Kauri tree

Cascade Kauri & Waitakere Dam

In which improvisation leads from the 1 hour Waitakere Damn Walk to the 4 hour Montana Heritage Walk through the Cascade Kauri area.

You can view the full gallery of 22 picture below.  To view on imgur click here.

The Arataki Visitor Centre is a great gateway to the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, with lots of helpful people providing information, maps, and even a small museum, great lookouts with fantastic views, a short boardwalk walkway, and various short walks that start from that location.  I didn’t have a plan, so I decided to visit the centre and see what they had chosen as their Walk of the Week.  I got the info and maps I needed to locate the start of the Waitakere Damn Walk.

It’s downhill on a service road to the dam.  Very early on there’s a short side track to a nice big old kauri tree.

Kauri tree
Kauri tree

There are nice views over the Waitakere Ranges.

View from Waitakere Dam Walk
View from Waitakere Dam Walk

The dam itself offers great views of the ranges and the reservoir.  This is one of several reservoirs in the Waitakere ranges that provide drinking water for Auckland.

Waitakere Dam
Waitakere Dam
Waitakere Reservoir
Waitakere Reservoir

Near the far side of the dam is an information board for the Montana Heritage Walk.   Montana Wines is New Zealand‘s largest wine company.  I thought, since a corporation’s name is all over it, and it has corporate sponsorship, this should be a well formed and maintained track.  I was 95% right… but this is still New Zealand.

I chose to start the loop while also continuing to the lookout recommended as part of the Walk to the Week – therefore walking the Heritage Walk in a clockwise direction.  It followed the reservoir for some time.

Waitakere Reservoir
Waitakere Reservoir

After the track entered the bush I came to an intersection that was a muddy mess – but the ground was level, so it was no big problem.  Then, soon after, I came to this intersection.

Unmarked intersection
Unmarked fork in the trail

I checked the photo I had taken of the info board, with a map, and the other map that was given to me at the visitor center.  They showed no fork in this area.  I chose what appeared to be the main trail.  Eventually it became the mudslide shown below.

Montana mudslide
Montana mudslide

There were a lot of footprints as you can see.  I proceeded as carefully as I could, but it was inevitable that I would fall eventually.  I actually stayed on my feet past this mudslide, but encountered several more.  It was lucky that I only fell once, was able to fall to the side of the trail, and not hurt myself, or get very muddy, and was able to keep my camera from hitting the ground.

I walked past the point where the side trail rejoined the main trail.  Soon enough I came to another intersection, this time with a sign.  There were one or two more of these.  It became clear that tracks around hazardous sections of the trail have been provided, and most of them signposted… just not the first one I had encountered.

Signposted diversion around mudslides
Signposted diversion around mudslides

The trail passes through nice New Zealand bush, but it gets really interesting when it starts to pass through the kauri forest.  The track itself becomes a boardwalk, because part of helping kauri trees avoid kauri dieback disease involves keeping people off of the roots.

Kauri
Kauri

There are many impressive kauri trees, including the group of young kauri below.

Group of young kauri
Group of young kauri
Kauri tree
Kauri tree

There is a lot of very steep climbing.  It helps that a lot of it is on boardwalks with stairs.

kauri trees
kauri trees

If I recall correctly, the tree below is a kahikatea tree.  Without a sign identifying it, I would have guess it was a kauri.

Kahikatea tree
Kahikatea tree

The steep uphill climbs were exhausting, but I always like to feel like I’ve earned the scenery.  The evening light lent a nice color to the landscape around the reservoir.  The uphill walk back to the carpark was nothing compared to what I had just done.

Waitakere Reservoir
Waitakere Reservoir

You can view the full gallery of 22 picture below.  To view on imgur click here.

4 thoughts on “Cascade Kauri & Waitakere Dam”

Comments are closed.