The days of summer are coming to a belated end, but that is no reason to hang up the walking shoes just yet . This week's excursion was the Gibbons Track from Whatipu, right at the entrance to Manukua Harbour on the Northern side.
Gibbons track is not as well formed as some in the Waitakeres and is quite muddy in places - I would hate to have to clamber up the slippery slopes in the rain. Luckily the day we picked was fine and we got some great views out over the Tasman sea.
Rock pool near Pararaha camp siteGibbons track eventually turns into Muir track, which descends quickly (including a very steep bit were you have to climb down a small rock face above a steep drop!) down into the Pararaha Valley from the other side as the Zion Hill Track.
From the Pararaha camping site it is possible to rock-hop off track up the stream. We only went a short distance, but there are some nice rock pools and water falls upstream.
The round-trip back to Whatipu takes you down the valley and through the wetlands to the beach. The wetlands turned out to be a trackless maze, and it is almost impossible to reach the sand without getting your feet muddy. However you will soon dry out on the long walk back around the desolate dunes.
Whatipu is also the start of a short walk to some interesting caves, some quite large. They make a nice change of pace from the burning sun on the black sand.