The walk starts in the Hunua Falls carpark. You begin by crossing the river by bridge, giving a great view of the waterfall.
We headed along to the base of the falls first, although this wasn't actually on the walk we were doing, and also ventured to the Lower Falls Lookout. We tried to go to the Upper Falls Lookout but the track was poorly signed and we ended up on the Massey Track instead. Unfortunately we didn't know this and went back down the Massey Track when we needed to go up it.
We sorted it out reasonably quickly, but this was really a bad sign for what was to be quite a bad walk.
The idea was to walk to the Cossey Reservoir and back. And we did this. But the walk there was two hours, mostly uphill and often very steep or stepped, through bush that got rather dull after the first hour, and afforded little in the way of views.
There was a great kauri grove not long before the Massey Track meets the Cossey-Wairoa Track, which you follow to the reservoir, and there was a lookout over the reservoir itself, but generally the bush was too overgrown in the few lookout spots to actually see much. The below shot is one such example of the frustrating attempts to take some interesting snaps:
The reservoir was quite nice, but somehow I managed to produce very dark pics.
Again the lack of good signage was frustrating. We kept walking around the reservoir and in the end took a bit of a punt on which way to go as there were no signs. Luckily we were right.
More interesting than the two hour slog there was the one hour walk back to the carpark along the Cossey Gorge Track. Again I was frustrated that we could hear the stream but not really see it. This is the best view we got. Actually, it was the only view we got.
The Cossey Gorge Track was more gentle, although still satisfyingly rugged, including crossing a stony river bed (which wasn't too much of a hassle after Maungaroa).
Plus I felt much better for coming across two friendly German Shepherds and their walkers.
And then, not a moment too soon and with legs aching from all that up, we were back at the carpark.
I wouldn't have minded this walk so much if I'd had some inkling of just how much up there would be. The book graded it a 2 out of 3 for difficulty, but I would definitely put it at 3, and the pain in my legs today would testify to that too.
The tracks are generally well formed, covered in stone chip, but the signage is a problem. Normally I would have picked up a brochure of the walks from the information point in the carpark, but there were none there on this occasion, so perhaps with one of those life would have been easier.
Despite the detours and frequent stops for poor old me (Nickname Pending found it challenging too, but is not cursed as I am with short hamstring and calf muscles which make uphill torture at times) it took us pretty much bang on 3 hours. I strongly recommend avoiding the heat of the day (we started at 2pm but were still quickly drenched in sweat).