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Wainamu - Why Not?, Auckland

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Wainamu - Why Not?Beginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Chris McKeen

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, small hills only

Native bush

Beginner - Intermediate

1:20 (Slow)
1:00 (Moderate)
0:40 (Fast)



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This is a clockwise route description and distances are measured from the start point. Starting off at the carpark, follow the signs and the single track. You'll keep the stream on your left and the Great (the Greatest, trust me) Dune on your right as you generally head east, for a couple of hundred metres until it's into the stream and time to get the feet wet. There are Hilary Trail markers to help.

After about 1100 metres, follow the stream around to your right (south) as the farmland to your left opens up and the Great Dune (you'll love it, it's the greatest) climbs to your right. At 1800m you'll cross the stream, up on to the back and follow the track in a SE direction for another 300m until you find a large body of water to your right - Lake Wainamu. Keep running along the track, keeping the fence line to your left and the lake to your right.

At 3.6km you'll reach the top of the lake - take a minute to savour the waterfall and say kia ora to the statue standing guard to the water feeding the lake. The southern side of the lake is a trifle more damp under foot, with boggy bits, muddy bits, slippery-oh-heck-I'm-going-over-on-my-arse-while-I-do-Riverdance bits, but we're not shy about getting our shoes dirty are we?

At 5.3km there's a few steps, then it's a gentle coast down to the southern end of the beach where the Great Dune (did I mention how great it is?).
Decision time - you can make a beeline straight back across the Great Dune (I'm not to go there again - great, huh?) and follow your original path back the carpark. Or, if your keep to the southern edge of the Great Dune (I'll stop - these must be getting really grating), you can follow a path down a vehicle path to a gate. The gate is about 600m from the carpark and it's nice and flat...

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Features of interest

At the beginning and end of the run you'll skirt the incredibly imaginatively named Great Dune. It's a great dune, really. Great. It's the greatest.
At the top of the lake there's a waterfall and carved totem - it's the best waterfall and carved totem in the area. The best.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 15%

Moderate Single Track: 5%

Easy Single Track: 80%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Immediately after the one lane bridge leading into Bethells Beach there's a carpark, with visible signage for both the Great Dune and Lake Wainamu.

    The carpark is on the main road leading into/out of Bethells. On winter weekdays parking is plentiful, however summer weekends or public holidays it tends to become a bit more rare.

    36 km

    41 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    0-1.8km: Keep an eye on scattered Hilary Trail markers
    4.7km This gets steep if you turn to the left. There were no steep parts on my run. Don't go left unless you like steep. And long.


    Short-sleeved thermal top, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.


    In winter it's boggy in a lot of places. In summer the dune is seriously hot, however it's only for a few hundred metres.

  • Post run indulgence

    Bethells Cafe
    Bethells Beach
    There's nothing else until you get back to Swanson. The cafe is a trailer that operates on Friday nights and Sundays, and closes July/August. Because no one goes to Bethells except tourists taking advantage of off-peak rates, crazy surfers chasing hypothermia and big West Coast sets and even crazier Wild Things.

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