Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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Two Lauries led a group of 16 people to see some of the features of the Whatipu area. We set out from the Whatipu carpark about 9:40am to do the Kura Track, and at the start of the track we came to our first geocache location. Peter had made up a list of geocaches that could be found on our route, and was using his GPS to try and locate them. The first of these was a small container containing a marble. The second geocache was a short way ahead, and was a small lunch box containing a pencil sharpener, a small cloth bangle and a tiny human figure.
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The track carried on into the bush following the Whatipu Stream and crossing it several times before climbing steadily up to come out on the Whatipu Road. Ten of us did the first part of the Omanawanui Track while the others roadbashed for ten minutes to where the track meets the road once more.
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It was just before midday when we entered the Omanawanui Track proper. Ten minutes later we had our lunch stop part of the way up the first hill on the track.
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About 12:30pm we carried on, and soon had views out to Awhitu Peninsula and the rugged north coast of the Manukau Harbour. We came to the Omanawanui trig and could see down to Whatipu and the north head of the harbour. Here we found another geocache, which contained a purple marker.
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We dropped down then had one more hill to climb from where we could look straight down to Whatipu and Paratutae Rock on the north head.
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It was 2:20pm when we came out back at the Whatipu carpark. We then went for a walk to look at and go inside several caves in the cliffs. In the largest and most well-known of the caves we sat down to enjoy a short devotions from Laurie K. He read Psalm 142, a prayer David wrote while inside a cave hiding from King Saul and his troops. In this Psalm David cries out to God putting before Him his complaint. He acknowledges that God knows his way, that He is our refuge. David cries out to God in his time of desperate need, pleading to be rescued from his pursuers, that he can praise Godís name. This prayer applies to each one of us in times of desperation and need. In the next cave Laurie read out a poem The Parara Express by the late John T Diamond, a well-known Waitakere Ranges identity. This was about someone who bribed the driver of the train that brought timber from Piha to Whatipu to give him a ride. He rides the steam train all the way to Whatipu that day in August 1882 before boarding a brig ship for the Clyde goldfields in Otago.
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We returned to the carpark at 3:50pm for afternoon tea at the Ute Café. Laurie served up tea, coffee, bread rolls and biscuits. The local population of sparrows eagerly ate morsels thrown out by one or two of us. This brought a conclusion an interesting and varied day in the Whatipu despite the cold windy weather, thankful that we had nothing more than very slight showers.

DISTANCE: 11.7km
AVERAGE SPEED:  3.6 km/h
COST: Travel from The Bracken $6