“Omanawanui Track is regarded by many as one of the secret jewels in the treasure trove of tracks in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. Despite a few steep sections, the track rewards walkers with its sparkling water views out over the Manukau Bar and its mixed canopy forest. (Auckland Council)”
After that description I kind of had no choice but to go …
First things first – Whatipu is MILES away from anything (other than I guess Huia) and a good majority of the road is not only unsealed, but narrow and windy. Let’s just say it was kind of hair raising …
BUT if I thought the drive was going to be the trickiest part of the day, boy was I wrong. 😉
I chose to start (and finish) the track from the beach end for a couple of reasons.
- There are toilets at that end (but not the other) and;
- I wanted to finish the run with a jaunt along the beach.
As usual I’d done some research prior to turning up so I knew that the track involved going over a particular bridge (as I’d seen a photo) which was handy as from the car park the signage is pretty non existent. Once over the bridge it’s a case of running along the grass until you come to a path turning right (towards the mountain).
The only thing marking that side track is a “Hillary Track” fence post and it’s really easy to miss especially as the track you started on continues straight ahead. Anyhoo, once you turn it’s pretty much straight up hill .. in some sections it’s more of a steep scramble than a clearly defined track but if you are climbing then you’re heading in the correct direction!
Once you get past that first section of steep track, it becomes a much more manageable “run” with more of a clearly defined track, although the section past the seat high up on the hill, was a little confusing, (especially whilst trying to avoid the millions of flying bugs that were nesting all over the chair the morning I went) as such I didn’t get any photos from that viewing point.
The next section of the track is where I decided this probably isn’t an area that I should be running along ALONE (although in my defense I had asked James to come with me – I can’t recall what his excuse was), but nevertheless I was high up on a cliff on a track with chains to help you climb!
I will however admit that you get some astounding views from up there ..
I might be biased, but I’ll say that the views are just as (if not better) along the Te Henga walkway and that track is way more accessible (both to get too, and to traverse). But at least now I can strike the Omanawanui Track off my “to do list”.
As I got back to the car a group of trampers was just heading off – as they walked past me, one of them said;
“I’m glad we don’t have to run it”.
I on the other hand am impressed that they were going to traverse the track whilst carrying full packs! I barely made it just carrying me! 😉
Till next time
For more photos CLICK HERE