Clockwise Cascade-Kuataika KillerIntermediate
Submitted by Michelle Haynes
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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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IMPORTANT: Please ensure you use all of the Council provided Kauri Dieback shoe wash stations you come across on the trail. Scrub then spray.
Please clean your shoes before running and after you are finished. We are all responsible for helping minimize the spread of this nasty disease.
Head out from Falls Rd carpark, down the hill and across a small swing bridge onto Auckland City Walk track. After about 1km turn right up Fenceline Track. Time to get the lungs working while your legs warm up - you'll climb about 180m over the next 1.5km on boardwalks, stairs and easy single track till you reach the Waitakere Dam. If you have time you can take a quick detour left over the dam, but our journey takes us right on Fenceline Track, alongside the reservoir and up towards Simla.
At Simla (an open, typically muddy junction), turn left onto Ridge Road Track. This is a relatively runnable, if slightly technical, track. Watch out for the red clay and rocks which can be slippy if it's been wet. On your right, about half way along Ridge Rd Track is the Auckland University Tramping Club's Ongaruanuku hut. Worth a quick look if you're treating this as an adventure.
When you reach an open junction, turn right on Cutty Grass Track, and follow the trail to Anawhata Road. Turn right and head towards the water. Just over 5.5km of windy gravel roads, perfect to stretch your legs out and get a bit of pace going. Be aware of cars - some of the corners are pretty tight.
The entrance to Anawhata Farm (on your right) marks the start of the dreaded Kuataika track. This is a working farm, so watch out for the killer cows :-) The infamous Kuataika Track or 'Keeper of Souls' is 4.5km of grunty climbs and descents. You'll cross both Anawhata and Kuataika streams. Don't pass on a 5min side trip to the Kuataika Trig - spectacular views await.
At Wainamu Junction head along Smyth Ridge Track (don't turn left onto Houghton Track), runnable but slightly technical and tricky in some parts (watch that red clay, rocks and muddy puddles again). Keep left onto Long Road Track, over a couple of farm gates and down a steep gravel road. Take a right onto Whatatiri Track, down a farm access road, and keep right following the orange marker posts. The final short section is easy going, crossing a couple of streams, before you pop out onto the golf course and back to the Falls Road carpark.
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Features of interest
Many lovely kauri to see and hug - small and large (don't forget to scrub and spray!), native bush, boardwalks, water supply dam, streams to cross, active water pump, working farmland, Ongaruanuku AUTC Hut and ARC Craw campground. Something for everyone.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 35%
Moderate Single Track: 15%
Easy Single Track: 20%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 10%
Gravel Road: 20%
The trail starts from the car park at the end of Falls Road, off Te Henga (Bethells) Rd, which in turn is off the northern end of Scenic Drive. Falls Road passes through Waitakere Golf Course and changes to gravel past the club house.
Enter trail at main entrance, past the information board.
Plenty of parking although in peak times in gets full quite early in the day. There's a toilet and good info board/map here too.
Park information (from http://regionalparks.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/cascades)
Summer gate opening hours: 6:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Daylight savings)
Winter gate opening hours: 6:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Non daylight savings)
Cascade Kauri signposts can be confusing if you're unfamiliar. If in doubt, check your map at each junction. On Whatatiri Track, follow the orange marker posts, not white posts or yellow flags.
Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Carry your own water. Not recommended to drink from streams.
Most tracks are slippery and muddy after rain, so take care.
Anawhata Road has sporadic traffic, with blind corners so be wary. Strongly suggest turning off music on this section.
Post run indulgence
Swanson Station Cafe
760 Swanson Road, Swanson
Good coffee and after run food, quaint and close.
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