Waharau Regional Park, East Coast Road, Puriri Grove Track, Waharau Loop Track, Lower Link Track, Upper Link Track, Waihihi Stream, Waharau Ridge track, Workman Track, Whakatiwai Track, Kohukohunui, Mangatangi Stream, Mangatangi Ridge Track, Kohukohunui track, Waihihi Stream, Waharau Park
Mangatangi Stream + Waharau Ridge + Waihihi Stream Loop , Hunua Ranges
Head to Waharau Regional Park on East Coast Road.
There is no signage here, just colour coding, so if you don’t have a map, grab one at the information kiosk. From here we drive straight down the drive until the very end and park by toilets that are by a gate.
Through the gate we start out on the Puriri Grove Track, although this is also known as part of the Waharau Loop Track and is marked with red marker poles. I don’t recall seeing one by the gate, but there was a red marker a minute or so up the track. It’s actually more of a 4WD road than a track and is gravel & clay underfoot and starts off at a very slight upwards gradient lined with Kanuka Trees. It then meanders around a few bends and undulates a bit. After about close to 20 minutes time we pass the first junction on our right of the Lower Link Track (with Blue markers) and about 5 minutes or so later we pass the next junction also on the right of the Upper Link Track (with Yellow markers).
After a few more minutes we cross the Waihihi Stream and from there the incline gets a fair bit steeper and you get a steady climb giving you a pretty good work out. There is a pretty good view point on the bend where the track momentarily levels off before getting right back into the climb again. After 1 ¼ from starting out we reach the top and the track which ends at a junction. The Waharau Ridge Track goes both left (towards Workman Track & Whakatiwai Track) and right (towards Kohukohunui Track). There is also an unnamed track straight ahead leading down to the Mangatangi Stream.
We head straight ahead. This is a fairly overgrown track with plenty of dense Kiokio and a bit of Cutty Grass too (but not too much) and slopes at an easy downwards gradient. After a while we get to a bit of a clearing where we get a view of the valley below and can also make out the sounds of the stream. We decide to take advantage of this view point and stop for a cuppa & some Raisin Oat Cookies. We notice some beautiful Rata with their red flowers too. From here it didn’t take too long to get to the bottom of the valley, but down here it is even more overgrown with more Cutty Grass, Gorse and fallen trees to get through. We follow our ears and it’s about half an hour from the start of this unnamed track that we encounter the Mangatangi Stream.
We head right and wade through the stream, upstream. It’s not too deep , but the rocks are a tad slippery and move about underfoot so you really have to concentrate. After close to 10 minutes we see a junction where the stream forks we keep to the right on the larger body of water. The stream is quite exposed so glistens with the sun and it’s quite picturesque looking up & around the valley which surrounds us. The stream twists & turns and at one point is covered by bush and there are some cool mossy trees hanging over. After about an hour on the stream there is Cutty Grass either side and we then reach where the Mangatangi Ridge Track crossing left (towards Kohukohunui) & right (towards Waharau).
We head right and upwards. A few metres up the track we pass by the 1000 Acres Clearing Campsite which has a small clearing, a shed and a long drop. The track is quite wide (easily enough room for a quad bike) continues upwards at a steady easy gradient with plenty of big muddy puddles. After about 20 minutes or so the Mangatangi Ridge Track ends at the junction of the Kohukohunui Track going both left & right. We head right. This track was flat and also pretty wide. About 2 minutes or so later we reach our next junction with the Wahau Ridge Track going left (downwards) and also straight ahead (upwards).
We headed straight and up. This track is another 4WD track that inclines steadily upwards at an easyish gradient. There are occasional glimpses through the trees of the view to the left. After about half an hour we make it to the top and also to a clearing known as The Jews Clearing. The view from here is magnificent as we look across to the Coromandel Ranges. We decide this is the perfect spot for our lunch of Five Spice & Avocado Sarnies with a nice cuppa. From here the track goes downwards for a minute or two and we arrive back at the junction we had been through previously. Now the unmarked track (leading down to the stream) on our right, the Waharau Ridge track continued straight ahead & the Puriri Grove Track also being the Waharau Loop track, now on our left.
We head left and backtrack for about half an hour down to where the Waihihi Stream intersects with the track. Here we head right at the stream and wade our way downstream. It starts off through the bush winding its way downwards. The stream is quite shallow with no real rapids to contend with. After a while it comes out into tranquil farmland surroundings where there are a couple of fences over the stream to climb. We get to see a few ducks about & their ducklings swimming underwater. After about 45 minutes or so on the Waihihi Stream we’re in a paddock with a few curious cows until we see the fenceline of the Waharu Park on our left, which we make our way over to and back to the car. Then we drive back out to East Coast Road and find a spot by the side of the road to park and enjoy a well needed swim in the sea.
Total loop time was about 5 ¼ hours
Level of Difficulty
Easy (with a bit of a moderate hill climb to start with)
5.25 Hours (Summer 2013)