway, is un-named and missing from the ARC notes, but if you're coming from the Scenic Drive to the Incline Track to descend it, this is the route. It's pleasant level walking in lush surroundings, ideal for a family outing or stroll.
140. Pipeline Track: Wide track branches off Pipeline Road to junction of Slip Track (2 minutes). Track then narrows and continues over undulating ground crossing wooden bridge above Nihotupu Stream just before reaching Nihotupu Dam Road. 900m 25 minutes.
The "undulating ground referred to above includes a stream crossing beside the remains of an old bridge. This involves a steep climb/scramble down one clay/sandstone bank and up the other, with steps that are worn and some distance apart. It might be a useful project at some stage for the ARC to reinstate the bridge. The stream crossing took me to the limits of my agility, especially given my size, and carrying a heavy pack. The rest of the track is straightforward, though one I'd avoid after rain. Boggy patches are still present some time after significant rain.
141. Slip Track: Wide track climbs steeply from Pipeline Track, reducing in width till it reaches an open grassy area and small ditch (20 minutes). [Give the man a TUI] Track narrows after ditch and continues climbing, crossing Nihotupu Tramline to meet Scenic Dr. 900m 25 minutes total The first part is an old vehicle track, surfaced with gravel ranging in diameter from 1-30cm, steep, but firm underfoot and quite easily manageable with pauses for breath. The small ditch referred to is about 2 metres deep with steeply sloping sides and worn niches for your feet about 50cm apart vertically. The uphill side is equipped with a good set of steps.
As the wide track we have been following till now heads off for some distance to the right, and there is no signpost, there may be some doubt about the correct route. I had not seen a track change personality so suddenly, until we reached the railway, when it got even worse and turned into the track from hell, being for me, 124 kg, with a full 18kg training pack, more of a scramble straight up the side of a steep slope, than a tramp, hauling myself up from tree to tree with one hand and pushing from behind with a hiking pole. I was thankful my knees and ankles had had some good practice on the Home Track and the Cascade Track.
142. Te Henga-Goldie Bush Walkway: From carpark a short distance off Bethells Road, track crosses Waitakere River and proceeds towards the sea, climbing steadily to skirt around headland to the back of O'Neill Bay. Track then climbs steeply to cliff-top and follows coastal cliffs before ascending a ridge to Constable Road. 8km 4 hours.
NB: Closed for lambing 1 August - 1 October.
Track recommences 500m north along Constable Road at Motutara Scenic Reserve, and descends to Mokoroa Stream where track forks. Left fork follows stream up to Mokoroa Falls. (Route is difficult to follow and is recommended for experienced trampers only.) Right fork crosses stream, then climbs, steeply at first, to Mokoroa Falls Track just before Horseman Road. 4.5km 3 hours.
Miranda walked a circuit from Constable Road (Muriwai end) to Horsman Rd to Mokoroa Falls and back to Constable Road via the Mokoroa Stream Track. I was busy and walked in later to meet her at the junction of the Goldie Bush and Mokoroa Stream Tracks.
Message is, from Miranda, if you're elderly and stout, don't even think about Mokoroa Stream Track. This is an "Experienced Trampers Only" route at the high end of difficulty. (Some ETOs, like the Ian Wells Track, are a relative breeze.)
I'm relatively fit but I'd also need to be about 40 kg lighter and agile to boot with much better balance than I have. Most certainly, even those otherwise suited should not try this during or immediately after heavy rain.
The route involves a good number of stream crossings on rocks that are very slippery. There are several passages that involve climbing slanting rock faces for a few metres and maneuvering along them on cut footsteps and back down again into the river. In one place the original path appears to have collapsed.
Overall, nothing hugely dangerous, but a drop of 2-3 metres into waist deep water is something you want to do when you want to do it, not when there isn't a lot of choice. Miranda is quite sure-footed and still found the track quite challenging, though she was carrying a 14kg training pack.
I found the track from Constable Rd into the junction and out again a nice stretch. There's a few hundred metres of gentle downhill through scrub on a rutted clay track, then a prolonged steep downwards jaunt through relatively open bush with some wonderful kauri.
The track is friendly enough, though in wet weather it would be quite slippery given the general steepness. The return climb will test your knees and calves, and certainly get your heart rate over 120 for the prescribed twenty minutes. I took it gently and evenly with only a few stops for a breather.
I intend to tackle the Constable-Horsmans return, omitting the Mokoroa sections, in the next week or two. The coastal section is probably more suited to overcast and slightly cooler weather, being out in the open a good deal.
NB: This track is part of a proposed system of NZ Walkways administered by the Department of Conservation. As parts of the walkway pass through private land, and are open to the public through the goodwill of owners, walkers are requested to respect the owners' property and farm animals. Dogs are not permitted.
143. Kura Track: From a bridge (250m before Whatipu Lodge), track follows markers across farmland. Track enters bush and meanders alongside Whatipu Stream for 40 minutes then climbs in progressive steps to meet Puriri Ridge Track. 3.6km 1 hour 45 minutes.
144. Manukau Timber Company Heritage Trail: Orange trail markers. Starts at carpark beside Huia Settlers Museum (interpretive panel), and follows fenceline to foreshore. Crosses farm, rising to gate on bush edge, then descends to beach (Hinge Bay). Follows grass terrace westwards, then rises to a junction. Takes right hand fork and emerges on Huia Rd. Passes through small gate and crosses paddock back to start. 900m 25 minutes.
145. Telephone Track. No longer exists. This is shown on the 1:50000 series topographic map extending from the junction of Hamilton Track and Summit Track in a straight line to meet Huia Dam Road just south of the intersection with Christies Track. It no longer exists, though it is possible to see where it used to leave Huia Dam Rd. It has obviously been left to revert. Hamilton Track, which used to end at Summit Track junction, now continues, at first along the route of the former Telephone Track then swings around in a long curve to the left to meet Crusher Pipe Track about 50 m from it's junction with Smith's Road. (Smith's Rd is not named on the Topo map but is shown as a secondary road following the course of Smith's Stream)