This month we revisit Te Hikoi o Te Kiri—previously covered here—as Te Araroa Trust (TAT) has recently opened a new section of track that allows walkers to proceed all the way down the western ridge of Mt Tamahunga to Matakana Valley Rd, completing the route planned many years ago.
Only an hour from Auckland, this walk can be rocky and muddy underfoot in parts and offers a reasonably intrepid adventure and nice “next step” for people more used to urban walking.
From the end of Rodney Rd, the first kilometre is across farmland with great views north to Mangawhai and south across the Mahurangi area. Crossing a gully—watch the footing—the track heads into the treeline where the ambience instantly changes as the beauty of regenerating native bush takes over.
Near the summit, a climb up a large rock can be testing but the reward is the view north from on top. A helicopter pad and trig mark the summit of Mt Tamahunga (437m) and from there on the underfoot conditions get quite rocky as the track leads directly under a weather radar station before improving as the gentle descent begins.
A ‘grassy knoll’ offers more views south across Omaha and Tawharanui towards Kawau Island, but for the most part it’s the splendour of the trees that will treat you on the way down. Towards the bottom two stiles are crossed before a narrow and slippery final section (across private land which TAT is very grateful to have access through) provides a tricky finish to the walk. A final 200m ascent delivers you to a stile onto Matakana Valley Rd. It’s south from there to Govan Wilson Rd where the Te Araroa route continues towards the Dome Valley, and Matakana village is 6km south, where cafes, bars and ice-cream await weary walkers.
If day-walking, it will take some organisation to leave a car at one end and drive around to the start. Note that room to park is very limited at the Matakana Valley Rd end—there is a small lay-by opposite the Govan Wilson Rd intersection and another slightly further south. Please do not park in any driveways or on the roadside as the road can be busy with quarry traffic—do take care.