Te Au Track

Te Au Track

An alternate entry point into the lush kohekohe forest of Hemi Matenga Reserve is via Te Au Track, with access from Huia Road. This track is significantly more difficult than the Parata Track and we would highly recommend taking hiking poles and wearing proper boots to anyone inclined towards attempting it.

The track begins with a steeply sloped uphill section on a grass path leading to the forest. Once you’ve made it that far, you’ll be rewarded with a sweet little view back towards Waikanae Beach and, heading into the forest, a short flat-ish section crossing a stream. Before too long, the track becomes a single, unrelenting uphill trek, with muddy tree roots standing in for steps. Without boots or poles this section was just north of gruelling. Still, the forest is pretty magical, and moving vertically so quickly really highlights the ecological stratification and the way that particular plants are better adapted to certain microclimates. Though the forest is primarily kohekohe, there are also large puriri, ponga, kawakawa, and a plethora of ferns, as well as an assortment of native birds and fungi.

Once you make it to the top of the uphill climb, the rest of the track is pretty much gravy as you follow the ridge line south. In many places it’s not entirely clear where the track is, as other tracks lead off to nowhere, so it’s important to keep an eye out for the orange track markers and follow them closely. It will be fairly obvious when you reach the high point as trees clear away and you will be able to see the sky for the first time since you entered the forest. Follow the short diversion to the clearing and “bench” marking it, then head back the same way and off to the right to continue towards the Parata Track.

Overall, this is a very challenging track and best avoided in wet weather due to the tracks proclivity towards mud, but it is equally rewarding in terms of flora, fauna, and fungi.

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