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8 December 2007

Zion Ridge Track

page 1

A dog sign waits us at the beginning of the track.

I assume the map's application is to the beach areas only. Certainly I saw no prohibition signs anywhere near Mercer Bay Loop Track earlier today.

We decide to carry on.

Zion Ridge Track runs between Buck Taylor Track and Zion Hill Track at Karekare. The easiest access is via Buck Taylor Track from the generous carpark off Lone Kauri Rd - though many would argue that the drive along Lone Kauri Rd removes any possibility of using the word easy in a meaningful way.

The access via Karekare Rd and the steep section of Zion Hill Track is a little shorter but otherwise there is little to choose.

Both Karekare Rd and Lone Kauri Road run off the Piha Rd.

Zion Ridge Track looks as if it may once have been a road of sorts. It is wide and relatively level with few vices, though the last couple of hundred metres before Zion Hill Track are a little more constricted. There is a short stiffish climb up Buck Taylor Track to the start, but compared to other sections of Buck Taylor Track that offers few problems.

We have arrived at about the right time. A little earlier and boggy sections of track would have proved a problem, but most of these are nearly dry at present. I shouldn't bother with it in wet weather, and the same applies to both Buck Taylor and Zion Hill Tracks (in spades).

We walked a loop around these three in 2hr 30, though we were pushing it a little in order to get back by 4pm. I'd have preferred to take a little longer. This report deals only with the Zion Ridge section.

We start off at the beginning of the Buck Taylor track in a kanuka tunnel leading into a slightly more open and fernlined section.

Moving on, we round the edge of a hill giving good views out to the west.

There's a couple more short scrubby sections separated by grassy bits, and ahead of us is the fork.

It's pleasant, open and wide track tending to shallow vee formation and muddy patches

The usual suspects - hangehange, Coprosma grandiflora, karamu, mingimingi, kanuka and manuka, kawakawa, mahoe, karapapa, lacebark, mapau, Pittosporum tenuifolium, and a variety of ferns, are present on either side of the track

Here's a clematis.

The edge of the track is a nursery of small plants.

What makes this track of interest to me is the middle section where big taraire form the canopy, and the understorey is quite characteristic of this kind of bush. Here's a big fellow, looking as though it were fresh from an Enid Blyton story, or perhaps Lord of the Rings.

Here's Coprosma grandiflora, but of course, you've met before. You can see taraire leaves among the leaf litter on the ground.

Another big old taraire.

The thick carpet of leaves along here also contains a good quantity of rewarewa. These are tall enough and sufficiently fast growing to be quite frequent canopy trees, even when relatively young. Coprosma arborea is also present as canopy here and there.



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