Waitahinga trails

Whanganui adventure run around the Waitahinga trails.
We decided to head up to Whanganui for a long weekend to check out some new trail runs in the area. We heard about some trails the Whanganui tramping club had built which were only a 45min drive from town. So we decided to check them out.

The drive there was really nice, esp after you got off the main state highway. The last third of the journey to the trail start was on gravel roads.

Once we got to the car park, we needed to walk through the gate and up the 4-wheel drive track to get to the information board.

Waitahinga trail map

Lookout loop

After studying the map, we headed off towards the small loop track and the two lookout points. The start of the small lookout loop track was a short distance along the 4-wheel drive track. As soon as we turned off the 4-wheel drive track, we were straight into the forest. The track was really easy to navigate with markers on the trees and signposts at the main intersections. After a while the trail elevation started to increase, as we made our way up to the first of the look outs. Once at the top, the view looking out towards over the hills towards Mt Taranaki (Mt Egmont) was amazing. Unfortunately we couldn’t see the mountain as there was cloud cover in the distance.

Looking out towards Mt Taranaki - Hidden by the clouds

After taking a few photos, we made out way back down the small incline towards the junction to the next lookout. This lookout looked out towards Mt Ruapehu and the Tongariro national park. This time we had a clear view of the mountain, which looked amazing with the snow cover.

After a few more photos, we made our way down from the lookout and completed the loop.

Main Waitahinga trails loop

Once we were back on the 4-wheel drive track, we made our way towards the main large loop track of the Waitahinga trails. This loop follows one of the ridge line’s to the Dam at the far end, then comes back via the other ridge line.

The track out to the dam was fairly technical in places, but was so fun running through the trees. There were quite a few trip hazards along this track though, with supple-jack crossing on the path. There was also an old fence which had been knocked down, but the wire was still crossing over the path in places.

As we got nearer to the Dam, the track started following the river, which was an amazing bright green colour. Once we got to the Dam, the true beauty of the area was revealed!

Waitahinga Dam lake

Return journey

After a short break to eat some food, we started to make our way back to the car.

The first part of the track from the Dam was fairly steep, as it zigzagged up to the ridge line. After the initial steep climb, the track evened out and we began running again. This ridge seemed to have way less trip hazards than the other track had.

It didn’t take long before we joined back up to the original track again and headed towards the car. It was at this point Rob caught his foot on a piece of fence wire which was crossing the path. Luckily he managed to catch himself before he fell completely, but he was very careful to look out for trip hazards again.

After a short while later, we noticed the trees starting to thin out and it getting lighter. Before long we emerged from the treeline and were back at the start of the trail and at the sign.

The Waitahinga trails were some awesome trails, with lots of variety as well as the natural beauty of the forest and Dam. This is definitely somewhere we would return to in the future when we were in the area.

How to get there

Take SH3 out of Whanganui towards Kai Iwi, turn right onto Rangititau Rd at Kai Iwi and follow it until Junction road turns off to the left. Take Junction road for maybe a kilometre and park at the well signed Quarry carpark on the left.

The Waitahinga trails are about 12km past Bushy park (see maps here: http://www.waitotara.co.nz/images/waitahingamainroadmap.jpg and http://www.waitotara.co.nz/images/waitahingamap.jpg)