Don McLean - Whatipu LoopIntermediate
Submitted by Dan Boulton
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Front country - easily accessible
Undulating, some big hills
Native bushCoastalOpen ridges/tops
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NOTE TO DOG OWNERS: dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.
From the car park head north up Mt Donald McLean Track for about 2km until you get to the Karamatura Junction, continue heading north onto Huia Ridge track for about 200m, where you will turn left onto Walker Ridge Track. Follow this undulating track for about 3.8km, then turn left down Gibbons Track. This follows the ridge above the west coast all the way down to Whatipu camp ground.
Run around the campground and up the gravel road for about 500m until you see a small carpark and a large field (just past the bridge). This is the entry to the Kura Track. (Alternatively you can turn right back up at the campsite and head up Omanawanui Track to get a real leg burn.) Head up Kura Track following the stream through some amazing palm stands. The last 800m of the Kura Track is steep as you climb up to Puriri Ridge Track.
At top of Kura Track, turn left onto Puriri Ridge Track. You continue climbing with some downs and nice look outs for about 2.5km. Puriri Ridge joins back on to Mt Donald McLean Track, turn right here and you are about 300m from the car park. Now, you may as well run up to the Don McLean summit to get the 360 views - just 5min up the well-made track from the carpark.
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Features of interest
Great Waitakere bush run with some amazing 360 views over Auckland, rugged west coast and Manukau Harbour from top of Mt Don McLean. Great kauri stands, lush palms up through Kura Track, and great swimming hole up the Kura stream for you or the dog. Lots of bird life including the big kereru. The tracks on this loop are relatively well formed compared with many in the Waitakeres, so manageable all year around. Some nice climbs to get the heart going and if you want a harder option you can return along the Omanawanui Track vs Kura Track.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 50%
Moderate Single Track: 30%
Easy Single Track: 20%
Head through Huia to Little Huia and up Whatipu Rd towards Whatipu. 5min drive on Whatipu Rd you will turn right up Donald McLean Rd. Drive to the end and park at the car park underneath Mt Donald McLean summit. This drive is about 40min from central Auckland.
Junctions are all well signposted, just keep an eye on the map and you shouldn't go wrong.
Short-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Water available at Whatipu car park. It recommends to boil, but I have never had an issue with it.
Can get muddy in winter, but relatively well formed vs other Waitakere tracks.
Post run indulgence
Huia Rd Store
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