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21 April 2007

McKenzie Track

page 1

The McKenzie Track runs from Piha Valley Track to McKenzie Junction. We chose this route today with the intention that it stretch us a little, and we certainly got that.

Assuming you are going to tackle this track from the bottom up, leave your car in the carpark at the end of Glen Esk Rd at Piha, and 15-20 minutes along the Piha Valley track you will find on the left across the stream the junction with McKenzie Track.

Alternatively you can make your way to McKenzie Junction from the Anawhata Rd by any of several routes and head down McKenzie Track and out to Glen Esk Rd. You will need to organise transport at the other end.

Alternatively again, you can follow Piha Valley Track to its junction with Centennial Track and from there walk up Forbes Track to Quarry Track and then McKenzie Junction and return home via McKenzie Track. There are myriad possibilities in the network of intersecting tracks at the back of Piha.

This track is probably manageable for the elderly and stout - I have done it after all - provided you have a useful degree of fitness, especially in your legs and shoulders as they will be doing a lot of work, and depending on any other walking you do immediately beforehand.

It's not a walking track, it's definitely a tramping track, and good boots will be an asset. Sticks are essential if you're hauling as much weight as I am.

photo by miranda woodward getting her own back

Wonderful views towards the top. To tell you the truth I surprised myself today. I have more fitness left over from the South Island trip than I'd given myself credit for, (and thanks to a navigational error I needed all of it.) But we were well-prepared and we had plenty of time up our sleeves.

Our loop for today took us up Piha Valley Track to McKenzie Track, up McKenzie Track to McKenzie Junction, along Quarry Track for a few yards to its junction with Forbes Track, down Forbes and right onto Centennial Track as far as the river. We had intended to carry on up Centennial on the other side of the river, but instead made a wrong choice and wound up following an ARC poison line up to Home Track (see red line on map).

We then followed Home Track to its junction with Winstone, then down Winstone to Connect Track and finally home along Kitekite Track. About 6hr 30 including about 20 minutes for lunch, about 8 .5 - 9 km all up. McKenzie Track itself is a little over a kilometre though it's quite steep.

Elevation from Piha Valley Track to McKenzie Junction

First cross the stream.

Initially the path is as level and broad as the one you've just left. Young kowhai are common along the edge of the track.

Soon we start to climb through open somewhat brittle bush cover. It's still early and a touch chilly and the light is unusual - at this time of day I'd expect more yellow in it. I'm also having trouble with the UV filter on the front of the lens misting up.

Soon we are sidling up the end of a steepish ridge.

I never see a young kauri like this one by itself without wondering whether it's natural or part of a conscious planting program, though there are enough thickets of young kauri on some of the ridges to suggest there's been reasonable germination.

The track is becoming considerably steeper, and mostly with a pronounced channel down the middle.

Here and there we break through into a tall open scrub before heading back into the taller stuff.

In these open areas, toitoi and kiekie provide most of the infill.

There's also what looks like a blunt leaved mingimingi growing at the edge of the path which I haven't noticed before.



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Fitness Building for the Elderly and Stout

Food for Tramping

General Advice:
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