Suggested Itineraries

Covering more than 17,000 hectares of native rainforest and coastline, the Waitakere Ranges are criss-crossed by a network of over 140 tracks.  This offers more than 250kms of walking options catering for all levels of experience, stamina and available time.

You are welcome to plan your own itinerary or select from the suggestions we have below.  If you have a specific requirement or interest, please contact us and together we’ll work out a solution tailored for you.

For all itineraries, the first night is spent at our base, Wharerangi, from where you’ll start your hike the following morning.

Two-Day Options

Option A:

Wharerangi to Mercer Bay (4 ~ 5 hours)

Largely under the forest canopy, this walk follows an undulating ridge, hugs a high rock bluff, descends down a series of rock steps and takes you through several small picturesque valleys to Black Rock Dam and across the Piha Stream.  You’ll emerge on Piha Road and then continue on to Log Race Road at the end of which you’ll find your caravan, set up and ready for you high above the cliffs in the sheltered site of a World War 2 radar station. To finish the day, there’s the option of a short cliff-walk with breath-taking views and several rest stops which are perfect for taking in the west-coast sunset.

Mercer Bay to Karekare and Piha (3 ~ 5 hours)

After breakfast start with a breath-taking circular walk to Karekare and back that takes in the spectacular cliffs and views, Karekare Falls, a gorgeous walk through a glade of old Pohutukawa trees and of course the quite magnificent Karekare beach.  Either finish the tramp back at your caravan or extend it and make your way to Piha via the beautiful Kitekite Falls walk and its spectacular 40-metre multi-step waterfall.  End with a coffee or drink at the Piha café from where you’ll be collected.

Option B:

Wharerangi to Anawhata Road (4 ½ ~ 5 ½ hours)

This itinerary starts at the Waitakere Dam, crosses the dam wall and follows an earth wall saddle alongside the dam.   You’ll walk under the forest canopy, climb a ridge to a trig, descend to cross a streams, undulate across a working farm and cover a variety of terrains as you make your way to Craw Campsite on Anawhata Road where your caravan will be beckoning

Anawhata Road to Piha (3 ~ 5 hours)

This tramp rewards you with spectacular cliff-views as you make your way down a stunning valley to meet the northern end of Piha beach.  You have plenty of options then – enjoy the vast, wide beach, climb Lion Rock, explore the Kitekite falls, test the café scene or pack in a combination of everything.  Whatever you decide, we will collect you from the Piha café and return you to our base at a time of your choice.

Option C:

The Montana Heritage Trail

This 8km loop trail in the Cascades Kauri Park is a great way to see the results that the Ark in the Park project has achieved. Enjoy a quiet time in ancient and regenerating forest, a hidden cascading waterfall, spectacular views, bountiful birdlife, some special picnic spots and interpretive panels for more information on the trail along the way.  The track has easy to moderate grades, drained surfaces and is well signposted.  There are steps on steep areas, timber boardwalks, bridges and seats at areas of interest.  It is suitable for anyone with a reasonable fitness level.

Wharerangi to Cascades Kauri (~ 2 hours)

This itinerary starts at the Waitakere Dam, crosses the dam wall and follows the eastern side of the trail to the Cascades Kauri Carpark where your caravan will be waiting for you, nestled in the shade.

Enjoy lunch or tea, and if the mood takes you, explore some of the many short walks that start and end here.  Alternatively, make your way to the nearby golf course clubhouse, hire some clubs and enjoy a round!

Cascades Kauri to Wharerangi (~3 hours)

Taking in the western side of the Montana Heritage Trail, you’ll cross a suspension bridge and undulate through the bush canopy with a multitude of beautiful stops, views and points of interest along the way. You’ll finally follow an earth wall saddle alongside the dam, cross the wall and make your way back to Wharerangi.

Three-Day Options

Option A:

Wharerangi to Mercer Bay (4 ~ 5 hours)

Largely under the forest canopy, this walk follows an undulating ridge, hugs a high rock bluff, descends down a series of rock steps and takes you through several small picturesque valleys to Black Rock Dam and across the Piha Stream.  You’ll emerge on Piha Road and then continue on to Log Race Road at the end of which you’ll find your caravan, set up and ready for you high above the cliffs in the sheltered site of a World War 2 radar station. To finish the day, there’s the option of a short cliff-walk with breath-taking views and several rest stops which are perfect for taking in the west-coast sunset.

Mercer Bay to Anawhata Road (4 ~ 6 hours depending on swims and detours!)

Head to Piha via the beautiful Kitekite Falls walk and its spectacular 40-metre multi-step waterfall.  In Piha there are multiple options – enjoy the vast, wide beach, climb Lion Rock, test the coffee at one of the cafés or pack in a combination of everything. Finally head to the northern side of Piha beach and make your way up a stunning valley with spectacular cliff-views to Anawhata Road. From here either head to the campsite or opt first for a detour to either Whites or Anawhata Beach.

Anawhata Road to Cascade Kauri (4 ~ 5 hours)

Tramp across the wide open spaces of Anawhata Farm, descend to cross a stream, climb a ridge to a trig and walk under the forest canopy, undulate across a working farm and cover a variety of terrains as you make your way to Cascades Kauri where your ride back to Wharerangi will be waiting for you.

Option B:

Donald McLean Road to Karekare (5 ~ 7 hours)

Starting with a pulse-rate increasing climb and ending with a wetland and beach meander, this tramp covers a breath-taking variety of terrains, vistas, bush and bird life.

Karekare to Anawhata Road (5 ~ 7 hours)

Start with a spectacular cliff-edge walk to the historical site of the World War 2 Piha Radar Station high above Mercer Bay.  From there make your way to Piha via the beautiful Kitekite Falls walk and its awesome 40-metre multi-step waterfall. In Piha there are multiple options – enjoy the vast, wide beach, climb Lion Rock, test the coffee at one of the cafés or pack in a combination of everything. Finally, head to the northern side of Piha beach and make your way up a stunning valley with spectacular cliff-views to Anawhata Road and your caravan waiting for you at Craw Campground.

Anawhata Road to Cascade Kauri (4 ~ 5 hours)

Tramp across the wide open spaces of Anawhata Farm, descend to cross a stream, climb a ridge to a trig and walk under the forest canopy, undulate across a working farm and cover a variety of terrains as you make your way to Cascades Kauri where your ride back to Wharerangi will be waiting for you.

Four-Day Options

Option A:

Wharerangi to Mercer Bay (4 ~ 5 hours)

Largely under the forest canopy, this walk follows an undulating ridge, hugs a high rock bluff, descends down a series of rock steps and takes you through several small picturesque valleys to Black Rock Dam and across the Piha Stream.  You’ll emerge on Piha Road and then continue on to Log Race Road at the end of which you’ll find your caravan, set up and ready for you high above the cliffs in the sheltered site of a World War 2 radar station. To finish the day, there’s the option of a short cliff-walk with breath-taking views and several rest stops which are perfect for taking in the west-coast sunset.

Mercer Bay to Anawhata Road (4 ~ 6 hours depending on swims and detours!)

Head to Piha via the beautiful Kitekite Falls walk and its spectacular 40-metre multi-step waterfall.  In Piha there are multiple options – enjoy the vast, wide beach, climb Lion Rock, test the coffee at one of the cafés or pack in a combination of everything. Finally head to the northern side of Piha beach and make your way up a stunning valley with spectacular cliff-views to Anawhata Road. From here either head to the campsite or opt first for a detour to either Whites or Anawhata Beach.

Anawhata Road to Cascade Kauri (4 ~ 5 hours)

Tramp across the wide open spaces of Anawhata Farm, descend to cross a stream, climb a ridge to a trig and walk under the forest canopy, undulate across a working farm and cover a variety of terrains as you make your way to your waiting caravan at Cascades Kauri.

Cascades Kauri to Wharerangi (~3 hours)

Taking in the western side of the Montana Heritage Trail, you’ll cross a suspension bridge and meander through the bush canopy with a multitude of beautiful stops, views and points of interest along the way. You’ll finally follow an earth wall saddle alongside the dam, cross the wall and make your way back to Wharerangi.

Option B:

This option is essentially the first half of the Hillary Trail.

Arataki to Huia (4 ~ 5 hours, 12 kms)

After an informative stop at the wonderful Arataki Visitors Centre, the tramp takes in streams, waterfalls and kauri knolls as you make your way to your first nights stop at Barn Paddock campsite.

Huia to Whatipu (5 ~ 6 hours, 10 kms)

One of the most dramatic and stunning parts of the trail with steep ascents and descents.

Whatipu to Mercer Bay (4 ~ 5 hours, 11 kms)

Solid climbs, great views, a spectacular valley, sand dunes, wetlands and a breath-taking cliff walk with views forever.

Mercer Bay to Anawhata Farm (5 ~ 7 hours, 15 kms)

Journey between iconic beaches via the highest sea cliffs in the Auckland region.

Five-Day Options

The wonderful Hillary Trail!

 

Arataki Visitor Centre to Huia (4 ~ 5 hours, 12 kms)

Beautiful forest and the Lower Huia Dam en route to Huia.2

Whatipu to Mercer Bay (4 ~ 5 hours, 11 kms)

Solid climbs, great views, a spectacular valley, sand dunes, wetlands and a breath-taking cliff walk with views forever.

Mercer Bay to Anawhata Farm (5 ~ 7 hours, 15 kms)

Journey between iconic beaches via the highest sea cliffs in the Auckland region

Anawhata Farm to Te Henga (5 ~ 7 hours, 15 kms)

Steep climbs in and out of Anawhata Stream gorge, Lake Wainamu and giant sand dunes.

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