28 January 2006
Karamatura Loop Track
This is located opposite the Huia museum on the north head of the Manukau Harbour. From Titirangi, take the Huia Rd and continue 15-16 km. Turn right a few metres before the museum to a parking area about 100m in from the road. It's a very small part of the huge network of Waitakere tramping and walking tracks.
The estimated time for this track is 1 hour, but as usual, stopping for photos and so forth along the way increased the time for us to 90 minutes. The overall distance is about 2.3 km.
For the most part the track is benched and easy going, but here and there, on the return trip, steepish bits are more eroded and uneven and tree roots need to be negotiated. If you are feeling like moaning, though, check out the Fletcher track running off the Loop track shortly after the start. Now that is a tramping track as opposed to a walking track.
I recommend you do the loop anticlockwise, for a longer but gentler climb and a steepish descent.
(Do remember to make allowances for vertical and horizontal scale differences when looking at the profile)
From the outset it is obvious that exotic plants are a much more in your face feature of this walk than many other bush walks. In particular the Mexican Daisy, (Erigeron karvinskianus), has infiltrated almost everywhere, and Argentine pampas grass is a regular feature along the banks of the stream
Along the edge of the creek, the path is excellent, with pungas providing a feature.
I spot a pigeonwood (Hedycarya arborea, porokaiwhiri, kaiwhiri ) - well, I reckon that's what it is. That's a new one I can now recognise after a bushwalk with Tony Foster at Totara North. (Hedy=sweet; carya=nut-bearing; arborea=tree-like)
The stream is rocky, with a number of swimming holes along it, well patronised by family groups.
This rock is nearly a metre across. It has crashed down from up top and demolished the drain across the path.
The general area is moist and parataniwha (Elatostema rugosum) is everywhere along the track. [From the Greek "elatos" (driving or striking), and "stema" (stamen), referring to the stamens springing up. "Rugosum" refers to the leaves and means "wrinkled"]
Thanks to Tony, I also recognise this little fellow, a cousin of the kawakawa as can be seen by the flower, though the leaf is nothing like. This is Peperomia urvilleana, and it likes to grow on rotting wood and on wet banks. Typically it is small - about 300-400 mm in height.
[Peperomia from Greek “peperi”, pepper and “homoros”, closely resembling, because of the plant’s similarity to the genus “Piper”; "urvilleana" refers to Dumont D'Urville, a French linguist and botanist who visited New Zealand a number of times in the 1820s, completing much of Cooks navigational charting, and collecting many botanical specimens.
Time to head back, or go on for ever.
Another look at the waterfall.