Upper Kauri Track – Cascade Kauri Regional Park

From the Auckland City Walk, 100m upstream from the swing bridge, the Upper Kauri Track is a gravel track ascending to the bluff-top ridge with impressive groves of mature and ricker kauri. The track then continues up a long, gentle ascent to Long Road Track, 200m east of Smyth Corner (Source).

For once, my Garmin agreed exactly to the distance listed on the Auckland City Council website and precisely 100m’s from the swing bridge I came to the entrance of the Upper Kauri Track. Not that you could miss it, with the rather large and impressive Maori statue standing tall at it’s entrance.

From that point the track ascends, gently at first zig zagging it’s way up the hill and then more directly upwards with the aid of boardwalks and stairs to reach the Cascade Track approximately 1 kilometer in. From there the track descends down a boardwalk heading towards the Lower Kauri Track (which is currently closed due to Kauri Dieback) 400 metres away.

The first kilometre after the Lower Kauri Track is my favorite section of the the entire trail. It’s a dirt surface that’s very rarely boggy underfoot and there are no steep segments, instead it undulates just enough to keep it interesting but not so much that it then becomes quicker to walk up the hills. FYI I can walk the entire first one kilometer which gains 150m of elevation quicker than if I attempted to run it in it’s entirety – although to be fair, even though I should be good at hill running (because I have “thick legs”), I’m not.

I’m definitely not keen on the initial climb or the boardwalk sections on this trail but I will admit that the effort is worth it once you get past the Cascade Track.  From that point, although there are short sections of both boardwalk and stairs to come the trail is much more like you would imagine trail running in the Waitakere Ranges to be like (minus the copious amounts of mud that those of us who frequent the Waitakere’s regularly become accustomed too).  The trail, although formed is pretty basic and as the name suggests Kauri Trees loom overhead dwarfing everything around them.

Photos

The “other stuff”

Parking?
Yes, at the Falls Road Carpark.

Toilet Facilities?
Yes, at the Falls Road Carpark.

Kid Friendly?
Hmmm, my kids have walked 1.5- 2km of it but Elias gave me 10,000 heart attacks by incessantly walking on the “edge of the cliff” whilst looking backwards or upwards or anywhere other than where he was going. The climb also exhausted them both so neither was much fun to be around after that. 😉

Tip of the day –
The Upper Kauri Track is part of the 8.0km Montana Heritage Trail Loop so it’s not uncommon to come across other users on the trail, regardless of the time or day.  If you are planning on completing the Montana Heritage Trail, I’d suggest you finish the loop going down Upper Kauri – unless you love stairs.  If stairs are “your thing” then by all means ascend Upper Kauri and descend the Fence Line Track with it’s 10,000 stairs. (Not that climbing up them is much fun either) .. 😉

Till next time

 

 

 

 

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