Piha Valley - Home - Marguerite - Kauri Grove - Kite Kite - Knutzen Track Loop
Head to the end of Glen Esk Road .
Start out on Piha Valley Tk for a few paces and look to your right, as the junction veers off to the Home track.
This is long steady ascent which tests the fitness levels a tad and has lots of young Kauri . You gain a bit of height here and walk along a ridge passing the Winstone Junction on your right and then roughly 20 mins later the Centennial to your left.
About 15 minutes later you arrive at the Marguerite Track on your right. This track descends pretty early on and has a nice damp valley feel. There’s plenty of moss and water dripping down the side of the track.
There are a couple of very small stream crossings, neither with ample space to really stop and spread out for a cuppa and biccies. We soon find a delightful place to stop, up the track a bit from the 2nd stream. This track has plenty of mud, downs and ups and great bush to keep us happy, but nothing too strenuous. Before we know it we pass the Lucy Cranwell Track on the right, but we’re content enough on this track, plus we’re keen to walk by the stream on the next connecting track.
From this junction we descend until we encounter the Stockwell Stream and the junction for the Kauri Grove Track on our right (the track to the left leads toward the road). We enjoy being stream-side for a while and the track rises and falls fairly gently with quite a few mature Kauri to look up and appreciate. This area is quite exposed to the sky which is quite a contrast to the canopy coverage of the Marguerite. There are plenty of tree roots to keep an eye out for which can be tricky looking down as you also want to look up at the wonderful trees.
We were looking for a lunch stop by the river but one of our team had a wee sprain from a big step down after a big tree root (again watch your footing). The sprain was not dehabilitating but it showed us another lesson of the bush. BE PREPARED FOR THE UNEXPECTED & CARRY A FIRST AID KIT.
We decide best to stop here on the side of the track for lunch and a cuppa. After a stop and brief ankle recovery we all head onwards although at a slightly slower pace. We do pass a lovely wee waterfall with a small bridge crossing and afterwards we encounter a bend in the stream which would be the perfect place for a future lunch stop (and perhaps a paddle into the stream). After a while the stream gets wider and gets joined by a couple more streams. There are a couple of places that seem idyllic with pools for a swim, but maybe in summer perhaps. We also pass Winstone track which crosses over (in both directions) & Ussher Cross.
We then arrive at the junction of the Connect track and the top of the Kite Kite Falls. There are pools up here also for a sit down and a cool down in the summer. You can see where the rock has been cut for keeping beams in place for the dam that was once here. These also look like great places to sit. The view from the top if the falls is pretty impressive.
We cross the stream at the top of the falls and head left toward the Kitekite track. More great views looking towards the falls to the left. We go down a few steps until getting to the junction of the Knutzen Track. This leads down to the bottom of the falls.
The Kitekite falls are most impressive, but is also a popular spot for visitors so it’s unlikely to get this spot to yourself. Cross over the rocks and up the stairs where there is a pretty good view point of the falls in their entirety. There is a picnic table here and some information on the damn and Mr Knutzen the mill manager. From here, it’s all down hill gravel track and you come across the junction where this meets up again with the Kitekite track and you are alongside the stream and amongst the Nikaus.
Once it flattens out we encounter a wooden bridge that we cross and find more information on the old milling days (of destruction). On this side, the track is Bryers Walk. We pass a grassy clearing with more picnic tables and pass the junctions to the Home and Piha Valley Tracks on our right, across the last bridge and back to the carpark.
Level of Difficulty
Easy to Medium
Total Loop Time
4.5 hours (Winter 2011)