Walking Track – Waitakere Tramline Walk follows the tramline and pipeline from the base of the Waitakere Dam along a bluff-top ledge with spectacular views of the Waitakere Valley and falls. The track continues through a short tunnel to the western portal of the tramline tunnel and West Tunnel Mouth Track, 1.6km. (Source).
I’ve written about the Waitakere Tramline (in passing) before – as this is the trail that has “that” Zombie Tunnel –
Honestly, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve run down the tramline full of bravado only to turn and sprint in the opposite direction whenever I near the entrance of the tunnel (because Zombies … )
You gotta admit though, it’s pretty spooky looking ..
Which is why this time I took along my very own Zombie protection aka the husband, although the amount of times he’s reminded me that if something untoward happened he would only have to outrun me, I’m not sure he’s actually the best person to take out on these missions – but I digress ..
If you are coming from the Dam (which we did) the trail entrance is up the driveway on your left (past the toilet block), if you are coming from the car park on Scenic Drive then the entrance is on your right before you get to the toilet block (which is easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there, so if you get to the dam itself you have gone too far).
From the trail entrance you descend down a long set of stairs and from that point it’s completely flat with views across the valley. In approximately 5 minutes you’ll go underneath what I call a water chute – I have no idea what it’s actually called, but what I do know is that I’ve never seen it without water flowing over it. The aforementioned Zombie tunnel is a short hot skip and jump from here.
I don’t know why I dislike this particular tunnel so much, it’s much shorter than the tunnel of the Swanson Pipeline Track and I managed to run through that one solo – granted, at speed while screaming – but still ..
This tunnel is approximately 70m in length and apparently runnable without a light. I wouldn’t know as I held onto James, shut my eyes and constantly repeated (out loud), “I don’t like this” while James instructed me to “open your eyes, you’ll trip and fall, open your eyes” (I didn’t) and the next thing I remember was him saying “look up it’s over” lololol
The trail beyond the tunnel was AMAZING! So picturesque!
If it wasn’t for “that tunnel” this would be somewhere I’d come to run on the daily. There’s even a wee train station! Honestly, it’s amazing how these pockets of awesomeness are out there, just waiting to be discovered – granted this one is pretty well hidden thanks to the fact that you either have to go through the zombie tunnel or descend the rather technical (but short) West Tunnel Mouth Track to get to it, but still ..
The trail ends not far past the train station – which I feel would be the PERFECT place for a camp ground – I’d definitely camp there, if I convince someone to lead me through the tunnel while I imagined myself somewhere far far away .. 😉
The other stuff;
Location – Waitakere Dam, Scenic Drive, Auckland
Toilets – Yes (at the dam)
Parking – Waitakere Dam carpark, Andersons carpark (both on Scenic Drive) or Falls Road carpark depending on which trails you use to the tramline.
Kid Friendly – Yep! (Although both of my kids hate the Waitakere Dam driveway) I even said to James I might act brave and go through the tunnel if I had kids in tow. 😉
Till next time