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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Five Rewarding Pit Stops to Make When You're Tackling the Muriwai to Te Henga Track

Reward your efforts with waterfall dips, cinnamon doughnuts and spectacular ocean views.
By Ruby Romanos
March 31, 2021
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By Ruby Romanos
March 31, 2021
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in partnership with

There are many running and hiking routes to choose from across the almighty Waitākere Ranges. One of our favourites is the Muriwai to Te Henga track, which stretches nine kilometres or so, depending how you tackle it. It's a revitalising route with lush bushland and wild ocean vistas — and there are many rewarding pit stops along the way. Together with Adidas, we've picked five places to rest next time you're making a go of it. As always, be sure to let someone know what route you're planning before you head out and check the Department of Conservation's website for updates on track closures and restrictions. After reading, launch the map below to plan your own adventure.

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MURIWAI CAMPSITE

Start your trip with a stay at the Muriwai Beach Campground. Located just 40 minutes from Auckland CBD, this campsite is surrounded by 380 hectares of regional park. Though you may not have planned a run with an overnight stay in mind, it'll place you right in the heart of the park for a weekend of outdoor exploration. If you have your heart set on camping but none of the gear, take advantage of the campground's tent hire service. Alternatively, the site has nine cabins on site, plus laundry facilities, shower blocks, kitchen and barbecue sites. Unpowered camping sites start from $20 per adult, per night.

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GANNET COLONY AT MURIWAI POINT

From Muriwai Beach Campground, make your way up the cliffs to the Muriwai Point scenic lookout. It'll be an 850-metre climb, but you'll be rewarded with the site of around 2400 gannets that nest at this West Coast hilltop from August to March each year. These Australasian sea birds embark on an 8–14-day journey from the east coast of Australia to the west coast of New Zealand every four years. Once they've chosen a partner to mate with they stick together for life, taking turns to hatch, feed and shelter their young. Take a quick snap then head back on the track for your run or walk.

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Image: NZ Camper

LAKE WAINAMU

Next up is the hidden gem of Lake Wainamu, otherwise known as Bethells Lake. The lake is a popular spot to drive to if you can't face the 14-kilometre hike back to base — though we know you like the challenge. If you did drive, make sure you pack a boogie board to make the most of the giant sand dunes. If not, give sandy hill sprints a try. We recommend wearing shoes and long socks to traverse the golden sands, or you may fall prey to a blister or two.

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Anthony Sowersby

WAINAMU FALLS

Continue around the lake for around four kilometres until you stumble across Wainamu Falls. This detour further into the Waitakere Ranges is well worth it. At the end of the track you will find a tranquil waterfall with a wide grassy area to rest. Once you've regained your breath, take a dip in the clear, icy waters to cool off. Be sure to give someone the heads up that you're going, as there is no cell reception out here.

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Ketut Subiyanto

BETHELLS CAFE

After all those inclines and kilometres covered, it's definitely time for a bite to eat or milkshake from Bethells Cafe. This mobile food truck parks at Te Henga (Bethells Beach) on weekends from 10am–6pm. And it's been serving up some of the best home baking since 1999, including banana cinnamon doughnuts and chai spiced apple cake. Linger a while and watch the surfers as you cool down from your epic adventure.

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In need of a new pair of runners? Take a look at the new Adidas Ultraboost 21 runners here. Launch the map below to start plotting your own running adventure in and around Auckland.

Top image: Tim Marshall; Unsplash

Published on March 31, 2021 by Ruby Romanos

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