Farley - Kakamatua Ridge - Upper Nihotupu - Panto Loop (Saber Tooth)
Head to the Carpark on Huia Rd, just after and opposite the first turn off to Cornwallis Beach (between Pine Ave and Cornwallis Rd)
Here you will see the sign for the start of the Farley track which starts off fairly flatish (just a slight incline) and is now gravel underfoot for about 5 minutes and you then reach a junction. On the right leads to the Panto Track and veering to the left the Farley track continues. We follow the Farley track where it gradually slopes downwards starting off with Pine trees before eventually giving way to ferns, Nikau and Parataniwha amongst heaps of other stuff.
Pretty early on we cross over the Kakamatua Stream (which is pretty wide for the Waitaks). There are plenty of rocks, so you can still keep your feet dry . After about half an hour or so into the track we come across a delightful wee waterfall which could be a stop for morning tea, but it was too early and we hadn’t really worked up a thirst, so we push on. This track seemed fairly flatish with slight inclines and declines, mud, moss and dense canopy. Lots of cool Nikaus , ferns and moss too, amongst tonnes of other stuff. There’s also another crossing which is more of a creek than a stream. It’s quite deep and narrow, busy easy enough to step across . After that the track heads upwards at a steady incline.
About an hour from starting out we reach the junction of the Kakamatua Ridge Track on the right and the Farley Track continues straight on. We head right. The Kakamatua Ridge Track starts off at a steady incline. As you gain a bit of height you can see Huia Dam road on your left in between the trees. There are also some views out onto the Manukau Harbour too. Before we know it, this ridge track heads downwards again and we see a huge Totara covered in Rata and a bit of a clearing trackside, where we can sit on some dead ferns. This made a perfect spot to stop for a cuppa and golden crunch cookies.
Afterwards we continue down amongst lots of young skinny Kauris. After about ½ hour or so from starting this track it ends at the junction of the T junction of the Parau Track going both left and right. We head right. About 3 minutes later we approach the junction for the Nihotupu Ridge Track on our left, and the Parau Track continues straight ahead. We head left. In this part of the Waitaks it is less dense and the track is not always clearly defined, so keep an eye out for the markers. The track starts off at a steady incline to start with. Just before it heads down again, there is an unmarked track on the left going upwards (we’ve checked this out previously and it doesn’t really head anywhere, not even to a view point that we anticipated), which we continue past.
The track then goes downwards on a narrow ledge at first then continues steadily down. It’s not long before there is a pretty steady upwards climb, enough to really warm you up on a winters day. There are plenty of Kauri, Rimu and Totara on this track too. It’s not long before you gain a bit of height again and get some nice views (when you turn around) of the Manukau and Waitaks. After close to an hour we reach the junction to the Summit Track on the left, which we pass by and continue straight
ahead. The bush is also less dense here too, with a bit of Supplejack about and
the track is not as defined here as well, so again, keep your eyes out for the
markers. After a while we start to get a few peaks in between the trees out to
the left of the Lower Nihotupu Reservoir . It’s around this time we also find a
nice flat spot track side on some more dead ferns, (this stuff really comes in
handy for sitting on and keeping a dry bum) so we tuck into our Sarnie and a nice hot cuppa .
Refuelled we get back into it and about 2 hours from starting we reach the end of the track at the T junction of the Parau track going both left and right. We head left. Another 5 minutes later we reach the junction of the Panto Track on our right and the Parau Track continues straight onwards. We turn right on the Panto Track. This is an easy going track which starts off fairly flat through pine trees (and view of Parau
and Big Muddy Creek on the left below) . There have been some trees cut down
here and it looks like this may be a spot for a potential lookout platform.
The track then gradually slopes downwards on slippery orangey brown clay amongst
plenty Kanuka and Ponga trees. After about 40 minutes we reach the junction
where this track ends and the Farley Track is to our left and straight on.
We head straight on and back track to arrive at the carpark about 5 minutes later.
Total Loop time 5
Level of Difficulty
5 Hours (Winter 2012)