Karamatura - Fletcher - Donald McLean Track Loop
Head to carpark (down a gravel drive) opposite Huia Museum.
Straight ahead alongside the Karamatura Stream is the start of the Karamatura Track. This starts off as a flat gravel walkway designed for the masses. You pass a bridge and then you come across the Fletcher Track on the left. We head left.
This starts off straight up orangey clay and is pretty steep and wide (and pretty, slippery when wet). There are also quite a few young kauri about.
After about half an hour the track flattens off a bit and there are some pretty cool big trees here , there one particular one where the track goes under two huge trees that have merged into one. There is plenty of mud on this flat part and starts to incline upwards again, gently at first then steep again. On the steepest part where there are rocks, there are roots to hang on to help you up.
At the top you come to a ridge with a cool right angled tree which seems to be designed by mother nature as a seat for weary trampers that have just made it up a long steep track. At this point the track veers upwards to the right, but there is also a track heading to the left which leads to a magnificent view point of Huia Bay below and of Auckland beyond. As this also happened to be around morning tea time and the sun was shining, this was the perfect place for a cuppa and some golden crunch cookies.
We headed back on the track and continued upwards (this time a bit more of a gradual climb) and along the ridge of the Fletcher track. The trees are a tad different up here and there is also plenty of cool moss about. Also being on ridge you get a few sneak views on either side in between gaps in the bush. As we are continuing constantly upwards, we notice we are getting pretty high up. At one point we can see views of the Manukau on the left and we are looking down on Mt Donald McLean.
The track then undulates a bit testing out the fitness. After the last bit of up, we finish this track after about 1 ½ hours. Here there is a junction of the Donald McLean Track going both left and right. We decide to head left and head toward Mt Donald McLean. This is a pretty easy walk starting off flat then heading downwards than back up again. This track also passes the junction for the Bob Gordon Track on the right. After about 20 minutes or so we reach the end of the track (noticing the junction for the Puriri Ridge Track on our right, towards the end) and come to the carpark at the end out Mt Donald McLean Rd.
We cross the carpark to the sign for the Summit & continue and up that for about 10 minutes are rewarded with a stunning panoramic view out over the Manukau Harbour, the Heads and Auckland City way in the distance. From here the waves of where the Tasman meets the Manukau Harbour look frozen. There are view point platforms on two opposite sides of the summit both giving great views. After soaking up the view, we back track to the junction of the Fletcher Track (on our right), but continue straight ahead on the Donald McLean track.
This track is pretty flat, somewhere between the two junctions on the left for the Bob Gordon track we see the biggest fungi above which almost looks like a dinner plate attached to a tree. About 40 minutes we come to the junction of the Karamatura Forks. We head right on the Karamatura Track and are welcomed with plenty of mud. This track starts of fairly flat, but soon descends fairly steeply and offering views now and then of the Waitaks.
About 45 minutes or so of careful footing we make it to the bottom and to a stream crossing . This track continues over the stream straight ahead, but we see a sign to the Karamauta Falls on the left. We head left for 5 minutes and come across beautiful secluded falls where there is a great big rock over looking them and in a sunbeam. Our tummies were rumbling and we found this the perfect spot for lunch.
Afterwards we back tracked to the stream crossing and continued on the Karamatura Track which continued along a the Karamaututa stream (not the one we crossed) and also downwards some more. We also came a across some great bit mossy rocks over hanging a strange type of bog. We also pass the junction on the left to the Tom Thumb track. Towards the end of this track it gets flatish and is a gravel path again . Also at the start of this gravel is the junction to the Karamatura Loop track on our right, we continue past.
After about an hour from starting the Karamatura Tk, we see the start of Fletcher Tk on the right and continue straight past and make our way back where we came, back along the bridge and to the carpark. This loop took a bout 4 ¾ hrs in total.
Level of Difficulty
Total Loop Time
4.75 Hours (Spring 2011)
3.5 Hours - anticlockwise loop only,
omitting Mt Donald McLean (Spring 2014)
2.75 Hours - clockwise loop only.
omitting Mt Donald McLean (Winter 2015)
3 Hours - anticlockwise loop only (Winter 2015).
There are 2 additional tracks off the Fletcher.
These aren't marked on the map, but are marked with bottle tops.
1st one was coming uphill (clockwise direction) There is a green top leading to a track on the left with a spectacular view over Huia - this is about a 15 minute track each way. This track does split though to the right just before the viewpoint, heading down towards Little Huia, but is clearly distinguishable.
2nd one was visible (still clockwise direction) sometime after your first views of the Manukau Heads. There is a blue top on your left. This leads to the rock outcrop between the Nutts Stream & the Marama Steam. This looks over Little Huia. There'a a sheer drop & isn't for the faint hearted. This is about 20 minutes each way.