We decided to walk down that unforgettable track!
The planned track and directions are marked in blue color.
Meeting Point: 35 Falls Rd, Waitakere at 8.00 AM
Start Point: End Fall Road Parking
Start time: 8.00 AM
Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes
- Ka Sing
We never were so happy after first tramp of the season. One of the smoothest finishes we ever had for the first tramp!
The Brave Ones:
- Ka Sing
Duration: 7 hours (16.8 KMs)
Final Meeting Point: Mix Moon, New Lynn
GPX – Nitesh:
Max elevation: 369 m
Min elevation: -7 m
Total climbing: 687 m
Total descent: -687 m
Total Time: 07:04:17
GPX – Kema:
Max elevation: 355 m
Min elevation: 38 m
Total climbing: 1755 m
Total descent: -1755 m
Total Time: 07:11:52
GPX Simulation (all in one)
Few More Details…
end of fall road parking > whatitiri track > long road track > off-track towards lake wainamu track > lake wainamu track > houghton gully > wainamu junction > smyth ridge track > upper kauri track > end of fall road parking
This was one tough track from the start but then that’s been the case with us for every first tramp of the season. The tramp was rescheduled multiple times, in fact, changed from cramp to tramp etc etc. before we all were able to decide on one fateful day. Before we voyaged on the tramp, it rained on Sunday, then on Tuesday, then heavily on Thursday night but none of them could deter our determination despite the forecast for the showers on tramp day.
It was great feeling to see each other after long time especially because now we are more scattered than ever. We gathered at end of Fall Road parking at the scheduled time – there is a big golf course and a cafe around. After clicking some photos, analysing the area, we hit the ground hard only to realize soon after that we hit it in wrong direction. After 10-12 minutes of retreat from wrong direction, we were on to the scheduled track. So now, if you check again, the simulation of two trackers merged together by our gpx expert Kema, you will understand what we were doing over upper kauri track.
We crossed one stream at very start which did a good job of wetting our shoes.
Whatitiri track was quite plain for some distance but you could feel the damp surface and the effect of rain. You can easily follow the directions as long as you can figure out the track since at some places, you have to jump over the fence, dodge friendly cows grazing over the farms and figure out if it is safe to touch the fence or not, thanks to some dodgy circuits on display.
The views are amazing and you feel like lost in some beautiful valley especially on the days like this when it is drizzling on and off, and you are walking in the middle of fog – gives you feeling of walking among clouds. This whole tramp was recorded by Ka Sing on his fancy Go Pro and if he is kind enough, we will be able to have it here. He is great at video making and editing as we have seen in past.
Most of the track is covered with grass and therefore there wasn’t much struggle for us to walk up to the long road track where we reached within an hour.
After some time of walking, we were supposed to go off-track which we had planned in past as well but never successfully executed. This time, thanks to our awesome trackers – Chee, Kema and Kirill along-with wonderful organizer, Likith, we were able to go off-track exactly where we planned for. From the top of the hill, you get a very beautiful view of lake and sand dunes.
On the way down, there were low-lying bushes covering the surface and you couldn’t be sure of the ground to put your feet on. To complement that, there was awesome job done by cattle to dig up the soft surface that even if you figured out where to step on, there were high chances of you stepping into one of those deeply dug footsteps. It was quite steep downhill all the way to the lake and despite it being a challenge, we all were excited to have explored our first off-track. It took us about an hour to complete this part. BTW Startving has funny lyrics as we figured out over this part. All this time, David was leading us in the front – he was walking quite comfortably while some of us already started breathing heavily.
We ended up little further from actual plan and covered a longer track around lake following lake wainamu track but good news was that there were no fences / blockages over off-track. From here you can either plan to go to the sand dunes on the right and then come back to join over the lake wainamu track which sounds kind of ideal when sand is wet on a day like this or you can choose to go left and continue over lake wainamu track. By now we were already 4 hour into the tramp and most of us had already been through sand dunes in past, therefore we wanted to find some place to have something to eat and therefore decided to continue on lake wainamu track – the same track that we had covered during our first tramp of the last season. The difference is that this time were determined to get it right!
Just before starting on to houghton gully, at the end of lake wainamu track, there are beautiful falls and small water reserves where we decided to take some rest and have afternoon snacks. We also had small tour of falls all the way up and back. It was half past noon when we continued on to houghton gully from where it started getting dirtier, muddier and clumsier.
It was wet and muddy all around and you start skidding here and there while trying to maintain your balance. Thankfully no one lost their balance till the end but of course, lot of effort was spent in saving the sliding which resulted in taking more stops than we wanted to. This also resulted in less photos and more hustle to finish and get done with this part of the tramp. David was maintaining his pace as well as the lead all this time which played as a motivation for all of us to match with his speed. On the way you come across a tree-gate.
We took a stop at wainamu junction to pay our tributes to our old mistakes which led to Kema track discovery. Then we jumped on to smyth ridge track which was equally muddy and took almost an hour before it joined upper kauri track. Now this track turned out to be the best track of our whole tramp. Despite being lengthy, it was plain and well covered for most of the part which made our finishing very smooth. This was the happiest part of our muddy journey all the way from houghton gully and biggest factor for us to finish our tramp on a happy note. Towards the end of this track, you see a big Kauri tree – a big tourist attraction in this area.
We completed our tramp in almost 7 hours which was less than what we had estimated – kind of one more achievement for us.
Thanks to Sudhagar, we had the pleasure of having hot tea just after reaching the car park. From there on, we moved to our final meeting point, Mix Moon for our dinner. It was an amazing day.
One big learning from this tramp for us was not to go on a tramp when it has rained in a week and there was no sun after that. Better to wait for gap of at least two sunny days after it has rained for tracks to dry up.
And here is my favorite photo from this tramp –