A couple of weekends ago I walked the Tamahunga Foot Trail, just north of Warkworth . The track is at the end of a long metaled road just passed the turnoff to the famous Goat Island Marine Reserve. For a fairly out of the way dead-end country road, there is a surprising amount of housing being built, but I know why; the road travels along a high ridge and the views are fantastic on both sides.
When you get out of your car there is a sign at the start of the trail stating that it is very steep, possibly muddy and suggesting that tramping boots might be a good idea. It also implausibly states that a 5km round trip will take you around 3 hours. You may think like we did; that the sign is just DOC being their usual over-cautious selves, but know this: just like the grizzled, warning-bearing man in the first reel of the eighties horror movie, the sign speaks nothing but the truth.
The track starts off traveling through farm land, with great views over the sea in the distance. It then enters a pine plantation and proceeds along the very apex of the ridge. It is here that the going gets steep, first down then up. Luckily there is a fence right next to the track that provides hand-holds because there are no steps, just a worn earthen slope. I imagine the going would be unpleasant if the day was even slightly wet.
The last part of the trail leads through regenerating native bush. There are a couple of places where we found ourselves climbing up almost vertical chunks of rock, but its nothing that a reasonably fit person couldn't handle. Unfortunately, although there are many fine vantage points along the trail the actual summit is surrounded by trees and is something of a let down. The trail continues but is not a loop, so we had lunch and retraced our steps back to the car park.