Sunday, October 1 – the start of a new month, a glimmer of spring and a good time as any to start Break the Resistance events.
Hitting the ‘publish’ button on Facebook was nerve-wracking for both of us – what if no one showed up? What if people laughed, or rolled their eyes or the whole thing fell apart before it had even begun?
Two words that can kill any dream.
But that’s what Break the Resistance is about, and we had to be able to break our resistance, before we could ever inspire people do the same.
Meet Victor Hugo (centre) our very first Break the Resistance adventurer!
We decided to combine the Kura Track, the Puriri Ridge Track and the Omanawanui Track to create a more challenging 14.4km loop – in our opinion one of the best hikes in New Zealand, or at least the North Island. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!
Highlights include: plenty of mud, a couple of shallow stream crossings, cliffside walks, steep sections, more mud, native forest track and awesome views over the Waitakere Ranges and Manukau Harbor.
The drive to Whatipu alone is worth the trip. We attached a GoPro to the windscreen to capture the narrow windy roads from Titirangi onwards. After crossing a little stream in Huia, tarmac roads turn to gravel (which only adds to the fun!). Once you get to the Whatipu car park, make sure you use the loo (long drop type) because there’s not another chance apart from the bushes.
To start the track you walk back the road a couple hundred metres to where you cross a small bridge and the start of the track is signposted on your left. Climb a small fence stile and through a gate (the gate can be seen in our video). The start of the track warms you up nicely as it is quite level, but really muddy.
After the first k or so, you will be greeted by few stream crossings. The water is nice and refreshing and the streams are pretty shallow so you won’t have any trouble getting across – make sure you have sturdy shoes for grip and the rest of your gear is out of the water! You’ll have to cross 4 times in total.
Stream crossings during the Kura Track
After the stream crossing the track starts to get a little steep and it is mainly all uphill for the rest of this section.
The track is signposted for the most part, but be careful not to miss the markers that can be obscured by bush, we might have had to back track at one stage!
Hillary trail markers
Puriri Ridge track
The Kura track comes to an intersection and you can join the Puriri ridge track from here for more of the same scenery. It is only a short 2km section but it’s on the Puriri track that you will get to catch the first glimpse of the Manukau harbour and Waitakere ranges. On the Puriri track you emerge from the bush to a steep rocky ascent (Don’t forget to turn around). In the words of Mallika from the video “Oh my Goodness!”
At the end of the Puriri Track there is short walk from the carpark to Donald McLean Summit. It’s the perfect opportunity for a lunch break and to take in some of breathtaking views from the two the lookout platforms.
Pit stop at Mt Donald McLean summit
To get to the next leg of the loop you have to go back down the Puriri track to the Puriri track/Whatipu road intersection and take the route towards Whatipu Road. After this short walk road-side you will see another sign post for the Omanawanui Track.
All smiles coming down from mt Donald McLean
The third part of our loop, the Omanawanui track, is absolutely stunning! It’s a completely different landscape to the Kura track and Puriri track. Right from the start of the track, down to the car park in Whatipu, you will cross over three peaks and traverse over some jaw dropping ridges with cliff faces facing Manukau harbour.
A look at what Omanawanui has in store
Parts of the track are steep, with some rocky paths offering chains for assistance but the rewards are worth every previous kilometre. Winds were strong westerlies, as we had expected and really picked up for the final 2 to 3 kilometers. It was difficult to stand straight on the final peak overlooking Paratutae Island. We had a quick 5 min rest and took some shots before the final descent down to Whatipu.
The view down to Paratutae Island
At this point the legs were getting tired, we added the Signal House side track but will have to go back to Whatipu again to explore the caves. We won’t be complaining about a Whatipu revisit though.
A special thanks goes out to Victor who, despite the torrential Auckland rain, was still ready to stick to the plan and that’s what we believe Break the Resistance is all about. There have been so many occasions where weather has threatened to ruin a weekend but if you are prepared to get a little wet, more often than not you will be treated with a surprise. The photos speak for themselves.
Til next time Victor Hugo!