Auckland, Featured, Hiking Tracks, New Zealand, waitakere ranges
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Lake Wainamu and a Putangitangi Duck.

It’s hard to find a flat track in the Waitakere Ranges but this one is a delight if you’re looking for an easy walk and in my case, a rare encounter with a Putangitangi Duck.

Lake Wainamu Sand Dunes

Lake Wainamu sand dunes I walked over.

The track starts off following the stream for a few minutes until you reach the sand dunes. I head up and over but if you’d rather not attempt the dunes you can continue following the stream and walk the track clockwise.  I went anti-clockwise.

Lake Wainamu Old Wharf

Looking back to the sand dunes.

The track at the lake takes you into the open bush where you can see views back to the sand dunes.  There is an abundance of Kereru along the track, you can hear them snapping branches, a sign that they are eating well.

Further along the track I came across large Macrocarpa trees, I thought this would be a great place to take photos.  As I was setting up the GoPro, a Putangitangi Duck waddles past the camera and down to me.  At first, I thought I was near her nest but she was only interested in hanging out with me.

Lake Wainamu Putangitangi duck on track

My new hiking friend

We took some shots together and I have to say she’s very patient.  At one stage I was taking so long to set up my shot she started drifting off to sleep.

Lake Wainamu with Putangitangi Duck

Some small discussions and a couple of photos with the giant trees.

After taking my pics we walked along the track together for at least half an hour before she flew off.  I thought that would be the end of my wildlife experience so I continued along the track enjoying the scenery.

Towards the top of the lake, there is a turn off called Houghton’s Track, this will take you to the top of the hill and beyond if you wanted to.  It’s part of the 77km Hilary Trail.  I decided to take it casually and enjoy the flat for today.  At the top end of the track, I came across several waterfalls.

Lake Wainamu Waterfall

The first waterfall of several.

I was sitting up on the hillside enjoying the views and along comes my friend, I was really happy to see her.

Lake Wainamu Track and Putangitangi Duck

As I sit watching the water, my mate fly’s in.

She follows me most of the way back, walking and flying.

The track was easy from here back to the sand dunes, it is part of the Hilary Track so it’s been well maintained.

Lake Wainamu Track

Walking along the lakeside.

I didn’t mind the rain at all, I’ve always enjoyed hiking in it.  I guess if you have the right gear you don’t really notice it unless it’s raining sideways and temperatures are low.  Rain brings out beautiful sights to capture and it keeps most people indoors so the tracks are relatively quiet.  Sometimes I don’t see anyone on tracks in the rain.

Lake Wainamu Track wharf

Talking about the environmental impact humans have on our planet, climate change and the importance of conservation … she totally gets it and wants to see a change!

A few years ago I had a pet Putangitangi duck called Ernie.  He was so cool, our family loved having him around.  These birds are stunning to see in the wild but to have them up close and follow you is an amazing experience.

Lake Wainamu Track and Putangitangi Duck

It was time to say goodbye to my hiking friend.

You never know what you’ll see when hiking, every time I go outdoors I encounter something beautiful.

Track details: 

Download this track:

Approx 3hrs loop


Car Parking on Bethells Road, very popular during the warmer months so get there early to secure a park.  There are more parks across the road on the Te Henga Track.

Lake Wainamu Track Map

Enjoy and stay safe,



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