From the Whatipū car park, the track starts in a grassy easement next to a field. Don’t get too used to the flat terrain as a short and steep climb is soon to follow. This climb is a necessary evil to get you up to the top of the coastal bluffs overlooking the Whatipū Scientific Reserves and the beautiful black sand beaches and aquamarine waters of the Tasman Sea. Be sure to take a breather at the viewpoints along the way.
Once up this initial climb, the trail levels out, and the going is mostly easy with a few sections that can be muddy or wet. As part of the Sir Edmund Hilary Trail, most of the track is well-maintained with boardwalks over boggy sections and the addition of gravel for the more muddy areas. You may still be doing to mud running though if there has been a recent rain.
The trail gradually heads inland, and you trade views of the coast for views of the stunning hills of the Waitakeres. The landscape here is dramatic with plunging ravines and incredibly steep hills all covered with dense native bush that is a deep, vibrant, ever green. On a humid or rainy day, you may even be treated to a rainbow to top it all off. The sunlight on these hills in the morning or evening is magic as the land lies draped in a golden mist from the morning or evening dew.
Eventually, the Gibbons Track comes to a 3-way intersection with the Muir Track
and the Walker Ridge Track
where you can choose to continue your run along the coast on the Muir Track
or run further inland on Walker Ridge Track