Date: 15 April 2021
The track was closed by the Department of Conservation in early February for scheduled upgrades to improve the walk and enhance visitor experience.
The southern section of the track, once classified as a tramping track, is now a walking track. This means it is a less rigorous and physically demanding walk, requiring a low to moderate level of fitness, whereas before it had been deemed as suitable for experienced backcountry walkers with a moderate to high level of fitness.
“The upgrades made to this section of the Hakarimata Walkway will make this track more accessible” says Acting Waikato Operations Manager, Andrew Styche.
“Steps have been installed along the Waingaro Loop to the same standard as the rest of the walkway, meaning more people can enjoy this beautiful part of the forest.”
Visitors can wander casually among the rimu and miro, or take a brisk walk beneath the cover of mataῑ and rewarewa. Walkers will find peace in the company of aged trees and dappled sunlight, and the various Hakarimata routes offer options between 30-minute short walks and full day-long walks for the more adventurous.
The Hakarimata Walkway is 12 km one-way and crosses the ridge of the Hakarimata Range.
“The views towards the coast and across the Waikato Basin are spectacular,” says Jack Garland, Waikato Heritage and Visitors Ranger. However, people come for more than just the view. Track counters at the Waterworks Walk entrance show around 120,000 counts were made in the 2020/2021 year. Keen folk come for fitness, family time, down time and to give a helping hand.
“Gravel pits and bags have been left by the Waikato District Council at the entrance of the Brownlee Avenue track so keen visitors can fill a bag, carry it up and tip it out over the steps to help maintain the track,” says Jack Garland.
“The community is keen to get amongst it and help keep this vital outdoor experience in top condition for all its visitors.”
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