Tramping Track – From the Swanson Pipeline Track, Peripatus Track crosses Swanson Stream and ascends steeply to a gentle section before ascending extremely steeply to Scenic Drive. 1.6km. (Source).
The Peripatus Track is part of the Hillary Trail Swanson Link. The Swanson Link (as the name suggests) links Hillary Trail users with a public transport hub – The Swanson Train Station.
As a part of the Hilary Trail the Peripatus Track is a reasonably well marked and well maintained trail. Although you may not be able to tell that when entering from Scenic Drive because when you descend down the stairs into the shade well below street level you are greeted by a pretty rough and tumble single track, sections of which look like they’re about to slide down the bank.
That being said the majority of this trail is lovely to run along. From Scenic Drive it’s a downhill trek all the way to the trail’s end point (The Swanson Pipeline Track), the first downhill section is quite steep but the large tree roots make quite handy steps, although I’d say they pool with water in Winter, so perhaps wouldn’t be quite so handy.
The flat ridge top section was one of the nicest places I have ever run. This section goes through a forest of Kauri trees (of varying ages) and on the sunny afternoon when I ran through it felt like running through autumn – which is kind of a weird analogy, but everything surrounding me (including the forest floor) had taken on an amber color – it was simply stunning!
After the ridge it’s once again all downhill (extremely steeply in places) which is why I guess they decided to build a whole heap of stairs. Off the top of my head there were 3 or 4 sets. Three quite close together and then a final (very new and much longer) set that leads down to the stream crossing.
The day I ran along Peripatus there was only a very small amount of water and I hopped onto the very large, flat boulder to get across. If however you go in the middle of Winter or after a heavy downpour of rain (which happens rather often in Auckland, especially in the Waitakere Ranges) you may actually be greeted by a stream when you get to the bottom of the stairway. From the other side of the stream it’s back up yet more stairs (but nowhere near as fancy) to reach the Swanson Pipeline Track.
The Hillary Trail continues to the left to reach Tramline Road. Turning right through the tunnel leads you to the Waitakere Filter Station.
The other stuff;
Location – The easiest access point is from Scenic Drive (approximately No. 851)
Parking – Small bay, just past the trail entrance on Scenic Drive.
Toilet Facilities – No.
Kid Friendly – Yeah I guess, but I don’t think they’d be enthralled. At no time did I think “OMG my kids would love this!” lol
Till next time