Buck Taylor Track - Pararaha Stream Circuit
- 3 hr – 3 hr 30 min loop track
A short loop in the coastal Waitakere Ranges, visiting the lagoons of Pararaha Bay, and climbing the beautiful Pararaha Valley.
|3 hr – 3 hr 30 min
Largely unmarked route with substantial river travel and crossings. Unsafe during or after rain. Grades explained
No bookings — open access
No — open access
|Car park, Lone Kauri Road, off Piha Road, Waitakere Ranges
Altitude change 278m
From Waiatarua, take the Piha Road west, and turn off left at Lone Kauri Road. Look for a car park on the left after three side roads have led off to the right.
The Buck Taylor Track climbs easily through kanuka forest to a junction, before dropping easily along the face of a spur through patches of nikau forest. The Zion Hill Track leads along the cliff tops from Karekare in the north. This is met in 45 minutes, just before a final quick drop to Pararaha Bay and a track junction.
The bay is a wide landscape filled with wetlands and a substantial lagoon. The 5-minute boardwalked path past the lagoon is well worthwhile, providing good views of the coastal cliffs, the raw rock faces of Pararaha Point, a Manukau breccia, and the striking black sand dunes.
Back at the junction at the edge of the lagoon, a 10-minute track leads through grass and flax to the Pararaha Campsite, just beyond an easy stream crossing. A shelter and toilet are located here, although camping is by permit only (contact Auckland Regional Council). The striking dome of Baldy (223m) just north of the stream dominates the view.
From the shelter, Muir Track, leads steeply up to Walker Ridge. This is a well marked and safe alternate route which should be considered after rain. This alternate route consists of Muir Track, Walker Ridge Track and the Odlin Timber Track returning you to the car park in about the same time as following the river.
From the shelter, proceed directly to the river and follow a trail along the true left of the stream. Shortly after crossing a side stream (Muir Stream) the trail crosses to the true right and ends at a deep water hole. Cross again, on the downstream side of the water hole and pick up the trail on the true left. At this point the trail becomes a route and a prominently placed ARC sign reminds us that only experienced trampers should attempt to follow the route.
From here the route picks its way up the stream and crossing regularly as the gorge narrows and deepens. A series of pretty waterfalls lead all the way up the valley.
At a deep pool 30 minutes from the campsite, a track climbs out on the true right. This track clambers steeply past a larger waterfall to a striking pair of kauri. Above the fall, the stream eases off, and a couple more deep pools are avoided by tracks on the true left. Watch for these, they are easy to miss.
The final track becomes an easy stroll, leading across a side stream and crossing the main stream a couple of times before meeting the wide Odlin Timber Track. From here, turn left, and it is an easy 15 minutes up the steps and back to the car park.