Mt Auckland Walkway
Mt Auckland is about 33km north of Helensville on the Kaipara Coast Highway, and the summit is 304m above sea level. DoC signs tell you it's a three hour walk. We reckon, fatman time and allowing for rests, about 5 - 5.5 hrs is more like it.
The turnoff to the walkway is 30 km north of the Grand Hotel in Helensville, or 21 km north of Kahikatea Flats Rd, on the Kaipara Coast Highway en route to Wellsford. The walkway begins about 3 km up Kaipara Hills Rd, and ends on Kaipara Coast Highway a little further north.
Unless you make arrangements to leave a car at each end beforehand, you will probably start and finish from the Kaipara Hills end. In fact, we had several goes, extending the distance we climbed each time until we were confident we had the stamina to complete the full distance.
NOTE: Parking on SH 16 is non-existent - you must leave your car parked on a steep verge with part of it on the road.
The first 100m or so raises the heartbeat in short order, especially when you aren't yet properly warmed up.
Dogs are prohibited in this area but we are told Rodney District Council regulations permit dogs to be taken into such areas if they are on a leash and one is walking through the area. So provided your dog is at all times on a leash, and you stay on the track, this should cover you.
Most times we have been there, we have met people with dogs. I'm not saying the practice is universal, but some of the tuis further in can do quite a passable imitation of a dog barking.
On a clear day you can see for ever, but mostly the Kaipara Harbour is veiled in a fine haze. The lower pic is a little clearer but that's about as good as it seems to get.
From the top of the first climb, we head down the edge of an airstrip. The barn is at the top of the first 100m we climbed.
Here we're looking back up the airstrip, one of many in the district used for aerial topdressing. I don't know whether it still functions in this capacity. (It would definitely need some mowing first.)
[061210 When we walked the track today, a grader had been in and the road in to the barn had received a new coat of gravel, rolled firm, right up to the barn, so maybe there's some action afoot here.]
This section on the way back when your legs are tired and the grass is long and the afternoon is hot is a lot harder than it looks - just take it a step at a time.
From the bottom of the airstrip, the path winds along to a short climb up to the left of the pine trees ahead..
As we approach it looks somewhat steeper
Here we are. Finally, about to get out of the wind. Usually, about 20 - 25 minutes to this point.
[This sign was no longer present 4 November 2006]