Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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After two cold and blustery days the weather suddenly turned nice and fine for the final stage of the Hillary Trail, the section from Bethells to Muriwai that includes the Te Henga Walkway. Half the group met at The Bracken at 8:30am and went to meet up with the others at McDonald’s in Lincoln Rd. Here we split up into two groups which would begin the tramp from opposite ends and swap car keys when crossing halfway. Mark led a group of 13 from Muriwai while Brett took 14 from the Bethells end. To make things simpler and save time, the group who had met at The Bracken did the northbound tramp from Bethells while those who went directly to Lincoln Rd did the southbound option. This way those going back to The Bracken would go directly home without having to return to Lincoln Rd.  

The northbound group set out 10:15am from the carpark near Bethells Beach, climbing up to the cliff tops overlooking O’Neills Bay. We dropped down a bit before climbing to a lookout point on the edge of the farmland. Here we stopped for morning tea at 11:30am. Not only was there a panoramic view of O’Neills Bay with Bethells Beach behind, but we could see the sand dunes and Lake Wainamu containing the route of the Hillary Trail towards Anawhata.
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We carried on, dropping down to follow an undulating course around the headland and northwards towards Muriwai through a mixture of bush, scrub and grass. In one place we could see a white surf pattern on the Tasman Sea extending outwards, a unique piece of God’s awesome creation.
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The southbound group passed us about halfway along the walkway at 12:55pm, and car keys were exchanged. We stopped for lunch 35 minutes later at a grassy spot overlooking the ocean.
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There was more of the same terrain as we continued on at 1:55pm, and we were relived to see the track look easier as we rounded the headland to Bartrums Bay.
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From here the track climbed up to the top of the ridge, and after a short rest we crossed a farm valley.
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The final grunt was up two long sets of wooden steps that had recently been built; near the top we could see part of the original track.
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The faster ones in the group carried on along Constable Rd and into Oaia Rd, being the route of the Hillary Trail into Muriwai. The last ones arrived at the Constable Rd trig carpark at 4pm, and drove into Muriwai.

After such a big workout we relaxed over coffee, icecream or takeaways at the Sand Dunz Café before heading home, the local population of sparrows eagerly accepting morsels thrown out by some of us and a few other customers as well.
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DISTANCE: 10.2km
AVERAGE SPEED:  3.0 km/h
COST: Travel from The Bracken $8, from McDonald’s Lincoln $5