Tokomaru, Mt Robertson CircuitIntermediate
Submitted by Philip Taylor
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Front country - easily accessible
Native bushBeachCoastalOpen ridges/tops
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Adjacent to the Whites Bay Cable Station (to the right if you're stood with your back turned to the Station and looking out to the beach), there is a DOC display map. Take some time to familiarise yourself with this as the route is shown on here. Next to the map is the Rarangi-Whites Bay Track. Run this well formed track over a couple of boardwalk bridges and up switchbacks until you meet Port Underwood Road.
At this point turn left (carrying on uphill) for less than 100m until on the right-hand side of the road you see the 4WD track that is signposted for Mt Robertson. Carry on this 4WD track until you're alongside a pylon. At this point the 4WD track turns into a tramping track and again is signposted. Time to roll up the sleeves and get stuck in. After 4.8km from leaving Whites Bay there is a left turn (signposted) for the Pukaka Valley Track. Ignore this and keep going straight up the hill.
After 5.8km from leaving Whites Bay there is a good viewpoint of the golf ball shaped radar and it looks pretty close! Don't be deceived, there's still more distance to cover! At 6.2km from leaving Whites Bay there is a right-hand turn (signposted) which we will take when we come back from the summit. Ignore the turn off for now and carry on heading up the hill. The track gets a little more rocky the higher we go. Take extra care if these rocks are wet. 10km from the car park at Whites Bay and you're stood at the summit next to the trig point. Climb to the very top of the the trig point to be sure to get a view over the tall trees! It's now time to descend.
Head back to the turn off (this will now be at 13.8km) and this time take a left to carry on the Mt Robertson Loop Track. If you go right here, you will end up going back down the way we came up. Enjoy the easier, gravity assisted, single track running! At around 16km you'll arrive at a metal gate. Ignore the right-hand turn that will take you down a downhill mountain biking course, and go straight on here out of the single track and back onto a 4WD track. Shortly after the gate there is a pylon with a view out across the coastline. Glide effortlessly down the 4WD track until you meet Port Underwood Road at about 17km marker.
Go straight across the road (looking out for traffic) and onto the Whites Bay track (signposted and well formed trail). Shortly after there is a signposted junction. Take the hairpin left that will take you to Port Underwood viewpoint. Keep trucking along enjoying the undulations but predominant downhill and the expansive views across the ocean. The track then turns inland and into switchbacks and it is possible to see the two pylons and the ridges that you have ran on. Bask in your self-worth and enjoy the speed until at around 18km where you take a sharp left turn (signposted) which takes you down to Whites Bay. If you go right here you'll start going up the hill and we don't want that! Enjoy the final remaining switchbacks, then a boardwalk bridge over a stream until you hit the grassy flats of Whites Bay. Keep running straight along the grass until the Whites Bay Cable Station building is in view.
Features of interest
At the summit there is a golf ball shaped radar station.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 10%
Moderate Single Track: 40%
Easy Single Track: 25%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 25%
Outside Whites Bay Cable Station, Whites Bay.
Whites Bay is a popular recreation reserve with ample amount of parking. There is a campsite too so plenty of space for campervans and the like. Note, The Whites Bay campground entry/exit gate is closed between 8pm-7am.
The track is very well signposted at all junctions. However, having a map and making sure you know where you are is paramount.
Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.
Plenty of water at Whites Bay. I would carry all you need to last you from start to finish. However, there's a water butt at the summit that collects rainwater from the roof of the radar station but cannot guarantee quality/availability.
With the run climbing to above 1000m it can get cold quickly near the tops. Whilst predominantly in bush there are a couple of short exposed sections on the ridge that would not be nice in strong winds. The rocks can be slippy when wet.
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