The weather’s not sweat-bathingly hot, and the narrow roads aren’t teeming with surfies scrambling to get to the beach to impress each other with their boards and ability to glug RTDs.
Best of all, with the exception of only the keenest of tramper, who will quite happily get acquainted with knee deep water and mud, the tracks are deserted.
And so, on this fine weekend, we decided to re-attempt our failed Whatipu tramp.
This time we were prepared.
We studied the weather forecast, told several people our intentions, were well supplied with back-up warm clothing, plenty of food, two maps, a compass and GPS.
What could go wrong?
Nothing as it happened. As expected it was a fantastic walk. We started around the coast and, a little more experienced from our previous attempt at swamp-negotiations, continued on past Parahara stream before heading inland. The shelter in the Parahara valley made for a welcome lunching spot. From there we headed over the ridge, through the forest returning to the carpark via Gibbon’s track. We were treated to awesome views of the coast, the lighthouse, and the epic swamp, within which we had spent some hours circling about trying to find dry land the weekend before. And of course no Waitakere winter tramp would be complete without mud. Lots of it. We stomped and squelched for two hours, giving our boots the type of work-out they were designed for, before making it back down to the car-park.
The loop track is an awesome walk. It’s rugged and remote, and provided you have a high-strength washing machine is also child-friendly. It even comes with a bonus side-trip to the Ballroom caves*.
View all photos here.
*Where Beau happened to take me on one of our first dates, hmm.