Also known as Hikurangi
Mt Zion rises south of the main beach at Karekare in the Waitakere Ranges. At 272 m, it provides the opportunity for a short walk to the top. There are many tracks in the area – we describe a loop walk that can be done that takes in both the forest and coastal experience.
|Elevation||272 m (892 ft)|
|Location/List||North Island, New Zealand|
|Location Coordinates||36° 59′ 49″ S, 174° 28′ 60″ E|
|Nearest Town/s||Karekare, Piha Beach, Waitakere, Auckland
|Translation||hiku: summit; rangi: sky|
From Auckland (Titirangi), follow the scenic drive for 10 km before turning left on to Piha Road. Follow this road for 11 km, then turn left on to Karekare Road. If you drive for a further 3 km you will end up at a carpark, picnic area and toilets. Park in the carpark and start the walk from there.
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Our Recommended Route
Park at the Karekare carpark at the beach community of Karekare. From the carpark, take the Pohutukawa Glade Walk to a picnic area. This is where you should find a signpost that indicates where the Zion Hill track starts.
Follow the track up the hill. The track passes through forest and has some good views back over Karekare Beach. Eventually after about 30 minutes you will reach the summit of Mt Zion.
An alternative track (Zion Ridge track) branches off at this point however stay on the Zion Hill track and continue along the undulating ridge. The track can be muddy and slippery in places. Eventually you will cross a small stream and reach a kauri grove with some sizable trees.
As you continue onwards, the track crosses a second stream before joining the Buck Taylor Track. Head right along this track. Shortly, you will come to another junction. Turnoff to Muir track is to the left and right will take you to the beach. Follow the right-hand beach track to the big black sand hill to the west.
There is a signpost just before you climb the sand hill to direct you onwards. The track heads off in the general direction of nor-nor-west. The landscape around the “beach” portion of the walk is a mixture of sand dunes and swampy wetland. The track can be grassy and sometimes hard to see, but the walk should not be difficult as long as you keep the cliff face on your right shoulder, and the sea on your left. Along the way you will pass campsites and a tunnel (which can be walked through) and some toilets.
Eventually you will get back to Karekare Point, and will see The Watchman rock. Do not cross the creek which flows in front of it, rather follow the creek up-stream inland. This will take you through a grassy area and back to Karekare carpark where you started.
There are a number of tracks in the area which can be walked as part of a Mt Zion trip. An alternative loop includes walking the Zion Hill Track, Buck Taylor Track, Zion Ridge Track, and returning back down the Zion Hill Track.
Also for a longer walk, one might go as far as the Muir Track turn-off and take in the Gibbons Track returning via the coast. This walk would constitute a long day walk (approximately 8 hours) or could be done over 2 days if staying at the campgrounds in the area.
The main Karekare waterfall, known by the Kawerau people as ‘Te Ahoaho’ or ‘pendulous white thread’, is located a short walk from the main beach arrival area and can also be visited.
Weather and Webcam Links
|North Island Weekend Tramps (Bird’s Eye Guides), Shaun Barnett. (2008), See pages 15-18|
|Day Walks in New Zealand: 100 Great Tracks (Bird’s Eye Guides), Shaun Barnett, Craig Potton Publishing (2007), See pages 22-23|
A Dictionary of Maori Placenames, AW Reed, 1982