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Hillary Trail Leg 4: Bethells to Muriwai, Auckland

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Hillary Trail Leg 4: Bethells to MuriwaiBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Mal Law

Info Info

Trail Information






Bethells Beach

Front country - easily accessible

Point to Point (one way)

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush

Beginner - Intermediate

3:45 (Slow)
2:30 (Moderate)
1:40 (Fast)



Only the Te Henga part of this route is open at the moment. The rest is 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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I am hugely indebted to Mr Hillary Trail, Shaun Collins, for the description that follows, which is based on his comprehensive guide on the Hillary Trail Honours Board.

IMPORTANT: Please ensure you use all of the Council provided Kauri Dieback shoe wash stations you come across on the trail. We are all responsible for helping minimize the spread of this nasty disease.

From the grassy parking area cross the bridge and fence, then turn left and follow along the bottom of the hill until you come to the fence crossing on your right. Cross over the fence and the track then heads up the hill. You follow this track sidling around the hill and slowly climbing. You then come around to the sea‐side of the hill where there are lots of little tracks dropping off to the left down to the beach. Stay high and keep following the track that hugs the hillside.

You will eventually end up at the far end of the beach (still up on the hillslope) and will begin to climb up to the top of the cliffs. Continue following the Te Henga Walkway for a long time as it winds along the top of the cliffs heading to Muriwai. There are a few sections that are very narrow and could be a bit hairy, so take it easy. This trail is stunning - enjoy!

You can't go too far wrong following this track all the way to the end. After climbing a seemingly endless flight of steps it turns right and comes out on a gravel road - Constable Road. Turn left. Follow Constable Road. Until you hit a T-junction and here turn left into Oaia Road (sealed)
Follow Oaia Road for just over 2km. A grassy reserve will start on your left just before 2km and the track you want starts from the end of this reserve. There is a carpark at the start of this trail that heads left and downhill into the bush. This track is called Edwin Mitchelson Track.

You'll be going downhill on a nice wide track. Look out for a track off to the right which you need to take - Lookout Track. It's less than 500m down the hill. Take this right. About 20 metres along here you need to take the track on the left called Quarry Track. This track drops down steeply and you will arrive at a sealed road - Waitea Road. Cross the road turning left, heading uphill. Drift to the right to end up into the carpark for the Gannet Colony viewing.

From the carpark take the Takapu Refuge Walk which heads out towards the gannet colony. Follow this and take a right hand turn at the first junction. This loops around and you take the next right to start heading down to the beach. Down the stairs and you arrive at the beach. Hug the cliff face for about 100m and you arrive at the gate to the carpark. Continue another 100m through the carpark to an information board at the Ranger station, which is on the right just before the shop. THIS IS THE FINISH. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

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Features of interest

This is the wild west coast at its best - stunning running along the clifftops of the Te Henga Walkway.

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 25%

Moderate Single Track: 35%

Easy Single Track: 20%

Sealed Road: 20%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Lake Wainamu car park. Turn sharp right immediately after the one lane bridge across the creek at the bottom of the hill on the Bethells Road.

    Plenty of parking, generally safe.

    1 km

    2 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Follow the markers and keep a sharp eye out for where the Edwin MitchelsonTrack leaves Oaia Road above Muriwai.

    Generally good.

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

    Nothing - carry your own.

    The Te Henga Walkway is exposed to whatever the weather is doing - it can be anything from miserably cold and wet to baking hot. Pack accordingly.

    The Te Henga Walkway is not terribly well maintained. Watch your footing, especially around the drop-offs and beware of flax bushes that love to trip you up!

  • Post run indulgence

    Sand Dunz Beach Cafe
    Good food and takeaways.

  • Blog Posts and Articles
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