“A memorable track with some challenging grades and breathtaking views.
— Kristen McGlynn
Please use the gear cleaning stations to help prevent the spread of Kauri dieback.
The Omanawaniu Track packs a lot into a relative short distance. With two intimidating climbs and two stunning viewpoints, this trail is one you won’t forget.
From the car park, the trail immediately starts a steady climb that will only get more challenging as you go. Initially, the tread is sandy and loose, but this is soon replaced by an extremely slick, red clay mud. The climb up to the first lookout isn’t so challenging in terms of grade, but it is made much more challenging by the slick footing and dense gorse (aka super spiny bush) underbrush that surrounds the trail. As you climb, the views become more and more breathtaking as does the sheer drop off the ridgeline you are climbing. Take a moment to pause at the bench at the first viewpoint to take in the 360-degree views.
If you are still feeling adventurous and aren’t ready to slide your way back down the hill you just climbed, forge ahead to the next viewpoint. Here the trail climbs up the very narrow spine of the coastal ridge. There isn’t much terrain to work with so the trail doesn’t have very many switchbacks, and it just plunges straight up the ridge. Take your time on the technical sections as the drop on the right-hand side is impressive (and a bit unnerving if you don’t care for heights).
The next viewpoint is similarly a stunner. From views inland of the Waitākere ranges to a bird’s eye view of where Manukau Harbor meets the Tasman Sea and the sheer green hillsides of Manukau Heads across the water, this is a truly memorable spot.
Once you have soaked in the views, continue on down the backside of the ridge. This section still plunges steeply down a narrow ridge, but you have now thankfully traded the cursedly slippery mud for some rocks and roots which at least give you some traction on the way down. One section has a iron chain to help aid your descent. Once off the steeper portion of the ridge, the trail heads back into the woods for a more mellow descent to Whatipū Road.