- Location: 12km from Mangawhai Township
- Tracks: There are currently 5 individual tracks in the reserve.
- Track distance: 3 Km – 10 Km return.(depending on your route)
- Footwear: Highly recommend hiking boots and gaiters for the Puriri, Tanekaha Falls and Tanekaha Tracks (pretty slippery and raw in places)
- Topography: The track network is on the side of a hill:-)… with the exception of the Botanical track that follows the 100 m contour, All the remaining tracks are climbing.
- Timing: 1.5 to 5 – 6 hours, depending on your route
- Car park: The car park is 200m up a Private driveway, at 300 King Road Mangawhai. There is room for about 6 cars.
- Track Manager: DoC reserve but seems to be managed by Mangawhai Tracks Charitable Trust
I had meant to visit the Tanekaha Tracks for sometime, and finally today was the day when I made it to the car park unobstructed.
Arriving at the little Car Park mid morning, I was just in time to have a chat with a couple of cheerful Track volunteers returning from a Kauri Die Back maintenance task. Before they left they gave me a tougher “tour” of the very informative track sign.
I decided to make up and outer ring circuit using the Tanekaha Falls, Puriri, Tanekaha Falls, Langsview, Old Brywnderwin, and Tanekaha Forest Tracks.
Setting off the pleasant hint of rain in the sky the first 400m of the track continues to follow the access road, before branching off to follow a fence line through paddocks to a classic back country swing bridges.
Just before you cross however, there is a comfy seat, bucket and spray to help you with the Kauri Die Back clean up. (don’t forget walking pole tips!)
Tanekaha Falls Track
Once over the bridge I headed up the Tanekaha Falls Track, which follows a beautiful clear stream framed in the rain forest greens. Immediately I had to quiz my self about why it had taken me so long to get here.. Paradise!
Walking up the Falls track I can definitely see why its a good reason to check the weather before walking it, there are plenty of places where the track could easily be under the stream with heavy rain.
I understand from my informative sign tour, that the Tanekaha Falls track continues up the side of the stream, becoming steeper around the 100m contour as the stream falls from above on a series of long cascades and waterfalls.
Turning on to the Puriri track It immediately got a lot wilder (perhaps less used) and headed off following another clear stream.
This stream was particularly magical and I had to remind my self of the limited hours of day light so I didn’t spend to much time with the camera out.
Not so long after you start the climb up away from the stream, there is a little track side sign pointing out a 1 minute side track to view a large Puriri Tree. While not particularly large in my experience, its uniqueness is still worth a look.(The look out is by the first tree with a little bench(*1)
About 200m further up after viewing the Puriri Tree I came to a confusing T intersection. To the left was a well worn track turning left up a small set of stairs, while to the right a less worn track appeared to peter out at the cliff edge…
Take the right track!… It actually bends around and descends to the stream, while the left option abruptly ends about 30 meters on at the base of a large tree.
Once you have crossed the creek and investigated a side alley waterfall, the track climbs and follows the contour around until you turn briefly up a spur and then back on to another contour line. Shortly after there is a well placed and stylish wooden bench placed against the bank, a cue to the great view to a long cascading waterfall opposite.
As per usual when there is a great view to be had, its raining… and misty…, but at least this time I could see enough to know its a view worth a second visit. (and I enjoy hiking in the rain, so that’s the best of both today.)
Considering breaking out the rain coat at this point, I decided against it there was still plenty of Tree canopy, with the occasional drops suited for “bonding with nature.”
The upper part of the Puriri track was pretty muddy with some track work in progress. Turning back on to the upper Tanekaha Falls, a bit further up is an old Kauri dam, with cuts in the rock either side of the track and a couple of logs still in place.
As I stepped out of the bush and turned right on the Langsview Track (*2) the roar of the Bream Bay surf was unmistakable, despite being hidden behind the bush.
The track is under open sky and follows the path of a metal road along the dominant ridge line towards the coast,(The road is part of the Te Araroa Trail linking Waipu and Mangawhai) before re entering the bush near a private house.
Having just checked the Rain Radar for some expected heavy rain it looked like there was just enough time for a quick bite to eat… I wasn’t quick enough, about halfway through the sandwich, BOOOOOSH the sky opened with an impressive burst.
After a short section of track that also looked like it had once been a road, now narrowing to regenerating Tea Tree scrub along its margins, I came to the next Track intersection with the Old Brywnderwin Track.
Old Brywnderwin Track
While the Langsview Track (and Te Araroa Track) continued left down the ridge line towards the coast. The short section of the Old Brywnderwin commenced spectacularly by diving through a hole in the rain soaked bush,(*3) on to the clay track, which better resembled walking up a cascading stream with the water running down the hill.
Toward the top of the hill the bush and scrub gave way to open Kikuyu grass and Gorse, as the track approached the highest point on the track at the Trig Station. I wasn’t surprised at all to find the view missing.. yet again.
Tanekaha Forest Track
True to the warning from the Track Volunteers the clay Tanekaha Forest Track was pretty slippery as it started heading down the ridge through the Tea Tree.(sure glad I choose to wear my hiking boots and bring my pole!)
On the left side of the track is a large stand of Native Tanekaha Trees filling the valley, after which the tracks where named.
Further down there was evidence of track work, with a couple of unfinished stair cases and the form work for the laying of gravel to help make the track a little more appetising.
Passing the Botanical Track intersection, with only an hour of daylight left, I decided to carry on down and leave that for another day.
The Tanekaha Forest Track crossed over another little stream and then re joined the Falls track right by the swing bridge. Naturally it had stopped raining by then, (now I was well away any views preferring clear conditions!)
I certainly enjoyed this Reserve, the epitome of Northern New Zealand Native rain forest, and still with beautiful natural hiking tracks that let you experience it raw!
Other Northland Hikes
(*1) While It looks like the track continues above the look out, it doesn’t, just turn and head back to the main track from the look out.
(*2) Langsview track, used was part of the now closed old Brynderwyn Hills Walkway.
(*3) One of those great photographs you think you have until you get home and discover that the water and sun on the camera lens kept the secret well!
- Taranaki Education Reasource: Research Anaylsis and Information Network, 2019
- Department of Conservation Northland
- New Zealand Trig Stations
- Tanekaha Tracks
- New Zealand Plant Conservation Network