Cascade Kauri V2Beginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Simon Clendon
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Beginner - Intermediate
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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IMPORTANT: Please ensure you use all of the Council provided Kauri Dieback shoe wash stations you come across on the trail. Scrub then spray.
Please clean your shoes before running and after you are finished. We are all responsible for helping minimize the spread of this nasty disease.
Start beside the information board at the car park. Follow the gravel path downhill a short distance and cross the stream on the small swing bridge. Follow Auckland City Walk track for about 1.2km past a couple of side tracks and over a small bridge until you reach Anderson Track.
Turn right onto Anderson Track and after a short distance you will come to a stream crossing. You could try rock hopping but you may as well wade through because you'll be getting wet and muddy later anyway :-). The track then ascends steeply up a series of steps that will get you puffing nicely. Towards the top of the climb you enter a beautiful grove of young kauri trees and at about 2.5km reach a junction where you turn right, following the signpost to 'Waitakere Tramline Walk'.
A short, gnarly downhill (watch out for slippery boulders) spits you out on the Waitakere Tramline Walk. If you look left you will see a gated tunnel that heads under Scenic Drive and eventually reaches Swanson. You, however, will turn right and follow the tramlines that serviced the Waitakere Dam back in the day. There is one short tunnel further along where you will need to mind your head. A torch is not necessary unless you are a little nervous. Stop halfway through, wait for your eyes to adjust, and you might be rewarded with a small glow worm display.
Soon after after exiting the tunnel you will see a magnificent waterfall across the valley. The water comes from the Waitakere Dam and can be quite spectacular in times of high rainfall. A little further along the tramline is a unique water feature. I'll let you discover that for yourself rather than spoil the surprise :-).
A short distance on is a fence across the track where a slip has made it impassable. You are forced to leave the tramline and climb a series of concrete steps to reach a paved Watercare service road. There is a toilet here but no drinking water. Go across the dam and at the far end head straight ahead to follow Fence Line Track into the bush rather than turning left beside the lake.
Follow Fence Line Track mostly downhill for about 1km. Turn left onto Cascade Track. This is a more technical trail and has a sign stating "This track is suitable for experienced trampers only". The first part is steepish downhill and trail shoes with good grip would be helpful. Cascade Track is about 1.5km long with some large and healthy kauri on display.
Turn left onto Upper Kauri Track and follow this to Long Road Track. Head straight ahead and bear right a short distance later and keep on Long Road Track. Follow Long Road Track downhill for 3km and then turn right onto Whatitiri Track.
Whatitiri Track crosses some farmland where there is a frisbee golf course (more properly known as "Disc Golf"). The track re-enters some bush and follows the stream back to the starting point with a couple of stream crossings to help clean your shoes.
There are currently no members to show for this trail.
Features of interest
Many excellent examples of Kauri, a tram line, a tunnel, a couple of waterfalls, a water supply dam, board walks, kokako release area.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 13%
Moderate Single Track: 27%
Easy Single Track: 50%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 5%
Gravel Road: 5%
The trail starts from the car park at the end of Falls Road, off Te Henga (Bethells) Rd, which in turn is off the northern end of Scenic Drive. Falls Road passes through Waitakere Golf Course and changes to gravel past the club house.
Plenty of parking although in peak times in gets full quite early in the day. There's a toilet and good info board/map here too.
Park information (from http://regionalparks.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/cascades)
Summer gate opening hours: 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Daylight savings)
Winter gate opening hours: 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Non daylight savings)
Keep an eye out for sign posts. After crossing the top of the dam, Fence Line Track is straight ahead.
Short-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.
Best to take your own although there is a drinking fountain by the toilets at the car park. The water tap beside the nearby toilet has a "boil your water" sign but the drink fountains a short distance away do not - I suspect the same pipe supplies both but don't quote me on that!
Many of the tracks become the usual Waitakere muddiness in winter but are reasonably dry in summer. In very high rainfall the river beside Whatitiri Track can rise to cover the track so check the forecast before leaving home. There are a few stream crossings that may be difficult to cross when the water levels rise. Turn back if in doubt.
Slippery tracks when wet so take trail shoes. In summer it can be nice and dry so you could even get away with road shoes. Not so much a direct hazard for you but Kauri dieback disease is a big issue. Please make sure you scrub and spray your shoes at every cleaning station - show other park users how responsible trail runners are.
Post run indulgence
Swanson Station Cafe (the old railway station on the main road back to town)
760 Swanson Rd, Swanson, Auckland 0612
Short drive, good coffee, and reasonably priced food.
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