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Karaka Track and Waiotahi Tracks, Coromandel - by Imogen

31 Mar 2020 10:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Another absolute pearla of a day yesterday! Making the most of the longer days of sunshine whilst it lasts for the next month before daylight savings switches!

Lots of trampers loaded up and off we head down to the Coromandel, target of Karaka Track and Waiotahi Tracks in Thames, Coromandel, with gold mining history dating back between 1871 to 1912. With only a handful from both groups that had done the track before, most were very inquisitive, including one long standing member, to all our surprise, hadn't done this lovely track loop before.

Big Yellow parked, we head into the track entry, with an equally big yellow boot station to greet us. Everyone scrubbed and sprayed off we head. Right at the start of the Karaka Track there is a really pretty waterfall, just to set the mood for the gentle uphill alongside the extremely pretty Karaka Stream.

The track varies a lot in width, sometimes wide, almost 4x4 and sometimes literately 1 foot width wide. That kept us all on our toes, and stopped it being a monotonous track. The track is gorgeous, sidling along side and criss crossing the babbling stream. With many worn side tracks down to what looked to be great swimming holes and many old mining tunnel entrances still evident.

As it's pretty much bone dry underfoot, the few big slips around the area, aren't an issue. Every now and again we come across tiny little patches of mud, that are really easy to negotiate. Nothing like the mud over wetter months for a bit more of a challenge. Very easy footing today!

Our medium group, everyone in the group commenting constantly on the way up Karaka Track, what a lovely track it is. Although it goes up to about 600 metres, it's not a hard climb at all, with some impressive reddy orange rocky outcrops along the way with stunning views across the valley and further to the surrounding mountains, including the very distinctive Tabletop Mountain, aptly named for it's flat top.

When we reach the track junction, the fast group, are just leaving. A restful refueling stop, and off we go. The Waiotahi Track goes gently uphill for a bit, past the 665 metre peak, then down we fly! Same again with these old gold mining tracks, varying width, some rocky, some more just clay. Lots of massive old Kauri that have been down for many, many years, gracefully rotting away.

Karaka Track had an impressive number of Rewarewa trees alongside the track, mixed with other natives, but the Rewarewa seem to tower above all else that side. When we move around to Waiotahi Track, similar again, but a lot of extremely large Kauri still standing in the valleys in varying stages of health, that had escaped the saw a hundred or so years ago maybe due to inaccessibility. There are pops of colour with Rata in flower along Waiotahi, providing photographic enjoyment.

As we swing back around the side of the ridge, we see peps of the Firth of Thames and our much missed Waharau Regional Park from more cool orangey, rocky outcrops. More dried slips along the way, once again no problem today. Although we did notice a lot of big cracks on the tracks. Which once the rains start, could potentially be more slips.

Popping out at the track end, our wonderful driver lets us know there will be an ice-cream stop on our brief walk back through the outskirts of Thames to the bus. All willing participants of a yummy treat, from the cinema no less. Cinema owner looking most cuffed with all these sales in one visit!

Slightly slower trip back nearing Mangatawhiri. Once we reached where the Ambulance was, we were wondering if the Ambo had run out of sweetcorn, and had parked, wrong way round to pick up an emergency load of corn for dinner fresh from the field. Lol!!!???

Another awesome tramping adventure, much chatter, great bunch and just as enjoyable as the last time we did this track 3-4 years ago!

We live our lives, one fantastic tramping experience at a time, but hanging out for the next time!

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