Head to Lone Kauri Rd Car Park.
We start out on Odlins Timber track to the left. After a few minutes of flat-ish track through the Manuka Trees, it descends down some pretty wide earth stairs . These are not evenly spaced and can be a tad slippery at times, so watch your step. There is plenty of moss of both sides & lush bush beyond.
After about 20 minutes or so we reach the Pararaha Stream which we cross. Immediately on the other side and heading right is un marked track. We leave the Odlins Timber Track & head right. This track is considerably narrower (& muddier) and also quite overgrown with kio kio (ferns) obscuring your footing below at times. This track continues alongside the Pararaha Stream until for another 15 minutes or so until we come out where the Cowan Stream flows down to meet the Pararaha Stream.
We cross the Cowan Stream and we arrive at an unmarked junction. The unmarked track straight ahead leads alongside the Pararaha Stream (downstream) to the left the unmarked track leads alongside the Cowan Stream (upstream). We head left. From here the track follows alongside for a short distance before heading back into the stream back and we find ourselves crossing the stream again. This happens numerous times, that often we walk through the stream bypassing the tracks on either side. So forget about maintaining dry feet.
It’s not hard to find a picturesque spot for lunch being in a stream in the Waitaks. With our rumbling tummies (due to a morning yoga session, earlier on) we perch up on some rocks mid stream in a tranquil setting to tuck into our Roast Vege, Beetroot, Feta & Spinach Wraps. Refuelled we continue on. After atleast 45 minutes up the Cowan Stream we encounter our first serene waterfall. We climb up the rock to the left and stop to take in our surrounds including some very cool & lush moss (worthy of a pat) on the side of the falls.
We then continue up on the left. The climb is steep and precarious so you really need to have your eyes on your hand & footholds. We are then greeted by a series of beautiful falls with deep blue water holes, each looking inviting for a dip and each enticing us for a few minutes to soak in the beauty around us. We continue on up the next fall until we reach a pretty cool deep waterhole that even has a wee ledge into the water. This certainly had our names on it, so it was in for a refreshing cold dip. Invigorated we continue our way upwards.
From here is a steep climb to the right with a very helpful rope to hold on to, and then a wee scramble. The views from the top of these waterfalls is also pretty cool too. There is plenty more shallow wading through the stream and also walking on partial tracks on either side of the stream. Shortly we encounter a pretty high waterfall with a huge log caught up on it from the old milling days. We tackle this ascent by a steep scramble up to our right. The view looking down from the top of this one is pretty impressive.
From here the track mostly keeps the side of the stream, with a couple more crossings and perhaps a final wee wade for good measure. We pass a large waterhole one with a swing (for the daredevils) and then a couple more smaller ones, before track goes through a bit of cutty grass, We encounter a warning sign advising “route for experienced trampers” and shortly after, we meet up at the unmarked junction of the Odlins Timber track going left & right. This made it roughly about 1 ½ hours up Cowan Stream.
We head left, away from the stream. The Track then undulates on a fairly wide orangey brown clay track which can get a tad slippery if wet. We get occasional viewpoints mostly to our left looking out towards Baldy and the Pararaha Stream. After about 45 minutes, the track crossed the Pararaha Stream. From here it was back tracking for about another 20 minutes up the stairs that we had originally came down. Total Tramp time about 3 1/4 hours.
Level of Difficulty
3.25 Hours (Autumn 2014)
3.25 Hours (Winter 2015)