At the end of Whakamarama road, at the base of the Kaimai ranges is a little place locally known as “The Blade”. The driveway down there is a 900m gravel road which leads to a car park (note: this is single lane so go slow, there are a couple of places to stop if you come across another car). Other tracks that can be accessed from this car park are the Leyland O’Brien tramline and the Ngamarama track. At the car park there is a great big open space for a picnic and rocks for the kids to climb and jump across.
The one signed track entrance from the car park is the Pa Kereru Loop ….. though we did not take this one, we set off down a path that has no signpost …. I know you are probably thinking “well that’s not smart” but actually there are many paths there that have no signage, it was going to be an adventure. After about 5 minutes of walking we came to a point where there were 3 viable paths, hmm… straight ahead right?
Note and Tip: All the tracks did have the standard public orange track triangles and before we continued, I took a photo pointing to which path we came from, just in case we needed to back track.
So after approximately 3 minutes of walking we arrive back at the Car Park! Hmm…that can’t have been the whole loop, let’s go back and take one of the other paths. The other paths led to more track junctions and again no signs? So taking more photos and paths, we came onto what seemed like an old tramway … this looks right I think.
Now the fun part, curious fantails, possum traps, trees hanging over the old tramway creating a tunnel feel, and mud glorious mud! The kids had a long discussion and worked together on which path to take that would equal the least amount of wet, dirty feet. What can also work is getting a friend with boots on (me, Anita, in this case) to be the pack-horse.
Finally a sign, 10 minutes to the car park. Now we can all breathe a sign of relief. The next 10 minutes turned into 30 as we strolled through magical bush which inspired the kids to make up stories of tiny fairy villages on moss-covered rocks.
Due to the lack of signage, figuring out the various tracks was confusing! I have since been back and most of the paths just lead in circles, though if you follow the new Pa Kereru sign posts, you should be fine. I would only recommend this track to those with good bush navigational skills. I have also come across hunters with hunting dogs on this track, so that can be very nerve-racking with kiddies along.
- Location: Kaimai Mamaku Forest, Bay of Plenty
- Access: The Blade, End of Whakamarama Road, Whakamarama
- DOC Duration: 40 Minute Loop Forest Family: 1 hour, We made quite a few stops and the kids were aged 9,7,6,5 and 4.
- Track Grade: Intermediate this walk is not yet on the DOC website but, as there was a lack of signage I would class this as an intermediate walk, with some bush and navigation experience needed.
- Highlights/Features: Evidence of historic tramway, board walks, wetland, small streams, mud, friendly fantails and curious Robins.
This Track has been worked on and as of Novemeber 2019 has clearer signage – Well done to the awesome team behind this 👍