All posts filed under: waitakere ranges

Karekare Waterfall

Mt Zion, the wetlands + a spectacular waterfall.

This loop track is another favourite of mine, the landscape changes along the way and the wetlands are filled with interesting birds.  It takes about 3-4 hours including stops to admire the west coast views.  The waterfall is near the car park and only takes a few minutes to reach. It’s definitely worth seeing but I like to leave it for the end of my hike. Track details below.  The track starts at the Karekare car park and I suggest starting early, every time I’ve returned from this hike the carpark is full and people are waiting for others to leave.  Early is 8-9am, any later and you’ll be looking for parks. Zion Hill is a steady climb with some fantastic views. Keep an eye out for a well-worn track on the right half way up, there is a seat overlooking the coast. Every now and then you’ll spot more well-worn tracks, check them out because often they will lead to something interesting.  The picture above shows the view out to Whatipu and the Pararaha Wetlands, …

Waitakere Ranges Kauri Tree

Walking amongst the giant Kauri

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles” It’s not until you take a walk through the ancient Kauri forest that you’ll understand what gratitude means for you.  I’ve been on many tracks in the Waitakere Ranges but this one is special, it wakes me up. Kauri trees are the home for New Zealand’s native bat, native orchids and the epiphytic plants (hitch-hikers) that hang from the branches.  Its own diverse ecosystem is happening right in front of us, yet we often don’t notice when walking. It breaks my heart to know that Kauri trees are in danger of extinction due to dieback disease. A tiny spore in the dirt can kill these giants and we can stop spreading by cleaning our boots at each wash station. I really wish people would take the time to understand conservation and why it’s so important to us as a human race. Learn more about Kauri Dieback Disease Upper Kauri Track starts at the end of Falls Road and heads up through the Kauri Forest.  This tree …

Goat Hill Lookout Track

The highest point in the Waitakere Ranges

The challenge isn’t the height of this point, the challenge is how to get to this point.  It’s a damp rainforest with muddy tracks and often very steep terrain.  There are three ways to get here and we opted for the long way, 12.6km.  Refer to map details below.   We started the track at 9am from the Karamatura Car Park in Huia (approx 40mins out of Auckland city).  There are several tracks leaving from here and they all take you up the hill. Karamatura Track starts off nice and easy with a gentle incline to the popular waterfall, although this morning there was no one here.  From here it’s a steep climb most of the way up to the junction where it flattens out, slightly. Trees have fallen onto the track and in some places, they have continued to flourish where they land. Mostly, we are hurling ourselves over or under trees. At the junction, we head north along Huia Ridge Track.  It starts off pleasant but doesn’t take long before we’re in mud and …

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. 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. 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 …

Foraging in the Waitakere Rainforest

I’m taking friends out on a guided hike today, they are keen to explore the Waitakere rainforest and I’m keen to show them how bountiful the bush can be if you know what you’re looking for.  We are hiking the Upper Huia Dam Track It’s been raining heavily the last few days, the track is rougher than usual.  We look like ballerina’s leaping through the bush, or maybe we look like monkeys swinging from branches trying not to get our boots stuck in the mud.   Above us we can hear the Tui singing and a Kereru watching us plot our way through the mud.  The Miromiro ahead of us darts back and forward guiding us along the track. It’s an advanced walk, even if you are fit it can still be challenging.  I met two groups of people turning back warning me that the track is too difficult and muddy.  This is true if you are unfamiliar with the Waitakere Ranges, some of these tracks will put many people off.  It’s not a track for …

Tom Thumb Bluffs

Huia Tracks – Fletcher, Karamatura, Tom Thumb

It had rained heavily in the last 3 days making the tracks rough. Fletcher adds a bit more, it climbs up a steep spur then onto a ridge following the bluffs to Don McLean Track.  I’m following Fletcher – Karamatura – Tom Thumb Tracks in Huia. The first section is a steep climb, moving quickly towards the ridge.  The rain had washed debris down the hill, completely disguising the track. I followed the markers for a good part of this ascent. It’s not a well-worn track, maybe in the summer but I’m walking in winter and I don’t expect to see anyone.  I do know that there is one other person is on the track because I could see his tracks (I knew he was male because of his boot size, bush skills I learnt from my father finally come into play).  I did catch up with him later, he’s from the South Island and needed some time out in the bush.  I related to this very well. I reached the ridge and it ascends …

Omanawanui – Gibbons Track – Walker Ridge Tracks

This is one of my favourite loops in the Waitakere Ranges.   Time: The times on the signs would suggest 7hrs.  If you are a faster walker you can do this in 3 – 5 hours of actual walking. Definitely allow more time for stops and time exploring the caves at Whatipu Distance: 14.5km Start & Finish: Mt Donald Mclean Road, Huia – Auckland ViewRanger App Route: http://my.viewranger.com/route/details/NzczNzQ= Auckland city and head for Mt Donald Mclean Road – 50 minute drive. Puriri Ridge Track – 2km.  This is a nice gentle start to an early morning, its mostly along the ridge and downhill. Once at the road cross over and head along Omanawanui Track. Omanawanui Track – 3km.  Walking along the cliffs to see some amazing views of Manukau harbour and Whatipu.  This was probably one of the most beautiful tracks I’ve been on in the Waitakere’s because of the views.  Stunning! Some of it is steep. Manukau Heads Whatipu – Camping Ground.   This has all of the facilities needed and the scenery is magic. Handy to all …

Piha – Centennial Track

4hrs Medium . If it rains, be very careful where you are walking due to the roots and slippery ground.  Some of it was steep and challenging… however to me, that is a great challenge to conquer!! Piha Track – Easy – nice start to a 4hr trek, smelt fresh the track was smooth, it was a very gentle warm up. McKenzie – Medium and Hard in parts – The track turns to a goat track with roots exposed and its a steady incline testing your fitness levels.  I could here lots of Tui’s but never seen them. Quarry Track – Medium – it did level out slightly, level as in a slight incline! Beautiful track though. We turned off to the lookout and I’m so glad we did, its only a 10min walk further up but once at the lookout its worth a moment of silence to appreciate the vast land they call the Waitakere Ranges. Centennial Track – Medium – Could definitely say easy in parts but sometimes the ground was rough and slippery. …