Auckland, Feature, Featured, Free As A Bird, Hiking, Tramping, waitakere ranges
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Huia Dam to Upper Nihotupu Dam

Total walking time: 4 hrs 15 mins

13.5 kms

Moderate to Hard.

Saturday morning, three of us (Me, Shannon and Chris) are feeling like we have hang overs, but we actually don’t?!! We were late leaving Auckland, 10am, and for some reason none of us had any energy.  After 30 minutes from the city we arrive at Huia Dam, its hot!


Road to the top of Huia Dam

The first part of the track is walking up to the Huia Dam, its an incline!  To be expected of course but the way we were feeling, flat would have been preferred!


Huia Dam

We follow the road alongside the dam heading up the valley.  Along the way we come across several warning signs regarding a slip.  Nah, surely its just a little slip we can get past?

Um no, Its a big slip! Its way bigger than all 3 of us imagined, the entire road has gone.  Thankfully there is a temporary track that goes around it.


Big slip!

A couple of minutes after this we follow Smiths Road to Hamilton Track, it was a bit hard to find Hamilton track as most of the tracks in this area are now closed due to the Kauri Disease.  Check on ViewRanger App first before you venture out otherwise you might have to back track and that would probably suck especially on a hot day!!

I don’t EVER go hiking without my ViewRanger App! It knows where I am which is great, because without it I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea of where I am.  It can be disorientating in the dense bush and when you arrive at a junction you may not remember which track to take, its worse when they shut a track so you have to figure out another way…. seriously, DOWNLOAD THE APP!!  Then add me as a friend 🙂

After 2 hours with a steady incline we reach Upper Nihotupu Dam, and we are starving! 5 mins past the dam heading back down, there is a picnic area with loo’s.   The view back down the valley is great but I was to busy being disappointed with my lunch, due to my slackness I just grabbed hummus and crackers! Very boring, next time I will make the mean sandwich and show you!


Upper Nihotupu Dam

Instead of going back up the road to the dam, its best to walk along the tram line to the bottom of them dam.  If you dare, you can change the direction of the trams!


If you dare!

5 minutes later you will come across the steps heading up the dam face, they are steep and you’ll definitely need two hands to hold on.  If you are like me, don’t look down it’ll freak you out!


I walked up a dam face!

Once back to the track its all downhill, following Christies Track.  The track is rough on your feet, constantly looking down and watching where you are going.  If you are a top hiking brand (like Merrell, Soloman, Timberland, Columbia, KEEN or Teva) please send me a decent pair of shoes!!

There were pig marks all along this track and at one point we heard a massive crash in the bush, like the Polar bear in the TV series Lost!? But no, it was no Polar Bear it was just a Nikau branch falling to the ground… it definitely sounded bigger than a Nikau branch!!

There is one stream to cross.  The day was extremely hot so we definitely appreciated the wet feet, winter will be a  little different.  I’d check weather first, if this is flooded you’ll have to walk all the way back up the track and its a loooong way!

Just a little bit up the hill and we reach the road, yah! We suddenly felt like our survival chances were good, not saying the track was scary but we did slip over several times in places on the way down.

It is a welcome sight seeing the dam again, which will take you all the way back to the car.


Start of the Huia Dam

I suggest calling into the local store in Huia, it is full of Gluten Free goodness!  I was quite buggered from this hike but it was well worth getting out into the Waitakere Rangers… it’s good for the soul and for the waistline!


  1. Pingback: The Highest Point in the Waitakere Ranges | Free as a bird

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