Friday, 21 February 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Ancient kauri now included in TCDC’s Track & Trails Guide

A gem of a walk that takes people up close and personal with some of the giants of the Coromandel forest is likely to attract a bit more attention from visitors to the Peninsula in the future.

The short Waiau Kauri Grove Walk, which is accessed along the 309 Road, has just been included in Thames-Coromandel District Council’s Tracks & Trails Guide. The guide is distributed through council offices, district libraries and visitor information centres, with an online version available on the council website.

Around 8km along the 309 from the Coromandel Town side, the short easy walking track leads to the most accessible and mature stand of kauri on the Coromandel, including the fascinating “Siamese kauri” which forks into what looks like two different trees just above the ground.

At just a 20 to 30-minute return stroll, the walk is far more about the scenery and sights than the exercise. But visitors can expect to spend additional time enjoying the closeness of some of the magnificent trees. The track is well maintained with boardwalks, small staircases and handrails with informative signs.

According to www.thecoromandel.com, Destination Coromandel’s online shop window, “The Waiau kauri were mysteriously spared from the 1880 to 1930 era of kauri tree felling, however after World War II, the government wanted to use the timber to aid the war effort. The Waiau Kauri Grove was preserved by determined locals who had the foresight to resist the proposed logging. Their efforts mean the kauri remain as New Zealand taonga for generations to come. There are 13 massive kauri in the Waiau grove.”

The prospect of increased footfall in the vicinity of some of our most precious trees can’t possibly come without the required warning to prevent the spread of kauri dieback. “To help avoid the spread of kauri dieback disease, stay away from kauri tree roots and clean your footwear and gear before and after visiting any kauri forest,” the TCDC guide says. Dogs are not allowed on this particular track.

The guide combines the walk with a stop off at the nearby Waiau Falls, which can be seen from the 309 Road. A five-minute walk down a dirt track takes you to a water hole and a close-up view of the pristine waterfall.

"I love giving this guide to visitors to help them get out there and discover our beautiful part of the world," said TCDC mayor, Sandra Goudie. “The guide fits right in with our strategy to promote walking and cycling infrastructure in our communities, not just to help get people be active, but also to encourage tourism and help promote local economic development.”

The recently revised, free Tracks & Trails Guide doesn't include every track and trail on the Peninsula, but features a good selection from across the Coromandel mostly in or near town centres. Walks listed in and around the Mercury Bay area include Rings Loop and Bluff Road to Matarangi, Opito Bay to Crayfish Bay, the Whitianga waterfront and town heritage walk, the Whitianga Bike Park, Maramaratotara/Ferry Landing, Shakespeare Cliff to Lonely Bay, Cathedral Cove to Hahei Beach, New Chum Beach and Whangapoua Beach to Opera Point. The guide can be downloaded at www.tcdc.govt.nz/localwalks.

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