I embarked on a trip to Auckland (Town) on the ferry with my car last week. The plan was to purchase a complete photo voltaic (PV) system and various other things that had either ‘broken’, like my gum boots, or things that I always needed, like a crimping tool. Taking advantage of a special deal (during a fraction of a year) for residents, it cost 320 NZD for a return trip for myself and a vehicle. I also took out the passenger and rear seats to maximise loading space. My next vehicle will definitely be a true 4×4, one with a transfer box and low gear, van.
Let me begin with the key details for this track before writing about my own experience. The start of Kaiaraara Track forks off Forest Road (on the Port FitzRoy side, follow Aotea Road until the end. There is a parking area.) and it will take you about 3-4 hours to reach the summit of Hirakimata. The track rises steadily with a large portion of it climbing up wooden staircases that have been built to preserve the ecosystem. Whit an average level of fitness you can hike up and down the track in half a day carrying a day pack, but it might be a better idea to spend a night at Mount Heale Hut (D.O.C. Mt Heale Hut). An ideal spot to begin your adventure would be the Kaiaraara Hut (D.O.C. Kaiaraara Hut). You will experience indigenous and exotic forest, maybe spot or at least hear (endangered) fauna, cross several hanging bridges, observe historic kauri dams and be rewarded with a beautiful and extensive overview of the Hauraki Gulf and Great Barrier Island. In addition, another rewarding factor, you will physically feel your leg muscles and remember the somewhat challenging steady climb. Add South Fork Track to your itinerary and you’ll experience a beautiful loop tramping track rated amongst the highest in New Zealand.