Kohukohunui ConnectionIntermediate - Experienced
Submitted by John Scott
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Front country - easily accessible
Out and Back
Undulating, some big hills
Native bushPlantation/exotic forest
Intermediate - Experienced
Not Suitable (Slow)
Much of the Hunuas is closed due to Kauri Dieback; this does *not* affect this track however. From time to time pine forest logging and 1080 operations may lead to closure - check Auckland Council website.
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This route is part of the T8 Three+ Collection
Head up the gravel road from the carpark steeply at first for 3/4 km until you reach Plows Rd. Ignore the "no access, logging" sign, and turn left. For the next 6km it's undulating gravel road, initially past cleared exotic forest (Watercare has bought the exotic forests in the Northern Hunuas and is slowly removing them and replanting with natives), and then at about the 5km mark you're on Mine Rd, which leads through pleasant native bush for another couple of km. Ignore the first turnoff to Kohukohunui (this is the return) and a short way later turn into Mine track.
Tighten your laces, this is a steep and rough track downhill to the Mangatawhiri River, and an even steeper uphill on the other side to the Upper Mangatawhiri track. Once on the Upper Mangatawhiri track ridge, you head East for 4 1/2 km, more up than down, and the forest is mostly open and pleasant, fairly technical running however - lots of tree roots. At the 13 km mark you reach the Mangatangi Ridge track coming in from the right - you go left for 200m and at the next junction follow all signs to Kohukohunui. An annoying little downhill and last push up sees you at the summit tower at about the 14km mark. Enjoy the views for a few more years, though the trees will crowd them out before too long.
Heading North past the summit tower you pass Trig K Hut, where there is a toilet and a water supply. A few meters further and you turn left, down Kohukohunui track. This you follow all the way back to the road you came along earlier. This track is crazily good - it's all steps, boardwalk, benched, gravelled etc - fantastic trail running in what is basically the middle of nowhere. At about 18.5km you arrive back at Mine Rd. Retrace your steps back to the carpark.
Features of interest
Highest point in the Hunuas/ in the mainland Auckland region. Lots of native birdlife - intensive predator control area. There is an abandoned manganese mine at the end of Mine Rd, a short distance off the route.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 10%
Moderate Single Track: 15%
Easy Single Track: 20%
Gravel Road: 55%
Carpark on Moumoukai Hill Rd.
From Clevedon, take the Kawkawa Bay Rd for about 5km, then turn right into Ness Valley. Follow Ness Valley Rd for another 5km, then go right up Moumoukai Hill Road. After 4km you reach a locked gate, where there is a carpark, some information, and toilets. Note: there is also a Moumoukai *valley* Rd in the Hunuas, this is miles away so be careful what you enter into Google Maps.
Near the start there are numerous secondary forestry roads - but as long as you make the first turn left onto Plows Rd and keep on the main road you'll be fine.
If you find running on forestry roads boring you could mountain bike to the walking track start, hide your bike somewhere, and just run the forest loop. This would make for 14km of cruisy mountain biking and 12 km forest running.
Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
(1) Mangatawhiri River crossing at 8km mark
(2) Trig K hut near the summit
Rest of the route is on ridges.
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