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26 April 2007

Mokoroa Falls Track

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Wedding Aniversary time again . Last year we did Fairy Falls, but this time Miranda had an overnight birth and a couple of appointments so we didn't get away till around noon, and we selected a track that promised interest without too much effort. Mokoroa Falls Track, off the end of Horseman Rd, fills both of these nicely.

Take the Bethells Rd from Waitakere, and turn off shortly along Wairere Rd. Follow the tarseal for several kilometres to a T junction and Horseman Rd is the right hand arm of the T, a gravel road ending in a small parking area which makes you feel immediately welcome:

There are several other signs, too.

Bugger! We hadn't realised this was a DoC Reserve. ARC reserves permit dogs on leash. DoC is still incapable of thinking in anything except negative and rudimentary terms when it comes to dogs. In some DoC areas, four wheel drive vehicles, for example, or mountain bikes, can run rampant through breeding areas, waterski tows can rip around a lake, but NO DOGS ALLOWED. We elect for today to ignore the sign.

We start off along a gravel path covered in pine needles and lined with mahoe and Schefflera.

Beyond that, the bush is a fairly open kanuka and punga canopy to start with, with young nikau here and there, a rewarewa or two, and some kauri rickers.

It's fairly dry. Even though this punga is sporting a healthy growth of moss, it's dry to the touch and there is a thick crispy-brown litter of old fronds around it.

Not far down, the Goldie Track heads off towards Muriwai. Another day, when we bring two cars...

A little further down a sign marks a shortcut for those coming from or going to Goldie Track. The ferns continue to feature all along the track.

One of the features along this track is the presence of mature specimens of Coprosma arborea (mamangi). When they are small, they are quite difficult to distinguish from C. spathulata, but unlike the latter, which is seldom more than a shrub, mamangi can grow to significant size and in parts of the north features as part of the canopy. The leaves of the mamangi become significantly larger as the tree matures.

The track is wide and generous but is obviously at times a significant waterway, though the amount of dry litter suggests that has not been the case recently. Beside the mossy channel is a spiky young lancewood (horoeka, Pseudopanax crassifolius).

Here and there are luxuriant drapes of mangemange (bushman's mattress, Lygodium articulatum)

The standout feature of this track is its openness. Those who follow these pages may have noticed an inverse relationship between track difficulty and detailed observation of the native vegetation.

though as the grade steepens, the watercourse effect is more pronounced. The bush as you can see is still fairly sparse beneath the canopy.


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