Karekare Klimber Intermediate
Submitted by Simon Clendon
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Front country - easily accessible
Undulating, some big hills
Native bushBeachCoastalOpen ridges/tops
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From the carpark, head to the road and turn right. Cross a road bridge and on your right is the entrance to the trail over a low one bar gate. Follow the track through the beautiful Pohutukawa Glade. Late in the year the distinctive red flowers will be blooming offering a wonderful display of New Zealand's natural Christmas tree.
Before long you will approach a clearing. Follow the path to the right that heads through the sand dunes to the beach. At the beach head south and you should eventually spot some orange Hillary Trail markers. The trail will lead you back towards the cliffs and south again. In winter the trail might be covered in water.
Shortly you will go through a short tunnel (no torch required) and enter the tunnel campground. Turn to the right and follow the sandy 4 wheel drive track through the dunes. Turn left at the intersection after 200m and follow the track south. You will eventually be spat out at a sand dune. Just head across this in the direction of the valley. Soon you will drop off the dune to a pathway through the reeds and small lakes. This path ends up at an intersection under the cliffs. Turn right. Follow this trail up the valley. Shortly you will need to cross a stream. This is usually only shin deep in summer but in winter can be waist deep. Use common sense when crossing. If it is swiftly flowing then consider turning back and coming another day.
Follow this trail for about 500m to the Pararaha Valley campsite (toilet here). There is an open sided shelter beyond which the trail continues to the right and starts ascending the Muir Track. Half way up Muir Track is a small rock face that has chains to help pull yourself up with. It's not too technical but those uncomfortable with heights may not wish to linger :-).
Muir Track is a good hard climb and eventually tops out at the intersection with Walker Ridge and Gibbons Tracks. Turn right and follow Gibbons Track all the way to Whatipu. On the way there are some good views over the beach below.
At Whatipu there is a large campground on your left as you exit the bush. Skirt around this keeping the fence on your left. Soon you will reach a large carpark across a small plank bridge. Straight ahead is a toilet block that also has a tap for refilling your water bottles. This water is filtered multiple times and is the same water used by the campground. The Council have added a sign recommending the water be boiled but I've always used the water with no problems.
Head back across the small plank bridge and bear left. Cross the foot bridge over a stream and turn left immediately. Follow this trail called Omanawanui which shortly heads up the hill. Keep left at all intersections. At the top of this first hill is a seat. Take a load off and enjoy the amazing views.
Now head west down the hill. You will be able to see the next challenging hill looming above you. There is a trig on the top for you to lean against to recover your breathing! Keep following the Omanawanui Track. It touches the road once before heading back into the bush. The track hits the road again later where you need to cross over and join Puriri Ridge Track. Follow Puriri Ridge Track to the intersection with Donald McLean Track. Turn left. Keep going to Karamatura Forks. Head straight through on Huia Ridge Track for a short distance and turn left onto Walker Ridge Track. Follow Walker Ridge Track to Orange Peel Corner and turn right onto Odlins Timber Track. Odlins Timber Track is usually steep and slippery so take care. There are two stream crossings providing a refreshing dip. After the second crossing the track heads up steeply to Lone Kauri Road. Turn left and follow Zion Ridge Track all the way back to Pohutukawa Glade and finally the car park.
A small diversion to the Karekare Falls is worth the few minutes it takes. When you exit Pohutukawa Glade, turn right onto the road and head uphill for 100m to a track on the left. Follow this down past some cascades on the right until you reach the high waterfall and swimming hole.
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Features of interest
Karekare Beach is quite stunning. The beach south of Karekare is a nature reserve so no dogs are allowed.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 50%
Moderate Single Track: 25%
Easy Single Track: 25%
Follow the road towards Piha and turn down the Karekare Road about 5km shy of Piha.
There is a good carpark at Karekare with toilets. Note that the water here is not drinkable.
As per description.
Lightweight fleece top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Whatipu. Boiling recommended but it is filtered and used by all camp staff.
Always muddy in winter.
Odlins Timber Track is particularly slippery at any time of year.
Post run indulgence
Good coffee and good food.
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