In an anticlockwise direction from the small carpark on Bethells Road, this loop track marked with red discs ascends easily through young podocarp forest to a high point. The track then descends to a point near farmland, and eventually back to the carpark. 1.0km, 45 minutes. Note: The Waitoru Reserve, owned by Auckland Council and jointly managed by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society and Waitakere Ranges Protection Society, features fine stands of rimu and kahikatea. (Source).
James and I headed to Waitoru Reserve when we arrived back from the Great Barrier – it was a chance to not only explore somewhere new but also let us stretch out our legs on home soil.
I googled Waitoru Reserve Track before we left so I “kind of knew” where I was going but finding the parking layby was trickier than I had thought it would be, mainly because the parking area is much narrower than usual and there is no trail signage. Even though I drive a small Suzuki when I parallel parked as close to the two large boulders that marked the entrance as I could, I was only just off the road (I even closed my wing mirrors). I’m not sure why they were so stingy with the parking area as there is a tonne of space on the other side – but I digress ..
This is definitely another one of the those tracks that if you don’t know it’s there, then you would never just “stumble upon it”, in fact apart from a bucket filled with shoe cleaning equipment and small red triangle there isn’t any track signage whatsoever even the red dics they spoke of where few and far between, there was however red tape tied to trees but it’s a very similar color to the pink tape that was also tied to trees (pink I believe marks bait stations) so it became somewhat of an orienteering exercise rather than a run. 😉
Not that the terrain was very conducive to running as it was not only steep but extremely root strewn ..
It is however very pretty trail to “run” along and although I regularly hear Tui’s singing in the canopy above my head when I run through the Waitakere Ranges, this is the first trail where I’ve ever been able to easily spot them (which was also not very conducive to running – but cool nevertheless).
Near the end of the loop we couldn’t see any red markers to follow and after splitting up to scour the area around us I resorted to checking the topomap app on my phone. This showed us which direction to head and we bushwhacked our way through the scrub, following the online map until we found the next red marker.
From that point the trail was more defined and led us back to where we started.
The other stuff;
Location – Bethells Road (approximately No.83) – if you are coming from Waitakere it’s about 400m past Steam Hauler Track.
Parking – A small (and narrow) gravel layby on Bethells Road.
Toilets – No.
Kid Friendly – Umm, yeah I guess, there isn’t anything life threatening and they’d have a good chance of spotting the birds.
Till next time