Waterfalls, sand dunes, a lake, a stream, native forest, and a hint of danger is all on offer on this über-rugged tramp less than an hour’s drive from Auckland.
At Dave’s suggestion we decided to make the most of a non-rainy winter Saturday and head out for a day-walk in the Waitakeres. The Waitakere Ranges seem to offer endless opportunities for tramping, with a maze of interlinked tracks. We decided on a coastal walk, around Lake Wainamu, reasoning it would be less muddy.
There are several options for doing a loop track around the lake, ranging from around 3 to 5+ hours return, depending on your fitness and sense of adventure. Needless to say a good map, and even compass is essential.
The walk begins near Bethells Beach.
From the car park, the track leads walkers over some dramatic sand dunes and then along Lake Wainamu, before heading up towards a ridge. After a couple of hours the track then heads back towards Wainamu Lake, crossing Wainamu Stream.
At this point we decided to take a short-cut off the beaten track, and instead bush-crash down along and through the stream back to the lake. Actually it wasn’t quite that dramatic. Although not marked in the maps, this appears to be a reasonably well-trodden route.
However, it does require several stream crossings, knee-deep in places, as well as negotiating some tricky drop-offs, and is not a route suitable for children or casual walkers.
Nonetheless heading back down Wainamu Stream offers some beautiful scenery of native bush, rocky streams, waterfalls, and of course provides an extra element of excitement.
All up it took us approximately 5 hours, including 1/2 hour for lunch, and despite the recent wet weather the track was quite walkable and not too muddy.
To get there, head towards Bethells Beach. There is a car-park at the start of the track, just past the rustic white bridge over Waiti Stream.