Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ngaruawahia Waterworks Tramp

Today we ventured out for another tramp. I picked one that looked relatively easy as we hadn't been out over winter on any walks and I wasn't sure how long we'd, OK, how long I'd last.
We drove off to Ngaruawahia (na-ru-ah-wa-he-ah) to the Waterworks track. The track leads to the Mangarata Dam which was built in 1922 and supplied water to the town right up until the late 70's.
If you look closely you can see a green pole (signpost) on the side of that DOC (Department of Conservation) road. We turned left there and headed along a track into that bush!
The track was really lovely. For much of the trip we followed a stream running along beside us and even though we were heading up a hill it was a nice gradient.
Now and then we came across waterfalls feeding into it. This is not a tree branch in this photo but part of the old piping that fed the water down the mountain to the township.
Because of the rating that this track has (IE family friendly, etc) DOC have to ensure that there are bridges and even stairs once the gradient gets over a certain level.
There was only one part of the track where it got very narrow and so we had be careful as it fell away steeply to the stream below. This was Agent Smelly's favourite part of the track.
Not far below the dam was this lovely waterfall. We are standing on a wee bridge that has no sides but has a ledge on either side that you can step down onto and then into the small pool of water. We were going to do this on our way back but a family had beaten us to it and whilst I wouldn't have minded joining them, they had a pitbull and presumeably it's pup, with them, who had a bit of a bark at us probably protecting her pup, so I was taking no chances. They must have missed the sign saying "no dogs".
A few more steps up and around the corner and we came apon our first view of the dam.
My wee adventurers walked out along the edge. Right behind where they are standing is  the drop shown in the picture above this one where the water comes out. The dam itself was quite small.
We stopped at the reservoir to have our lunch. Good GirlGuides that they are, the girls pulled out their sit-a- pons to sit by the water and eat their salad rolls. That ledge in the distance is what the family were standing on in the previous photos. The reservoir used to hold 750,000 litres of water but with the build up of silt it now holds less than 500,000 litres. There are native fish,eels and crayfish in this dam and in the streams below, so it is a protected area and no fishing is allowed.
From this area you can head further up the mountain on another steep hour and half long climb for a view of the Kaimai and Coromandel ranges. Much to the disappointment of both girls I vetoed this idea ... the words steep climb and I do not go together. They were pretty good about it as you can see.
The Fashionista likes to get right into the thick of things and wades through streams to get to places off the track. She just loved the waterfalls.

She found this wee cave and climbed into it. What you cant see is that right in front of her it drops right away and there is only a wee ledge along the left to get there. Agent Smelly was apprehensive but joined her sister after some cajoling by her. The Fashionista imagined that maybe this was where the workers slept when building the dam.
The Fashionista decided to take another track that ran along the other side of the proper walking track (it wasn't very long and we could see her the whole way). It was simply a bit muddy. When she got to the bottom to come across to where it met up with us again, the stream was a little deeper than she had anticipated. The river stones were rather wet and mossy and even though it was only ankle deep, we didn't want her slipping, so the Papa went down and gave her a hand across.
The Fashionista skipped along on the way back and kept hiding behind trees and pongas and then jumping out at us as we got closer. We told her she is never to wear green on a hike again as she was really hard to spot and kept giving us shocks ... much to her amusement. She thinks she has ninja skills! 
This was a lovely tramp, enough to get a little out of breath at times but not painfully strenous. Both kids, and the Papa and I, really enjoyed the beauty and serenity of this walk and are already taking of going back again once we have accomplished a few more of the other trails on our list.
(This was the No 6 Nature Trail from the Natural Attractions of the Waikato District Brochure.)


  1. What a well-presented, fun & enjoyable article MTM! I've never heard of this trail & I live closer to it than you. I love the girls' code names! Be sure to let me know if you go again & we'll join you. I'll be sharing this on my wall - lovely! You've inspired me today, thank you.

    1. How sweet of you to say. The trail is really worth the effort Mari, your family would love it. When it's warmer will be a great place to go did a toe in that wee wateringspot!


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