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Arataki Parau Puffer Loop, Auckland

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Arataki Parau Puffer LoopIntermediate

Submitted by Simon Clendon

Info Info

Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible


Very hilly

Native bush


4:00 (Slow)
3:30 (Moderate)
2:30 (Fast)



CLOSED DUE TO KAURI DIEBACK. You can sign up to e-updates re the track situation in both the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges here.

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The trail starts at the Arataki Vistors Centre. The start is to the right of the main building as you look at it. There is a large Hillary Trail sign beside the beginning of the track (Slip Track).

Follow Slip Track downhill, cross a small rail line, continue down the gravel road part of Slip Track until you hit Pipeline Track at about 1.6km in. Turn hard right onto Pipeline Track and follow it until you hit the gravel Nihotupu Dam Road. Turn left.

Follow Nihotupu Dam Road for 2.5km and turn right just after you pass through an open gate. You should see some old storage buildings just up here on the left. You have gone too far if you start going downhill past the ranger houses. Go along the right hand side of this open area to the top right of the clear area where you will find a 4WD track heading uphill. After about 500m uphill slog you will join Parau track. Turn right on this 4WD track and follow it for a few hundred metres where a Parau Track sign will point to the right onto a technical, and very steep, part of Parau track.

This steep hill goes for about 600 hard metres where it hits Panto Track. Turn right and follow Parau Track past the closed Nihotupu Ridge Track and down, up, down, up and past the other end of Nihotupu Ridge Track. Keep following the Parau Track signs downhill and you will come to an intersection that, to the right, goes to the top of a large dam, and to the left continues downhill (both directions are Parau Track). Go left and enjoy some sweet fast downhill. Before long you will cross a swing bridge and hit the sealed Huia Damn Access Road.

Turn right and follow the road to the top of the dam. Keep straight ahead at the top and soon the road changes to gravel. Follow the gravel road and bear right onto Smith's Road (gravel) after about 1.7km. Keep following the road uphill where there is an intersection with Crusher Pipe Track. Turn left into Crusher for a very short distance to the beginning of Hamilton Track on your right. You cannot follow Crusher Pipe Track as it is closed.

Follow Hamilton Track up, through the Summit Track intersection, and down and you will eventually pop out on another gravel road. Follow this downhill for about 1.3km until you hit Pipeline Track where you were earlier in the day. Retrace your steps back up Slip Track to the Arataki Visitor Centre and the end of the trail.

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Features of interest

You cross an old dam supply railway near the beginning of the trail on Slip Track.
The trail passes beside two reservoirs that supply some of Auckland's drinking water.
Parau Track was part of the Hillary Trail while a large slip on the road beside the Lower Huia reservoir was repaired.
The Mud Monster was known to have inhabited Hamilton Track before boardwalks were added :-)

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 0%

Technical Single Track: 30%

Moderate Single Track: 23%

Easy Single Track: 9%

Gravel Road: 34%

Sealed Road: 4%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    This trail starts at the Arataki Visitors Centre on Scenic Drive, Auckland.

    Easily accessible by road and about 30 minutes from downtown Auckland depending on traffic.
    There is plenty of parking at the Vistor Centre as long as you arrive relatively early before the tourists.

    23 km

    34 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    * At the bottom of Slip Track you need to turn right onto Pipeline Track - it's easy to just follow the main gravel road thinking you are still on Slip
    * The turn at the far end of Nihotupu Dam Road can easily be missed as there are no trail markers and a sign on the open gate makes you think entry is not allowed. The steep path up to Parau track here is also fairly indistinct.
    * The gravel road alongside Lower Huia Reservoir has an intersection at the far end where you need to follow the right hand fork onto Smith's Road


    Short-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    None. Well, a couple of streams where a filter straw is recommended if desperate. A litre of water should get you through anyway.

    Parau Track is muddy in winter. Well, summer, too, to be honest :-)

    Take care on the steep parts of the trails.
    Hailton Track has some chains on a narrow section.

  • Post run indulgence

    Huia Store
    Midway point on the run with a 1.3km diversion (2.6km return). Turn left after you come off the swing bridge and left again at the main road
    Very good food and coffee! Meals available.

    The Hardware Cafe
    Great spot for a post-run coffee and food.

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


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