The Huia to Whatipu route provides a fine day of walking in Auckland’s Waitākere Ranges. The route combines several named tracks and, if beginning at Whatipu, starts with a stunning ascent of the Omanawanui Track, which offers breathtaking views of Manukau Heads. The track climbs steadily to a trig station at 241m, though its accessible boardwalks won’t be to everyone’s tastes. Now incredibly popular, this section is best tackled early in the day.
It’s a descent from the trig to the Puriri Ridge Track. This is a more sheltered route, passing beneath a reassuring stand of healthy kauri. The few open viewpoints reveal a line of sight up the Omanawanui Valley all the way to Whatipu, a canvas of layered hills and hazy Tasman spray.
A side trip further along the track leads to Mt Donald McLean/Te-Rau-o-te-Huia, from where Rangitoto and a distant Auckland skyline can be seen over the Waitākere Ranges. From here, the descent to Huia begins on the Karamatura Track, which has historical artefacts, riverside walking, caves, rock formations and the Karamatura Falls, which plunge into a pleasant swimming hole.