Tips for Getting Out in the Waitakere Ranges (Auckland, NZ)
The Waitakere ranges really are the jewel of Auckland city’s crown. This beautiful native
reserve covers hundreds of kilometres of stunning rugged coastline and includes thousands
of acres of native bush. The Waitakere ranges have something for every adventurer, Such as
waterfalls, hikes, mountain biking and dog walking.
Below we have listed a few tips for first-timers who are wanting to get out in the Waitakere
ranges and have an awesome first experience.
Getting to the Waitakere ranges can be somewhat of an adventure in itself! Most people
will drive personal cars (from Auckland city) and if you are departing from Auckland city it
takes between 45 mins to an hour and a half depending on where exactly you are going.
Our tip is to drive through the cute township of Titrangi, where you can pick up a coffee
before (or after) your day of adventures. The first port of call for most hikers is to visit to
Arataki visitor centre.
The Arataki visitor centre:
The Arataki visitor centre is like an information centre on steroids! One of the most
beautiful information sites you will ever visit, administered by the Auckland council, it is known as the
visitor gateway to the Waitakere Ranges. The friendly and knowledgeable staff at the Arataki
Visitor centre are more than happy to educate visitors on the conservation efforts that are
going in the region and advice on which track is best suited to you, based on your interest
and fitness level.
As well as this personal service, there is a lot of information worth taking the time to read
dotted around the facility. Visitors also get treated to stunning views of the Manukau
Harbour, Waitakere dam, and regenerating native bush.
Hot tip: pose for a photo in the photo frame in the car park, to the envy of your Facebook or
Hit the trials:
Assuming you want to go hiking you have some incredible options nearby. By simply
carrying on westward down Scenic Drive hikers can find around 20 different day walks each
with their own unique features and stunning views.
Some of our favourite hikes include
Fairy falls, Karekare, Mt Zion/Zion loop, Anawhata, Cascade Kauri, The Montana trail and Piha/Bethels beach.
Many of these walks (and others) can be seen (with photos) at a site we love, called Epic Little Missions. Information about all the tracks (ranging from 45 mins to overnight) is also available in the
Arataki visitor centre or online. Depending on how long you are planning to hike will
determine the gear you need to pack but here’s few tips.
What to pack:
Weather in NZ can be unpredictable, famous NZ band “Crowded House” wrote the song
“four seasons in one day” for a reason! Safe adventurers will always plan every event
thoroughly so here’s a few items you should take respective of how long you are hiking, and
links of where find these.
There’s some good tips on our website, here
As a minimum, for a day walk you should have:
– warm layers
– a phone (full battery),
– sturdy walking boots or shoes,
– first aid kit and sun protection (hat, sunscreen, and glasses especially in summer),
Optional (but a good idea):
– personal locator beacon,
– emergency blanket
Safety is important and we want every hiker to come home safe after their adventure in the Waitakere Ranges. Here are a few tips to stay safe during your adventure, but by no means is this an exhaustive list, you should do your own homework before going on any adventure.
Tips for being safe in the outdoors:
Tell someone where you are going and let them know when to except you back.
They should also know what to do if you do not get in touch by a certain time (for
example notifying search and rescue)- Always have a map (and know how to read it!). Don’t expect your Google Maps to show you where to go (there’s no cellphone reception in areas)
Always have a map (and know how to read it!). Don’t expect your Google Maps to get you everywhere as batteries can go flat. Keep your map and/or phone in a dry bag.
Carry a first aid kit at all times, including any medication you may need outside of
the ordinary pain relief etc
Check the weather before you leave home. Metservice is a free online weather
– Ensure you have the right equipment
– Know your limits both physical and mental
Read more at Mountain safety in NZ for far more detailed information:
We could write all day about how great it is to go hiking in the Waitakere ranges but you’ve
just got to get out and experience it yourself. To join one of our events and subscribe to our
event listing we host many events to this region and others!
Got To Get Out is a social enterprise getting people active outdoors and seeing the world and
making friends. Join our Facebook page to learn more about upcoming activities in your