Wairakau Stream to Dukes NoseBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Gary Richardson
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Front country - easily accessible
Out and Back
Undulating, some big hills
Native bushCoastalOpen ridges/tops
Beginner - Intermediate
There are 2 kauri dieback clean stations on this route, please please please use them well.
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The real star of this run is the climb in the last 750m, from Lane Cove up to Dukes Nose. Note, this is quite a technical climb at the last 100m, involving use of climbing rails up near vertical rock face. Easily achievable for most people, but if you are nervous about heights you may want to stop before the last climb.
From the carpark you will head about 1.3km up a winding gravel and clay 4WD track, nice and open and a good warmup. After going through a kauri dieback cleaning station you will arrive at a signposted junction at the top of the hill, where the trail towards Lane Cove along Wairakau Stream is marked. This is now some pretty cool twisting single track, mostly downhill with a few damp stream crossings which are easily jumped (in summer).
Once at the stream you will have to wade the two crossings to the grass flats on the other side. Continue over the rocky terrain and keep an eye out for the ‘disappearing’ waterfalls that come and go depending on recent rainfall. Follow the south-western arm of the Whangaroa Harbour to the Lane Cove Hut, day shelter and toilets in Pekapeka/Ranfurly Bay. From here you can either return if you are not keen on heights, or head to the right at the junction and climb up to Dukes Nose. Note the last 100m involves climbing rails and chains and could be pretty hair-raising to some. The view at the top is spectacular.
The return is a reversal of all of the above. Note, you can arrange a water taxi to collect you at Lane Cove if you prefer a one way trip, but it must be pre-arranged. Google Whangaroa Water Taxi for details.
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Features of interest
The view from Dukes Nose across Whagaroa Harbour is breath taking. You can see right out the harbour entrance to Stephenson Island, and down further south towards the Cavalli Islands and Mahinepua Peninsula (another nearby great run here).
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 20%
Moderate Single Track: 30%
Easy Single Track: 40%
Gravel Road: 10%
Coming from SH10 north from Kerikeri, go through Kaeo, over the one way bridge north and then just over the next bridge, turn right for Totara North. Drive about 3km up this road and look for Campbell Road turnoff on your left, head up there to the carpark.
This carpark has room for about half a dozen cars. Walkers heading to Lane Cove for the day will use it too, so in summer be early to ensure a park. If it is full you can park further back down the road easily enough. You will be parking on the side of the road, please be courteous and don't park like an idiot so we can all fit in!
This is pretty straightforward, follow the stream and track is well marked.
Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
The stream and waterholes are good for water; drink at your own risk of course like all NZ streams.
I haven't been in winter, but imagine the bottom half of the track could be slippery although there is not much clay. And the 750m up to Dukes Nose could be very slippery, so beware.
The climbing rails to Dukes Nose need to be treated with respect, especially in damp weather. Check the DOC page for more details (google "Wairakau Stream").
Post run indulgence
Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club
At the Whangaroa Marina, about 20 minutes back south (turn left over the one way bridge)
Good beers, neat people. Grab one of their burgers and if you still have energy, nearby is the St Pauls Rock climb (more climbing rails) and a neat view.
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