Everyone loaded onto Big Yellow including returning newbies, we headed up to Arataki Visitors Centre in the Waitak's. Due to Kauri Dieback track closures, one of those now fairly rare visits to the Waitakere Ranges, not the usual 50% of our time in the past.
Arriving to a perfect for this walk, slightly overcast day, premium parking for Big Yellow in the bus parking bay ..... pertinent later in the story.
We head through our first boot station and down the Beveridge Track, enjoying the scenic lookouts over the dams along the way, some of the informative signs about the different trees and what they were used for historically by the Maori and history of some of the water tunnels and we pass the now defunct Rainforest Express entrance.
Boot station number two, scrubbed and doused, at the bottom of Beveridge at Mackie Rest with another lovely view across the Lower Nihotupu Reservoir and the Manukau Harbour.
The very pleasant tree shrouded return walk along the 3.5km (one way) flat Exhibition Drive and further points of interest with the old tram tunnels making the odd appearance behind the undergrowth and the pipeline the length of the former water pipe tramway road. At the Titirangi end of Exhibition Drive, a massive Pohutukawa in it's full Xmas glory emblazoned in bright red blooms and many Tui's scurrying around the tree gorging on nectar!
Return path through Exhibition and we head down to the only semi bush type track of the day that is quite well hidden and the connector to Pipeline Road, that's actually a graveled 4x4 track, with a very large Pipeline that runs alongside part of the track.
Much like the old song, the Pipeline connects to the kneebone, haha, actually to Slip Track! Slip Track is much like another very nearby, much reputed Incline Track (currently closed), quite steep and used to be as rough as guts, super muddy & slippery in Winter, but now heavily graveled 3 lane highway. Roughly 3/4 of the way up, the track turns into a narrow graveled track, with quite a few very short flights of steps. This bit of the track is quite lovely, as you have droopy Punga, Supplejack, the odd Rewarewa lining the track, and very little exposure to the heat being radiated by the yellow thing in the sky. Much appreciated about then, as we were all pretty toasty after the grind up.
The high point on Slip, is the wicked carving planted right in the middle of the lookout across all you survey! Thick Kauri forest to the north and west and dams below!
Nearing the end of Slip, the track turns to a suspended boardwalk that seems quite reminiscent of times past.
Boot station number three and we're back at Arataki. Some taking the opportunity to purchase a Dutch Delight, or should that be Danish Delight?! Our driver having been promised a Dutch Delight, and heaps of razzing during the day. Haha!
Some with Delights still in mitt, we scoot through the road underpass, beelining to Bootstation number 4, and the very spectacular Kauri Cathedral! On the way we stop to admire a stunning Kauri with the most amazing bark and one very large Kauri that is looking very ill! Reaching the Kauri Cathedral the grove of massive Kauri towering majestically above our small lookout and how small we are in comparison to these giants of the forest. And Kauri grass covering the ground below, reliant on the trees for their symbiotic relationship and survival.
Time for the climb back up the hill to Bootstation number 4, and back to Big Yellow.
A few taking the opportunity to quickly visit the Arataki Visitors Centre. It's worth taking the time to do so.
Another absolutely brilliant day out, with much laughter and chatter and razzing.