Kohukohunui Trig Loop
Head to the Waharau Park on East Coast Rd. There’s an information kiosk here where you can grab a map of the park. They’re not too keen on signs here, everything is colour coded, that’s where your map
Head straight down the drive & keep an eye out for the coloured marker poles. Red is the colour for the Waharau Ridge Track. The poles will have more than one colour as there are some smaller loops using the same paths. Anyway we veer right at an intersection (as road does continue straight on) up wee drive, where we see the markers with red until we reach where the road ends at a fence & we park up. We go through the gate into a grassy paddock following the easily visible tri coloured markers (Red: Waharau Ridge Track Loop, Yellow: Upper Link Track Loop & Blue: Lower Link Track Loop). After about 100 metres or so, we head right & into the bush on a wide track.
Before you head into the bush, turn around & look behind you – this is a really nice park & the views of Coromandel over the firth of Thames are quite something. After another 100m or so we reach a fence with a stile to climb over and also coming up on our right is another path (as this tri-coloured track also has another starting point). Once over the fence the track narrows and starts off at a easy upwards gradient on Yellowy, orangey clay (this stuff is really slippery when wet) and a small bit of gravel, but most has washed away. This track gets a little steeper at parts, & the occasion flat part (but not too many of those). You’ll encounter 3 junctions as you head up on this track as each loop makes their way back (on your left). After about an hour your get to the 3rd junction, This last one is a T junction with the Waharau Ridge Track on your left and the Kohukohunui Track on your right. We head right.
About 2 minutes later we reach another junction with the Mangatangi Track on the left and the Kohukohunui Track continuing straight ahead. We continue straight head with mostly up for about 45 minutes when we arrive at another junction. This one had us scratching our heads for a minute. Just before the junction, there is a
sign: Kohukohunui Track. Straight ahead after the junction, is a sign referring to some place/destination not on the map: Tapakanga . On the left there was a sign: To Moumoukai Hill Rd - 7 Hours.
There was no sign distinctly pointing towards Kohukohunui Track. This junction really could have done with a sign: To K Trig. Anyway , we let logic guide us and saw on our map that the track heading straight ahead would lead towards Orere Matingarahi Rd. So we deducted that heading left will continue our path on the Kohukohunui Track.
From here the track got a tad more rugged and overgrown with lots of kiokio grown right over the track from both sides that you couldn’t see your feet below and you had to push your way through. We also came across some long tussock grassy clearings where you get a few views and also came across Adam’s Lookout on the right, a viewing platform with great surrounding views of the Hunua Ranges , the Firth of Thames & the Coromandel. There’s also meant to be a campground here, if you’re keen on camping on a slope that’s also quite exposed to the wind. The Lookout would’ve made a nice tea stop, but it was too windy this time. We then make the most of the tussock grass & to relax in and had a nice warming cuppa with some golden crunch cookies.
Afterwards the track still overgrown with kiokio, undulates before getting to a steady theme of upwardsness. After a while the kio kio gives way to the bush and the air gets a tad cooler up here too. To our delight, up here is the best moss in Auckland to be found. There are heaps of different types and most of the trees are covered on the stuff, it’s also hanging down too.
After about 2 hours from the start of this track we reach our next junction. The Kohukohunui Track continues to our right and to the left is the track: To Mangatangi Ridge Track. The track namers must have little imagination in this region, as this link track I reckon, should have its own name. I believe it’s known as the Kohukohunui Trig Track, but a sign with that on it would be nice.
Anyway, we head left. To our displeasure, we also encounter a bit of board walk, appreciate the effort involved n stuff, but it just doesn’t feel natural to walk on & wood is pretty slippery once wet – give me nature’s mud any day.
At least there’s lots of nice moss to enjoy up here. After about 5 minutes or so we encounter the K Trig Hut on our left. We have a look inside and are most impressed by a nice clean, dry hut with a bunk beds & a guestbook to sign.
We continue on up the path (past all sorts of what I gather is weather equipment) for about 20 metres or so, before we’re greeted by the K Trig, indicating the highest natural point in Auckland. There’s also a lookout tower up here too, granting spectacular panoramic views. Once our eyes are satiated, we continue on the track. After about 25 minutes or so from starting this link track we reach our next T junction with the Mangatangi Track going both left and right. There is also a sign pointing to the right: To Mangtawhiri Track.
We head left. From here the track is mostly down. The bush is also less dense& there the track becomes less defined. We were very used to following the regularly posted orange triangles which were extremely helpful until we reached a part where there was no orange marker to be seen. After looking around for a minute or so & following the general direction of this poorly defined part of the track we found a yellow marker. We must have missed the colour transition, or maybe there was a marker missing, so be prepared for this bit .
The yellow markers are definitely not as distinct as the orange ones –especially in late Autumn when there’s plenty of yellow leaves about. From here there were plenty of these yellow markers & we continued on our mostly downwards journey. At some stage the markers turn Orange again, but this change is easily seen.
After a while the green mossy trees gave way to kio kio & spots of Tussock grass on a types of clearing with a great views of the Hunua Ranges. This grass was particularly long and perfect for lying back in to enjoy a lunch of sarnies along with a nice hot cuppa. We continued our descent which we noticed was a fair bit steeper on this track which took us down to the Mangtangi Stream. With still crossing on the rocks, the stream still went slightly over shoe level – good to cool down the feet & give your boots a bit of a clean at the same time. After the stream, the track headed upwards and it wasn’t long before we reached the 1000 Acre Camp Site on our left. In reality, it was more like an eighth of an acre clearing which was pretty uneven ground, but it does have a nice decent sized, clean shed with benches for food prep, etc. There was one small flat space behind the shed that wouldn’t be too bad for pitching a tent.
The track continues slightly upwards still before it flattens out & starts its more or less constant descent. After about 1 ¾ hours from starting on this track we reach the intersection where this track meets up with the Kohukohunui Track. Here head right, and back track the way we initially came up. So it was another 2 minutes to the next intersection of the Waharau Loop Track going both left & right and we headed left. The constant descent I found was hard work on the knees and you really had to watch your footing as the clay underfoot was damn slippery. An hour later we were back at the car.
Total tramp time, just under 6 3/4 hours.
Level of Difficulty
Medium with bits of hard going
Total Loop Time
6.75 Hours -anticlockwise
7 Hours - clockwise