All posts tagged: Photography

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 …

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 …

Waiotahi – a journey to my ancestors

I’m almost in Waiotahi, my jandals are off and I’m driving bare feet.  The smell of the ocean is swirling through my car.  This is how I like it.  Waiotahi is where part of me comes from, I’m a half-caste.  Maori/German. I’m here for a family reunion on my Maori side, my Great Grandparents Mariana & Te Waihirere. Our Kaumatua (Maori elders), including my mum, tell us stories in Te Reo (Maori Language) as we visit the pa and the house my mum grew up in. My ancestors roamed this land, they had food, water and each other.  Some lived on a pa, like this one I stand on.   A pa was not always a village though, they were often used to spot the enemy and defend their land. When they didn’t have to fight for their land, I’d like to think they had time to look at the view.  I’m also pleased to say that most pa sites in NZ are protected so no one can build a house on them.  They are for people to visit and to learn …