The Pararaha Valley is a well earned campsite and rest place.
Pararaha Campground - Hillary Trail
The Hillary Trail
is a four day tramp through the Waitakere Ranges. Starting points may be the Arataki Centre or Muriwai Regional Park. Either way the idyllic Valley campsite is the location to spend the second night. Alongside the peacefully meandering Pararaha Stream tent sites, a shelter and a drop toilet make up the basic facilities.
The Valley is the half way point for half day or one day tramps starting from Whatipu or Karekare.Starting point:
Whatipu car parkDuration:
5-6 hours hiking time
Cross the picnic area at Whatipu, turn right to follow the fence line of the campground where the Gibbons Track commences with a steep ascend to the ridge. Trailing along the ridge opens scenic views over the Manukau mouth as well as Whatipu scientific research and its wetland along the coast.
After rainy periods the track tends to be quite muddy. Palettes spread over far stretches of the track at least gave this impression. At the time we followed them the path was dry :) The descending Muir Track brings you into the valley. There we refuelled our energies with a picnic while sitting on a rock in the middle of the stream, listening to the sounds of rushing by water with sun rays dancing on its surface and admiring dragonflies.
Taking up our path on the Pararaha Valley Track the hike follows then along the beach to return to Whatipu car park. Shore birds you may come across on your beach walk are pied shags
, variable oystercatcher
, and caspian terns
Karekare car parkDuration:
The clearing after the Pohutukawa Glade gives the entrance to Zion Hill Track. On top of the ridge scenic views to Karekare beach are freed. The descent to the valley follows the Buck Taylor Track and leads onto the Pararaha-Valley Track. Here take the left to get to the campsite. Continuing to the right leads to the beach. Keeping the track close to the cliffs lets you pass the Tunnel Point Campsite
where once the tramline transported the logs of kauri trees
during the timber milling
period of West Auckland. The final stretch goes along the wide sandy beach of Karekare to the car park past the Pohutukawa Glade or the Karekare Lagoon.
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