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The Aucklander 20 October 2011

Huia Store and the Hardware Cafe, local eating and meeting institutions

3 KAREKARE FALLS Track length 2km (loop) Walking time 1 hour Track quality Good Walk difficulty Moderate (mostly uphill or downhill walking) Highlights Waterfalls, taraire groves, views to Karekare Beach Dogs on leash Access Park at the carpark at the bottom of Karekare Rd. Cross the wooden bridge on to Lone Kauri Rd, go 100m up the hill to a sign on the left-hand side of the road directing you to the falls. This short walk offers a good workout as it loops up and down the hillsides through beautiful and rare taraire groves, with waterfalls, pretty streams and subtropical rainforest. Cave Rock Track, a steep climb that starts at the picnic area next to the carpark, is a possible addition. Te Kawerau a Maki built palisades to defend this cave high above Karekare and used it as a refuge from raiding parties from other tribes. The cave, called Wharengarahi, was last used in 1826 when Ngapuhi came skirmishing down the coast. 4 SLIP, PIPELINE AND INCLINE TRACKS Track length 5km (one-way with car shuttle) Walking time 90min-2 hours Track quality Varied (some steep clay sections) Walk difficulty Moderate Highlights Industrial history, tramline, large kauri, views Dogs on leash Shortcuts For a flat 2km stroll suitable for small children and those who abhor hills, start at the Incline Track end and walk as far as the large kauri tree, then return the way you came Access Leave one car on Scenic Dr at the Arataki Visitor Centre, 5.5km from the Titirangi roundabout. Leave a second car at the start of Incline Track 1.6 km west of the visitor centre. This is a walk of extremes. The track goes

steeply downhill, along a gravel road, and steeply up again on a slimy clay track. There is a range of distractions, including three water pipelines, one old tramline and a very impressive ancient kauri tree. The Nihotupu Pipeline takes water from the Upper Nihotupu Dam to Titirangi. Beside it runs a tramline used in the construction of the dam, which was completed in 1923. Most of the tramline is off-limits to walkers, but the Incline Track travels over close to 1km of it. You can check out the whole tramline by taking a ride on the Rainforest Express, which runs on weekends and during school holidays (Watercare Services, ph (09) 302 8028). 5 KAURI GROVE LOOP Track length 8.7km (loop) Walking time 4 hours Track quality Mostly rugged, can be very muddy Walk difficulty Hard Highlights Coastal views, grand trees, swimming holes, view from top of waterfall Dogs on leash Access Look for car park on Piha Rd 2.8km beyond the Anawhata Rd turn-off This loop walk is a demanding trip, long and on some rough tracks, but that just means you really feel you are heading into the wilderness. The forest is dense and in some places the crowns of fabulous mature kauri seem close enough to touch. You can take a cool dip in a pool with an awesome view off the top of Kitekite Falls, or save yourself for a post-walk swim at the beach. A variation of this walk uses the Lucy Cranwell Track instead of the upper part of Kauri Grove Track. The result is a narrow, offcamber track through very thick forest. It is technical walking, unforgiving of a wrong footplacement. So why would you take this option? Well, you will feel as though you are walking through the treetops — and you will get a sense of achievement just by completing the track safely.

Huia Beach and Kakamatua Inlet, favourites for strollers on two or four legs

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11

Whatipu, windswept and wild West Coast beach (no swimming); Titirangi’s guardian statues border a genteel village

Coasting around Huia A drive to Huia will reveal some amazing picnic The shortest track is the five-minute Orpheus spots, picturesque bays and historical walk to the graves of three soldiers who locations. drowned in one of New Zealand’s worst First stop is the Hardware Cafe in Titirangi for maritime disasters, when the HMS Orpheus brunch, before turning left on to Huia Rd. A few foundered on the Manukau Harbour bar in kilometres on is Nihotupu Dam. Built in 1945, 1863, with 189 lives lost. the dizzying height of water powering down the We head on to Kaitarakihi and Huia Point overflow is spectacular. At Parau, we spot the lookouts, to take in more stunning views of the cute little Art Post Gallery, run by nine local Manukau Harbour as it meets the Tasman Sea. artists in what was once the old Huia Post Then it’s past the Huia Store, and the offer of Office. fish’n’chips, to the Huia Settlers Museum to Next stop for the small person with us is peruse its wealth of history and treasures. Takaranga Reserve for a swing and a seesaw, The final leg of our journey takes us through while we enjoy the surrounding native bush, Huia village and along a narrow, winding gravel curious fantails, and sea road to Whatipu. Often views. Armour Bay has free windswept and dramatic, tennis courts to work off a Whatipu is a mixture of wild picnic lunch, or you can stop West Coast beach, wetlands, at Cornwallis. and spectacular dunes and Here we are enamoured caves. with the stunning coastline The wetlands are a and views across to Mangere breeding ground for Mountain, Auckland’s endangered bird species, and international airport, the although the beach is too Awhitu Peninsula and the wild for swimming, it’s a Manukau Heads. favourite of fishermen. One We find barbecue areas of the larger caves was used beneath large pagodas, which for formal dances during the are available for hire. A Maori timber-milling era in the early carving stands regally above 20th century. They are said the convergence of the West to have such good acoustics Coast’s black sand, the white that bands have performed in sand of Manukau Harbour them in more recent times. and the red sands of the inlet. If you decide you need In summer, this spot is more time to explore, there popular for family picnics, are plenty of places to stay, Take a spectacular ride on the with safe swimming, and so your drive could morph Rainforest Express shade under the pohutukawa into a weekend adventure. trees that line the foreshore, while the wharf features a children’s fishing competition each ■ Whatipu is about 40km from downtown year in September. It’s time for lunch, so we set Auckland, or an hour’s drive our table under the pagodas. Hardware Cafe, 421 Titirangi Rd, ph (09) 817 Down the hill is Kakamatua Inlet, where dog 6177 lovers unleash their pets to play and forage Woodlands Park Superette, 295 Huia Rd along the stream and out into the tidal bay. Huia Settlers Museum, 1252 Huia Rd, (09) There are a variety of walks throughout the 811 8971, www.nzmuseums.co.nz Huia region, including the 3km Farley TrackInformation on the area, walks, Kakamatua Ridge-Parau track circuit. It takes accommodation, barbecue hirage etc: about 2 hours. cornwallis.org.nz, aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

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The Aucklander Rugby 20-10-11