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Update on Kauri Dieback in the Waitakere Ranges

23 Feb 2024 2:04 PM | Anonymous
Recent reviews on Kauri Dieback in the Waitakere Ranges suggest that human activity may not be the primary cause of this disease. While it’s important to continue practising good hygiene and following track closures to prevent further spread, researchers are exploring other factors.

Mysterious Origins:

  • Scientists are investigating whether there might be natural reservoirs of the pathogen in the soil or other environmental factors.
  • The disease’s presence in areas with minimal human impact raises questions about its origins and basis of some original assumptions now proved false.
  • Spatial Distribution: The pathogen was more densely detected in the northerncentral-western, and southern borders of the Waitakere’s study area. Interestingly, kauri seedlings and saplings were surviving in soils where the pathogen was confirmed.

Positive Signs:

·        The disease is much slower moving than previously thought.

·        Large stands of kauri remain unaffected.

·        Approximately half of the trees are in good health.

·        The heart of the Waitākere Ranges is free of the kauri dieback pathogen.


Waitākere Tracks that Have Recently Been Reopened

Each of the following tracks and reserves were closed to prevent the spread of kauri dieback.

As they’ve each been upgraded recently, it’s now safe to open them up to the public again.

Each of these Waitākere trails are now open again. What perfect timing for summer!

·        White Track, Piha – 1.9km one way, or can be combined with the Rose Track and Laird Thomson Track to create a great loop. This trail climbs slowly amongst the palms and pohutukawa. Near the top, you’ll enjoy views of the Whakatai Stream towards the north of Piha.

·        Jubilee Walk, Cornwallis Beach – This 30-minute walk is well-suited to people of all ages. Fairly flat, it takes in a variety of floral and fauna on both boardwalks and trails.

·        Mt Donald McLean Walk, Huia – Enjoy spectacular 360-degree views from this relatively short hike (which is frequently rated one of the best in Auckland!). Take in the Waitakere Ranges, the Manukau Heads, Whatipu Scientific Reserve, Awhitu Peninsula and of course the stunning Tasman Sea. This walk offers great bang-for-buck!

·        Spragg Bush Track, Waitākere – A 2km track that is a real favourite amongst locals looking to connect with nature.

·        McElwain Track, Anawhata – At only 1km each way, this trail climbs to a fantastic viewpoint. It’s kid-friendly and is worth detouring to!

·        Donald Mclean Track, Titirangi – 4.5 kilometres and another trail that offers awesome views along the way (two viewpoints, in fact). If you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll also find a waterfall down the hill (as you walk away from the car park)

·        Karamatura Loop & Track, Huia – This beautiful walk connects up with another short trail that will take you right to the base of a waterfall. This is the perfect summertime walk.

·        Ahu Ahu TrackMercer – Connecting up with other trails in the area (Comans Track Loop in particular), this coastal tramp gets the heart pumping and enjoys fabulous views of the ocean.

·        Omanawanui TrackHuia – 3km in length with beautiful views of the Manukau Harbour as far as Raglan.

Hout Goldie Bush Walkway?

Tracks Due to Reopen Shortly

Though not currently open, the following trails are currently being upgraded ready for use again.

Keep your eyes peeled for the following tracks which are due for reopening shortly.

·        Signal House TrackWhatipu – A brief 400m track with a stunning viewpoint overlooking Manukau Heads.

·        Puriri Ridge TrackTitirangi – 2km in length with awesome views of the Manukau Harbour, Whatipu and forest

·        Gibbons/MuirHuia – These two tracks combine to cover 4.4km. They traverse the ridgeline above Whatipu Beach and can be combined with a walk along the beach (which forms a loop walk with Whatipu beach), taking 5 hours in total.

·        Pararaha Valley TrackHuia – Head to Whatipu Beach and Tunnel Point campsite along new boardwalks over wetlands in the Whatipu Scientific Reserve.

·        Cutty Grass Track, Waiatarua –  This 3.6km trail following the rolling ridgeline of the Waitākere Ranges.  At Anawhata, cross the road to the McElwain track which a hike 10 minutes uphill to a scenic lookout over Piha Valley and Muriwai.

·        Auckland City WalkWaitākere – This popular 1.5 km loop track takes only an hour to complete and is fairly flat so suitable for most walkers. It comes complete with a lovely stream and is set in beautiful forestry. Note: Though the name is confusing, this walk is not actually in Auckland City!

·        Waharau Ridge Loop TrackHunua – The Eastern side of the Hunua Ranges is home to the 11km trail. You’ll need to allow 3.5 – 4 hours to walk the loop (which includes views of the Firth of Thames and the Coromandel Ranges).

·        Glen Fern, Aotea – The final walk is on Aotea Great Barrier Island. It is a popular trail in the Glen Fern Sanctuary – complete with views Port Fitzroy and 600-year-old kauri (which are accessed over a short swing bridge). At 3km in length, this trail takes 1.5 hours return.

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