Couldrey House Track – Wenderholm Regional Park
The Couldrey House Track starts from the pouwhenua (carving) which is at the southern end of the Couldrey House Grounds. The climb to the lookout is reasonably steep but the track is very well maintained. The views of the Puhoi Estuary and Couldrey House are well worth the short climb. Follow the yellow markers. (Walking Track – .6km)
Neither I nor Miss 10 like hills, however when you’re camping in the Wenderholm Regional Park and you “want” to check out the trails, whichever direction you head in will involve climbing up a big arse hill, so you might as well embrace the suck. 😉
The Couldrey House Track officially starts at the pouwhenua a short distance away from Couldrey House. The first section is a flat hard packed dirt trail that winds it’s way through the a small section of wooded area to reach the service vehicle driveway. From here you cross over the drive to carry along a path on the other side. A short distance away you turn off this path and head up the hill.
Thankfully the trail doesn’t go straight up, instead it zig zags it’s way up the hill. Another positive (on the hot summer day that we ascended the hill) is that the trees are quite large so provide a tonne of shade and believe you me, it was very much appreciated by both of us!
From the bottom of the hill it takes about 10 minutes to reach the clearing where the look out is located. We had actually spotted this lookout when we paddled along the Puhoi River the day prior. It’s noticeable from down below as it’s only clearing visible from the ground (or in this case water) and the little dots (people) can be seen walking along to reach the seating under the large tree.
Standing in the clearing you are rewarded with a spectacular 180 degree view over the beach and estuary. While you catch your breathe you can read the two large information boards that explain the history of the area and take a well deserved seat in the shade of a large tree before heading back into the “darkness” of the forest.
The next part of the trail has large sections of boardwalks (which would suck in winter) and although the lower section looks as if it’s been upgraded, it doesn’t seem like this part of the trail has been touched in some time, which I actually preferred. From the clearing it’s only another 5 minutes or so till you reach the Puhoi Track which heads right to head down the hill towards Waiwera and another five minutes straight ahead to reach the trail end at the Perimeter Track.
From the trail end you can either turn left to follow the Perimeter Track back down the hill to reach the service driveway you crossed earlier, turn right and follow the Perimeter Track down the hill to reach the main gate of the Regional Park or simply return the way you came. Although it’s a longer distance to travel, I would turn right and head down the hill as I find that section of the Perimeter Track especially pretty and (bonus) you don’t have to descend the 356,565* stairs you’ll encounter if you head in the opposite direction.
The other stuff;
Location – 37 Schischka Road, Waiwera (48km from the CBD)
Directions – Take the Orewa/Waiwera exit (394) from the Northern Motorway (SH1), just before the toll motorway commences. Drive north along the old state highway and enter the park on the right, just north of Waiwera.
Parking? – Yes, plenty.
Toilet Facilities? – Yes, there is one near the information centre (located by the main carpark) and you’ll find another one near the point where you head up the hill (you’ll need to go past the turn off and go straight ahead from about 20m’s or so).
Kid Friendly? – Yes, there is even little information signs enroute. Perfect “rest stops”.
Till next time
*May be a slight exaggeration of the actual number of stairs. 😉