Thompson Track, Katikati, Mt Eliza Mine Track, Waitekohe stream, Mt Eliza mine, North south track,
Eliza Mine Loop Track, Kaimai Ranges
Head to carpark at the end of Thompsons Track off SH2, just past Katikati.
The end of the road ,where the gravel ends actually differs from the map. Where the Mt Eliza Mine Track meets Thompson Track is where the carpark is. Beyond that, the Thompsons Track straight ahead is for extreme 4WD vehicles and trail bikes.
At the carpark, we follow the signage on the right for the Mt Eliza Mine Track. The track starts off at an easy gradient surrounded by tall punga trees and crosses a small bridge. It’s not long before the track crosses and then runs alongside and above the Waitekohe Stream. The track then heads gradually upwards. At one point, through the trees, we can see waterfalls below with pools, and we also pass an unmarked track heading down towards them. Being mid Winter & raining we continue past, but keep in mind for our return in warmer months.
After about 40 minutes, we reach a junction. Straight ahead is the track linking to the Thompsons Track. To the right and upwards the Eliza Mine Track continues. We head right. This track is now considerably steeper. After another 40 minutes we reach the signage for the Mt Eliza Mine: 50 metres, which there is a downwards path to left. We have a we look, but as we expected, it’s another dark hole going into the side of the hill . We continue back on our way upwards. We stop track side for morning tea & cookies & soak in some of the cool bush atmosphere. As we gain a bit of height, many of the surrounding trees are generously covered in moss giving it a nice Elven vibe. There are a few gaps in the trees where there would be a view eastwards, but today was raining and we were in the cloud. On the plus side the rain contributes to plenty of mud and the vibrance of the lush green moss. Around the top of Mt Eliza, it flattens out a wee bit and somewhere up here is some cool grass with mossy trees coming out from it.
About another 45 minutes or so later, the Mt Eliza Track ends at a junction of the North South Track heading both left (South) and right (North). We head left. This track was narrow in parts through dense bush and wound around the side of the hill over the occasional beginnings of streams. At one point the track came out, where there was an elevated clearing dirt mound that the track curled around. Our view in the rain was very limited but we could make a out a bit of the deep green bush valley below amongst the ominous white clouds. Exposed as it was, it still had a great vibe, so we chose this as our lunch spot . Here we tucked into our Kumara & Chic Pea Pattie with Blue Cheese Wraps & gulped down a hot cuppa tea. After close to half an hour on the track we come out of the bush to exposed hill side. From here I bet there’s a brilliant view looking westwards over the Waikato. This bit makes me very keen to return.
Here we follow the occasional marker pole and use a bit of common sense and continue straight ahead on this undulating hill. The exposed part , also being a tad windy , lasts for about 20 minutes or so before heading back in the bush just for a wee while before we come out again and head downwards. After about an hour or so on this track we reach a very large muddy torn up area where 4WD vehicles & trail bikes have passed over making a crossroads intersection. We don’t see any signage. Straight ahead and up the hill the North South Track continues Southwards. We deduce that we’ve reached the junction where the Thompson’s Track crosses over.
We head left. This is a muddy clay exposed (although still surrounded by plenty of bush) track wide enough for 4WD vehicles. There is plenty of evidence of this traffic by the tyre tracks and also unfortunately more rubbish than I’ve seen on any other track. This track winds its way downwards and in some parts makes you really question how the vehicles can actually pass through without getting stuck. There are some extreme slopes & trenches, as well as massive deep muddy puddles. There are quite a few narrow ledges to walk to the side to avoid getting stuck in the clay mud. As it is, you won’t escape from this track covered in the stuff which is an added attraction with wet weather. After about an hour and a half later we see a sign on the track facing towards the bush stating the Thompsons Track carpark is 40 minutes away. Opposite this sign, heading into the bush we gather is the track linking to the Mt Eliza Track.
We continue winding our way downwards and pretty much at the bottom is a bog with various bits of metal and wood & rubbish strewn about. We keep to the side & use some of these random objects to walk across to stop us sinking too deep. After about 2 hours or so of Thompson’s Track, we reach the car. Total tramp time about 5 ½ Hours.
Level of Difficulty
Easy to Moderate
5.5 Hours (Winter 2013)