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  • 24 Apr 2024 6:21 PM | Anonymous

    Please check out the latest Kaimai Backcountry News, including updates on track and hut maintenance. Read more here!

  • 12 Mar 2024 1:48 PM | Anonymous

    The Mayor’s proposed 10 year budget outlines the vision and priorities for capital spending in Auckland from 2024 to 2034. It establishes the projects within regional parks that will be funded in the next ten years. Read more in the Friends of Regional Parks newsletter:

    2024 Regional Parks Mar Newsletter.pdf

  • 12 Mar 2024 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    With funding cuts facing DOC, there is increasing concern regarding how backcountry huts and tracks will be maintained. Here is the FMC newsletter with the latest update on this plus other FMC news.


  • 12 Mar 2024 1:23 PM | Anonymous

    Karangahake forest is about to be mined and Government brought new Fast Track development legislation to Parliament on March 8, which will allow for mining or developing consents and permits to be granted quickly.

    The Bill gives NO opportunity for iwi, community groups, or experts to have a say on any project that a Minister decides is 'locally, regionally or nationally' significant! Stand up for Karangahake and for our right to defend the environment everywhere!

    The Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki protects the lands, waters and communities of the Coromandel / Hauraki from the toxic gold mining industry.

    To learn more, take part, and help out with the Watchdog please visit their website here.

  • 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.

  • 23 Feb 2024 1:55 PM | Anonymous

    The Department of Conservation has announced that plans to roll out heat detectors (smoke alarms) to all backcountry huts with six or more bunks have been paused pending further work on legislative requirements, practicalities, costs, and user safety.

    However it appears many of the huts have already had the alarms fitted!

    FMC has been working closely with the Department on the matter and believes that under the Building Act 2004, the exemption for fire alarms in backcountry huts is still legally valid. FMC sees the proposed rollout as unnecessary and costly. It would have a negligible impact on safety and a negative impact on the “basic and wild” experience of those using the huts.

    FMC was also concerned the Department had not consulted with affected stakeholders, including clubs and non-profit organisations that own huts and lodges on public conservation land.

    “DOC has informed us over the weekend that they are putting a pause on the rollout while they do further work to ensure detectors are only installed in huts where they are legally required or will have a meaningful impact on hut user’s safety. FMC expects to be part of this work.” FMC President Megan Dimozantos said, “We commend the Department on their decision to pause the heat detector and smoke alarms rollout. It’s heartening to see DOC taking feedback from FMC on board and we look forward to working alongside the Department to ensure the longer-term plan has a commonsense approach and is in line with the relevant legislation.”

  • 22 Jan 2024 3:01 PM | Anonymous

    In the new year, a group of us did the newly re-opened Cascade Kauri Track. If you're planning to do the track, get there early if a weekend, as it's a busy car park, even when the extra side bit is open. Gravel car park and last km in.

    The Kauri here are as spectacularly large as they've always been, bar some very sadly dead ones and the general scale of the trees in this area of the Waitakere Ranges is impressively large.

    The track is all graveled, boardwalked, and bridged. If doing the loop track, head towards the dam. You can also park at Long Rd, and walk up the steep hill and into an open paddock loop (you can see both east & west coast waters) and then return to Long Rd Track and head up the hill and towards the junction for dam loop. We actually did 19.6km approximately yesterday, as did all the extra bits. If parking at the Falls Rd carpark, then the loop is about 12km apparently.

  • 8 Nov 2023 12:31 PM | Anonymous

    Organised by London's Natural History Museum, this year sees the 59th Annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. If you would like to see the world's top nature photographs up close, they will be on display at Auckland Museum from Saturday 9th December 2023 - Sunday 28th April 2024. Check here for more details!

  • 1 Nov 2023 11:08 AM | Anonymous

    There is an online information session coming regarding the 2024 ShelterBox Kokoda Trek. This epic trek takes in the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea to raise funds for families in need after a disaster or conflict.

    For more information you can check out the ShelterBox website or the following PDF has the information about the 15th November.


  • 31 Oct 2023 12:58 PM | Anonymous

    You can still see the odd dinosaur tramper struggling along under a monstrous pack stuffed to overflowing with heavy, bulky, decades-old gear. Slow, aren’t they.

    Fortunately, most of us are smart enough to appreciate the benefits of lighter pack weights:

    *       The tramping is easier
    *       There’s less strain on the body
    *       Tramps are more enjoyable
    *       We can travel at a faster clip if we need to
    *       We’re less tired at day’s end
    *       We can take on more challenging tramps

    But how light is light? What’s a good pack weight for multiday tramps?
    Ideally your base weight should be comfortably under 9 kg. Your base weight is everything you’re carrying (not wearing), excluding
    food and water. Add in 500-700 grams a day for food and you’ve got a pack weight of under 10kg for an overnighter, around 12 kg for a 5-dayer.
    This assumes you’re not carrying winter kit or an ice axe or spikes/crampons etc.
    Now you can lug that sort of weight around the hills, can’t you?


     Here’s how to get your base weight down to where it should be.

    • Pack, shelter, sleeping (your big 3) – 3 kg max. Ultra lightweight trampers will be closer to 2 kg; up to 3.5kg is still reasonably good.
    • Pack liner – 100g
    • Rain gear – over trousers and rain jacket, 600 - 700g
    • Clothes (additional to what you’ll be tramping in) – fleece(s), camp/hut clothes, spare underwear & socks, beanie, gloves. 1.5 - 2kg
    • Footwear – most people take some sort of hut or spare shoes. Crocks are popular but are bulky and a monstrous 300 - 400g. Runners are even heavier, jandals and reef shoes a bit lighter. But do you really need anything at all? A good way to save weight is to take nothing.
    • Cooking, fuel, eating – 800g (very generous). True lightweighters ditch plates, use their pot lid as a cup, and have a titanium spoon or spork, Chux cloth to clean up, and small lighter.
    • Toiletries, hygiene, first aid, meds – 500g. Ditch your towel, it’s way too heavy, and use Chux cloths instead.
    • Water containers – 150g
    • Compass and maps – 100g if you print your own topos.
    • Electronics – a smartphone plus plb will be 300 grams, add a gps and power pack and you’ll be close to 700g.
    • Sundries – torch and batteries, knife or multitool, repair kit, maybe one or two other things, but make sure they’re light. 250g.

    So there you have it, a base weight comfortably under 9kg. Which actually
    isn’t that light at all – it’s a base weight everyone can achieve, without
    spending a fortune. Tons of trampers are way less – ask yourself if anything else is really essential. If not, it’s a luxury. If your base weight isn’t under 9kg, your kit’s too heavy and/or you’ve got a bunch of non-essentials. Ditch ‘em!

    Club Equipment for Loan
    The club has equipment available for members to use for free on Club trips. If you are new to tramping, it's a great way to have gear to go on an away trip without having to buy everything upfront. The gear includes:

    *       NEW ITEM: 1 x Food Dehydrator: Sunbeam Electronic Dehydrator
    > Dehydrator Manual-Sunbeam Model DT6000.pdf

    *       2 x burners for cooking
    *       2 x single person tents: Macpac Microlite 4 season tent
    *       1 x two person tent
    *       3 x inflatable sleeping mats
    *       Assorted backpacks for day and away trips

    Contact Stefan, our Gear Officer, Ph 02040948547 for information about what is currently available and to arrange collection.

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