Last Updated: 17th May 2024


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Waiuku Forest Intro

Waiuku, Auckland

Submitted by Luke Gillies

Last Updated: 17th May 2024


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Grunt Factor: 12 ?

Gnarl Factor: 3 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, small hills only

Dog Friendly

Plantation/exotic forest




Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +2.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -3.1%


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Estimated Times to Run







This is an introduction to Waiuku Forest to guide you around the southern side of the forest. As you will see throughout the run Waiuku forest has many, many tracks but unfortunately not well marked or mapped. Use this run to familiarise yourself and then explore the tracks you see along the way as it's virtually impossible to get lost as you will arrive at either the Tasman sea, the Waikato river or the iron sand mine that surround the southern forest. In fact being a little lost for while in this forest you will discover beautifully huge dunes, stunning pine needle tracks, rivers, oceans and many hidden gems. The running away from the forestry roads and 4WD tracks is on a sand base with a pine needle crust that makes for a great surface underfoot.

Start your run entering the forest road gates to the left of the mine entry. Follow the forest road for 2.5km's to the top of the first hill and take a left at the fork. At 4.5km's you will come to another fork in the road, go right following the beach carpark sign.

At 5.5km's take a right through the gate onto Old Coach Road, from here you will be on 4WD tracks. At 6km's go right at the fork onto Tapu Rd. Continue on Tapu Road until you meet back up with the road you came in on and then return back to the start.

Possible extension: off Tapu Rd to the left at the top of the climb are the Kaimanawa Tracks and slightly further Pine Cone Alley Track.

Waiuku Forest is located on the west coast of the Waikato District, south-west of Auckland city. It borders the Tasman Sea and the northern shore of the Waikato River.
The forest is part of the Crown's forestry estate and is managed by Crown Forestry. Commercial operations include the mining of iron sand by New Zealand Steel for the Glenbrook Steel Mill.
Waiuku Forest was established by the former Public Works Department in 1932 as a protection forest to prevent the spread of sand onto adjacent farmland. Marram grass was planted to stabilise the sand, then tree lupin - to provide nutrients and shelter for the pines, which were first planted in the 1930s.

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Park on the grass clearing on the left outside the entrance to the NZ Steel ironsand mine site. The grass is firm enough for parking year round.

13 km

14 minutes




If you arrive at the beach carpark or start heading uphill steeply right on the coast you have missed Old Coach Rd (a 4WD track through a wooden gate) head back and Old Coach Rd is about 300m back the way you came past the beach carpark

Very patchy.

Lightweight fleece top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

No water available at all, please take your own - I'd suggest 500mls as a minimum

Tree pruning, Orienteering, Equestrian, Car Rallys and Moto cross events are held in the forest from time to time but most often in the northern forest that this guide does not enter, also in the northern forest if you do go exploring there is a patch of dead pine on the coast that would be best to avoid in high winds - again away from this course but the coast road is very exposed to high coastal winds at times so staying away from cliff edges would be advised

The Waikato river and heads have very swift currents so swimming is better at the beach

The Kentish Hotel
5 Queens St Waiuku
Built in 1851 the historic Kentish Hotel has the longest continuous liquor license in NZ, having a beer and a meal at this pub ensures this record continues.

Wild Olive
68 Queen St, Waiuku
Great wood fired pizzas

Trail Legend


Jeremy Stronach

has completed Waiuku Forest Intro 6 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Downloaded the gpx file and ran the Xterra Short route here this week - in 28 degrees! Wonderful under the shade of the trees. Starts at the beach carpark, so this trail would be handy if you plan to run after 6pm as the gates shut then. Signs warning of this are everywhere. Unfortunately the tide was out when I finished, so the swim I'd been dreaming of, to keep me going, didn't happen. Rating based on general area rather than this particular route.

Kirsten Fryer

February 6, 2022

Even though this is my local hangout I still enjoy this circuit around the south end. My recording gives me a 10.5km run with 128m vert. The road is easier than the trails due to the sand being a bit deep in places so makes it a straight forward run

Sharelle Blundell

July 25, 2020

Was more road than I expected but a nice intro as advertised. Have to come back for some different routes one day

Tony Sharpe

October 29, 2019

A good flowing trail, sand and pine needles most trails, but keep an eye out for days with horse riding events as these rip up the sandy trails and make them very soft. Also keep to the middle of the smaller single tracks as the cutty grass can be a killer

Brad Harris

September 15, 2019

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