Friday, December 01, 2006

Perimeter Track, Wenderholm Regional Park - 2nd Dec. 2006

Today we headed north, along State Highway One, past Orewa, and then Waiwera, to sunny Wenderholm and it's Regional Park. As with Cascades Kauri Regional Park, the walks here are well organised - with a useful map at the start of the tracks which takes you through the options, including which are suitable for buggies (or not ok for jandals). The tracks are clearly sign-posted throughout, for the most part, and when it might get confusing, with a number of tracks converging, their are colour-coded posts to help. Big ups to the ARC.

We picked the Perimeter Track, recommended in our Day Walks of Auckland book. This involved a lot of up at the start, as we climbed Maungatauhoro, a former pa site. The tracks up included a lot of steps and boardwalks, as well as several well placed lookouts and a chance to see an old midden (which rather reminded me of why I found archaeology so boring at university).

The views from Maungatauhoro were great, and luckily the weather just got better as the day progressed.
The start of the Puhoi river, below:
Looking east from the top:
Once you reach the top you can either walk back the way you came or take the tramping track down, which is largely unformed and would be very difficult in wet weather. We both had decent walking shoes so we headed down the tougher section, and the grips on my Tevas were indispensable.

Eventually we came out at Kokoru Bay, where in a former life I once cleared some bush (for reasons unknown) during one of those pointless weeks at the end of Sixth Form. Nice view across the river to Waiwera itself.

However the noise from State Highway One is pretty full on from about half-way down the hill until the track stops following the road and turns back into the park around half an hour later. At one point there was a whole gaggle of loud motorbikes heading across the Waiwera bridge, and even though we were a considerable distance away the noise reverberated around the bush and disturbed the peace.

The bush is not as regenerated as at Cascades Kauri, and I don't think I've ever seen so many nikaus in one place. Bird-wise we heard tui, saw piwakawaka (fantails), and of course blackbirds and thrush. My moss obsession continued.

Almost the entire walk is through bush cover, until you start walking back to the carparks, along the road into the park itself. Here there are cows and sheep, not to mention a really large number of ducks. Before heading back to the car, after about an hour and a quarter of walking, we decided to have a quick squizz at Couldrey House.

Lovely spot, unfortunately it was $2 each to go in, which is fine except when you don't have any cash on you.

Then we decided to walk back to our vehicle along the beach. In a vain attempt to extend the tan on my feet beyond the patches my sandals expose I took my Tevas off, forgetting how hot the sand can get on a sunny day. The beach and picnic areas were being well used, and we spotted some oystercatchers on the sand, and of course the ubiquitous gulls.

Great set-up, interesting walk with information points along the way, definitely keen to come back and do some of the other tracks in the area, particularly the Puhoi walk which includes the pa area itself.

(Pictures added 7th Dec)

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