View over the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula

Waharau

In which Miles visits Waharau Regional Park in the Hunua Ranges.

You can view the full gallery of 9 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Fortunately I remembered to check the tides, and discovered that this was not a good day to try to finish the North Shore Coastal Walk.

The Hunua Ranges is a large regional park in Auckland’s southeast.  It looks to be about as large as the Waitakere Ranges in the northwest.  Both contain within them a number of other regional parks.  From Auckland’s southeast you can see the Coromandel Peninsula across the Firth of Thames.

View over the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula
View over the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula

Many tracks in the Hunua Ranges were closed through the middle of July for goat control!  “The control is part of an annual programme to reduce goat numbers and protect the high conservation value of the park. The programme is proving to be successful but requires an ongoing commitment to maintain low goat numbers within the Regional Park.  Control will be carried out by contracted professional hunters using dogs and rifles. Helicopters will not be used as part of this operation.”  You can read more about the goat control program here.

Feral goats in the Hunua Ranges - from alpineclub.org.nz
Feral goats in the Hunua Ranges – from alpineclub.org.nz

I saw no other people at Waharau Regional Park during my entire visit.  I parked next to a sort of visitors center that was closed, although the toilets, which could be locked, were open.  Behind it is a pasture full of sheep.  All of the trails start by passing through a number of campgrounds together before branching off in different directions.  They are well marked with colored-coded posts.  I chose the Waharau Ridge Track, a 3.5 hour loop.  It starts with a long steep climb through the bush before offering some views over forest and pasture land, as well as over the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula.

Waharau view
Waharau view

The trail was a bit muddy, but the ground contains a lot of gravel that kept things from getting too slick.

Waharau Regional Park
Waharau Regional Park

As evening approached the blue skies got a bit hazy.

view from Waharau Regional Park
view from Waharau Regional Park

It grew dark before I finished my walk, and near the start of the tracks there are no signs directing one to the carpark.  I got lost among the campgrounds, and had to look at the color-coded signposts and deduct where I was based on which colors were present, and which were missing.  This gave me a good idea where I was, but to find out which direction I was heading I just had to walk and see.  It took me about 1.5 hours to find my way back to the carpark.  I used a flashlight app on my phone to see my way; fortunately I keep a spare battery in my camera pack.  I resolved to keep a flashlight in my pack, and make a habit of downloading Google map data for the areas I visit, and also dropping a pin where I’m parked.

I saw no goats during my walk.  The goat control program is working!

You can view the full gallery of 9 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

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