Lone Kauri Rd Carpark, Odlins Timber track, Pararaha Stream, Pararaha Valley Stream track, Cowan stream, Cowan stream track, waterfalls, rockpools, zion hill track, buck taylow, puriri trees, zion ridge track, muir track
Cowan Stream & Pararaha Stream Loop
Head to Lone Kauri Rd Car Park.
Start out on Odlins Timber Track to your left. After a few minutes of flat-ish track it descends rather abruptly down lots and lots of stairs (these are looser stairs to hold the earth in place and at varying distances to keep you on your toes) down red clay and rock. In the wet these can be a tad slippery so you may need to concentrate.
After about 20 minutes of this we cross the Pararaha Stream and also pass the junction (to the right) where the top of the Pararaha Valley Stream Track starts. After about another 25 minutes we come across the Cowan Stream and an unsigned posted small track on the right –before the stream crossing. You’ll also see where there is a campsite visible (flat surface and a longdrop) on the other side of the stream. We head right on the unsigned Cowan Stream Track. This track starts out a tad overgrown and undefined, but it’s not rocket science, you just follow the stream. It’s not long before you make your first of many
stream crossings and not long before you see your first of quite a few stunning waterfalls and rock pools. There are a couple of parts of this track that are on precarious ledges on one very steep climb down the cliff on the side of a spectacular waterfall. At the bottom of this is where we stopped for a cuppa tea and our trusty golden crunch cookies. After this steep bit, the rest of this “track” is pretty easy going, except for a cool bit where there is a
rope attached to the side of the rock to use to help you down. Being summer we found it rather pleasant wading through the stream next to the track for parts of it too. After about two hours we reach where the Cowan Stream intersects the Pararaha Stream. Here we turn right and follow downstream on the Pararaha Stream.
This is another beautiful stream “track” where there are numerous crossings and a fair bit of track finding in between wading down the stream. At the first big waterfall you really need to keep a sharp eye out for the goat-track to navigate your way down the ravine. At the bottom of this fall is a great pool and great view of the waterfall. From here we cross the stream another time and climb up the bank for another goat track which then leads to a plank with rope to assist you across. Then it’s down the side of another waterfall with another great pool. This we decide as a great lunch spot for Chemoula Sarnies and another cuppa. After lunch we also hang about a tad longer for a wee dip in the refreshing pool. Afterwards we clamber down more rocks and come across the log jam from the old milling days. Once through this obstacle it’s pretty easy going from here and the track flattens off and there are a lot more nikau about. After about another 2 ¼ hours we arrive at a shelter and junction of the Muir Track on the right. We continue on the Pararaha Valley track towards the beach we cross through the stream one last time then it’s not long before there is boardwalk underfoot making its way alongside the cool looking reeds and flax with a view of the dunes and marsh beyond. After about 20 minutes or so we come across the Buck Taylor Track. This starts off as it means to go on, upwards.
After about 10 minutes of so we come across the junction on the Zion Hill Track on our
left. We continue straight ahead on the Buck Taylor. As you make a bit of height, in between the trees are some spectacular views of the sea, marsh and dunes behind us. The track then goes through denser bush with some great Puriri trees where the light is a tad dimmer and also the track gets a tad steeper. After about half an hour we come across the junction of the Zion Ridge Track on the left. We continue straight ahead and the bush dissipates and we go through a lovely meadow with over grown flowers, then back into some manuka trees and come out back at the carpark about 45 minutes from starting this
Total loop time about 6 ¼ hours.
Level of Difficulty
Moderate to Hard -both directions
6.25 Hours - anticlockwise (Summer 2012)
5 Hours - clockwise (Autumn 2012)
4.5 Hours -anticlockwise (Summer 2015)
NB: Each time this route is undertaken you will
find it takes less time as you become familiar of
where the tracks are on either side of the streams.