5 January 2007
Winstone Track (Piha)
The ARC notes describe this track in terms of someone beginning at the Piha Road and walking down to Kitekite Stream, then up to Home Track, at which point their are a number of subsequent options. In fact, the network of intersecting tracks around Piha makes the choice of any route fairly eclectic. Just make sure you have a map with you, and since most of the tracks involve at least some stiffish hills, a modicum of fitness.
We walked this section of the track as part of a loop beginning at the end of Glen Esk Road, travelling up Home Track, then right along Winstone Track as far as Connect Track, through to Kitekite Track and home.
After the almost unrelenting climb up the Home Track, the Winstone looked good straight away.
After walking through the deepening shadow up the eastern side of the ridge a few minutes earlier, we welcomed the return of the late afternoon sun
Can anyone out there put a name to this one?
To the side of the track is a young kohekohe and I realise I haven't spotted any big ones on any of the tracks we've looked at today.
Down to the left I spot what at first looks like a taupata, but a closer look soon reveals my error. It is Rubus australis, one of our bush lawyers.
No question, the foliage is definitely lusher here.
This one will wait on a better focus. Sticherus cunninghamii, Umbrella fern, or Waekura. It's dark leaves are almost invisible.
The track, which has been good quality up until now, begins to demand a little more attention
A young miro emerges from the mix of hangehange and karamu beside the track
On the whole, it's a pleasant, easy downhill stroll.
The canopy is uneven, and there are many areas where the light pours in.
Pay attention to the track, stupid.
We pass a lovely patch of palm leaf fern (Blechnum novae-zelandiae) or Kiokio. This fern is a common one, especially along roadsides or where the light is a little more available. In bright sunlight, its young fronds emerge orange-pink, which is a protection against a light which might be too harsh. Probably the best displays of this fern I have seen are along the Long Road Track.
The scar tissue on these roots suggest they have at some time been rasped by a small digger during path formation or maintenance.
And do keep an eye out for the Winstone Track nude...
On some tracks rata features strongly. Not so much here but we do pass a punga which has been well colonised.
For the most part, though, it's still pleasant walking.
I'd certainly come back for more of what this track has to offer.
But all good things end sooner or later, and we pass on to the Connect Track, leaving the Winstone track to make its way back up to the Piha Rd.
To catch the next stage of this loop, click here