There are at least eight bush walks that lead into the Waitakere Ranges from Piha, ranging from short walks to lookout points, loop tracks to waterfalls, ‘and long haul’ tracks that link with the main track system of the ranges. There is also a great walk that starts in Whatipu and finishes in Muriwai and takes several days. If your unfamiliar with the area call in at Arataki Visitor Information Centre (half way between Auckland and Piha) on your way out to Piha. They will be able to supply you with ideas, maps, weather updates and recommend suitable bush walks to explore. This is the same coastline where films such as Xena and The Piano were filmed. Please be aware that there are many track closures in the Waitakeres at the moment, while the council responds to the threat of Kauri dieback. Please find updates at track closures
Kauri Dieback disease
Also known as PTA, this disease is threatening the health of kauri trees in the Auckland region. Kauri Dieback is caused by a pathogen (a disease-causing agent) known as Phytophthora Taxon Agathis (PTA). Symptoms include yellowing of foliage, canopy thinning, dead branches and tree death. Affected trees can also develop lesions that bleed resin. It kills kauri of all ages and sizes.
The disease has also been found on Great Barrier Island, and isolated from soil at Trounson Kauri Park in the Waipoua Forest, Northland. It has also been found on land at Pakiri, at Okura Estuary Scenic Reserve, Albany Scenic Reserve, and on private land in the Rodney District.
PTA is a soil-borne disease, spread by soil and soil-water movement, plant to plant transmission through underground root-to-root contact, and human and animal vectors (a vector is an organism that carries or spreads disease-causing micro organisms e.g. animals and birds).
Threats to the park include
- People that don’t clean their shoes on entering and exiting the park
- People or animals that go off track into the forest
- Moderate to heavy rain washes soil-heavy water all through the bush and finally into the streams
For more information visit www.kauridieback.co.nz
Please stay on the official tracks at all times while visiting the park.
Arataki Visitor Centre – ph 09 8174941, Scenic Drive, Waitakere Ranges. Opening times 1 Sept – 31st May 9am – 5pm (7 days), 1 Jun – 31 Aug 10am – 4pm (Mon – Fri). For all park information phone parks line on 09 3031530
Canyoning and Kauri Dieback
As a concessionaire in the park we have undergone a vigorous process, over many years with Auckland Council, to ensure our canyoning operation has no more than minimal impact on the conservation of the park. The balance being, that the park is also maintained as a recreational zone for the inhabitants of Auckland and visitors. The process for canyoning included limiting the numbers of participants, annual environmental monitoring and external environmental assessments using NIWA to assess the canyoning activity. The results from the assessment was that canyoning has shown to pose no additional impact to the ecology of the area. For more information on the results of the testing please contact Auckland council.
At no point on our canyon trips do we go off track, into muddy areas that potentially contain Dieback. While we are in the canyon we are walking in the water and on rock, exposed due to being within the flood zone. We ensure that our clients are educated and supervised, in well managed groups at all times, and understand the importance of good practice, while in the park.
As guides we love working in the outdoors and are deeply passionate about the Waitakere Ranges and will do all they can to help educate and protect the forest.