The Te Henga Walkway is a top day hike with big views on offer in such a small distance from Auckland City. I’ve returned to the track twice and will continue to head back when I’m itching for a couple hours of good hiking but am too short on time or money for a remote adventure far outside of Auckland.
The track is part of the, now closed, Hillary Trail. The Hillary Trail is a four day tramping (75km) adventure on Auckland’s West Coast named after the great Kiwi adventurer himself, Sir Edmund Hillary, and was opened in 2010 on the second anniversary of his death to provide a rewarding challenge for other trampers. The track has now been closed indefinitely to prevent Kauri Dieback (Learn More Here) but many eagerly await it’s reopening.
Always check the weather and route alerts before you explore the outdoors and be prepared for the conditions. Tell someone where you’re going and when to expect you back. Respect New Zealand’s environment, wildlife and land owners by following the Tiaki Promise. Leave only footprints, take only photos.
You can either begin the Te Henga Walkway at the southern entrance on Bethells Road (37km from Auckland) or the northern entrance on Constable Road (46km from Auckland). I have walked it twice beginning at the northern entrance and found the trail easily; there is a small signpost near the end of Constable Road. The southern entrance is also signposted 1km before the end of Bethells Road, opposite the Lake Wainamu carpark.
The track is 10.3km and takes around 3.5-4 hours ONE WAY. If you’re wanting to walk the track in its entirety without backtracking, head out to walk with another person and drop one car at the end of track you’re going to finish at; remember the keys!
Beginning the track at the Northern end means you’ll head down a large staircase before crossing some private farmland to briefly walk with the local Pukekohe. It doesn’t take long to break above the grassy hills to be welcomed by a vast view of white-wash waves and steep cliffs that stay in sight for the majority of the track.
The track itself is a bit rough and doesn’t have a lot of man made elements apart from the initial staircase. Some sections can become overgrown which mean some itchy, scratchy, tickly and damp bramble around your lower legs which may make shorts an uncomfortable idea.
In rough swells there is an impressive water corridor about an hour into the track. Along the way there’s plenty of high vantage points to take a seat for lunch and sometimes a few fenced sheep to chat to.
As you wind around the coast there are gradual inclines and declines but nothing strenuous and it then drops below the tree line as you head down towards Bethells Beach at the southern end of the track.
Can You Camp on the Track?
The track is a day-hike that only takes a couple hours and there currently isn't any campground or DOC hut on the actual track. However, I have often thought about walking the Te Henga Walkway one way beginning at the Southern end and then continuing on to the Muriwai Beach Campground on Jack Butt Lane, an extra hour’s walk from the end of the track. This would be ideal if you don’t have the option of leaving a car at the end of the track and also don’t want to walk an 8 hour day on the same track. Why not split it into two days and watch the sunset over Muriwai and make a weekend out of it?
Every time I rounded the corner of another winding cliff on the Te Henga Walkway I was shocked at the coastal views of the West Coast this track provided while only being one hour drive from Auckland City. It really provides the mountainous and rugged landscapes you’d expect to find after multiple days hiking into more remote territory. If you have any other questions about the Te Henga Walkway, let me know on my Instagram!