Ian Wells + Cutty Grass Tracks & back
Head to Ian Wells Track off Piha road.
You can either park alongside the gate or you can make the most of the large car park, close to 100 metres on the opposite side of the road for the Upper Nihotupu Reservoir.
This starts off as a partially gravel flattish 4WD track/road. After about 5 minutes the track forks. To the right and downwards leads to a disused Auxiliary Dam and straight ahead the Ian Wells Track. After checking out the dam, we continue back on the track, after
the fork, the gravel stops, the bush closes in and the track slopes upwards on orangey clay. Being wet, it was slippery. This is really where the Ian Wells Track begins.
It continues upwards at an easy gradient for a few minutes before flattening off. There is plenty of Rimu about and at the flatter part is quite boggy, there are plenty of big muddy puddles and the occasional small creek trickling across. After about half an hour or so we reach a stream crossing. We also notice here that the bush has become more dense and as is it was raining the light here was like twilight. There is lots of different moss about too. The track runs alongside this delightful stream for a bit before we cross it again. The track then heads upwards at a slight gradient. After about an hour from starting out, this track ends at the T junction of the Cutty Grass Track going both left and right.
We head left. This track does not have hardly any Cutty Grass at all, but a fair amount of Kio Kio & Kanuka lining the sides. Actually it’s a fairly uneventful wide (easily wide
enough for a quad bike) track gently sloping upwards. There is also the odd power pole about and power lines overhead, which really detracted from the nature of the bush. As there was torrential rain we were appreciative that it made plenty of mud and large puddles to mix it up a bit. After about half an hour the track ends at a gravel drive (which leads down to Anawhata Rd, after crossing over the Ridge Road Track).
To our right we see an marked track with stairs. We decide to investigate and follow upwards for a couple of minutes and we discover a locked hut. There is a covered veranda with seats which we utilise to enjoy morning tea -a nice hot cuppa and some golden crunch cookies out of the wind and rain. Warmed up we retrace out steps and make our way back down the Cutty Grass Track, we pass by the junction to the Ian Wells Track and continue straight ahead to see if there is anything further on the other end of the Cutty Grass Track. Besides plenty of puddle splashing and keeping an eye out for falling tree branches abd power lines (due to the howling wind) there’s not too much out of the ordinary to note. Some of the puddles were pretty deep and muddy though, so there was plenty of fun had by all. After less than an hour from the Anawhata Road end, the Cutty Grass Track ends at Scenic Drive.
We now back track to the junction again and head left back into the Ian Wells Track. It
felt much nicer being back on a narrower track with the dense bush cover again. Less than half an hour later we arrive back at the stream again and find a nice spot and tuck into our lunch of Harissa Wraps. Refuelled , we make the second stream crossing than continue on the flat part of the track. Since last passing through here a couple of hours prior, the muddy puddles have got considerably larger and deeper and the boggy bits boggier, making our back track all the more merrier.
Just over 4 hours later we reach the end of the Ian Wells Track and make it back to the car delightfully caked in mud and sodden.
Level of Difficulty
4 Hours (Spring 2012)