Kaitoke Hot Springs track is probably the most walked piece of track on Great Barrier Island. It is also the easiest. Being almost flat helps. If there was a track to take someone in a wheelchair on, this would be it. Do a test run first, but it should be fine.
The track starts on Whangaparapara road. There is parking and it is maybe an hours walk from the Claris Airport so it isn’t hard to get to. Another good idea is to get Steve and Lebee to drop you off and pick you up at the other end. I don’t know how much it costs but they seem to do it quite a lot.
It takes about three quarters of an hour to get to the hot springs. There is a toilet there and if you follow the path around to the left you can find some hotter pools up stream. There is also a deeper one at the top that isn’t as hot but is still the best.
If you cross the bridge the track keeps on going up steps. At the top there is a seat with a nice view of the Kaitoke Swamp. There are a couple more steps and that is about all the climbing until the start of Peach Tree Track. At the bottom of the hill the Hot Springs Track joins onto Tramline Track.
Tramline Track runs all the way from Whangaparapara almost to Windy Canyon. Both ends of it are quite steep but the middle is flat and straight. Easy walking.
Peach Tree Track
Peach Tree Track runs off Tramline where an old whare used to be. I have been told the peach tree wasn’t there though. It may even be still around. It is an interesting sign to read though.
Almost immediately after starting the track you begin to ascend. There had been recent track work when I went up to try and stop the spread of PTA there is a washing station at the start of most of the tracks on Great Barrier.
Once you get out of the larger Manuka into the smaller scrub-lands you are halfway there. The vegetation changes and you cross a stream where an old Kauri Dam used to be. After that it is a fairly steady climb until the junction with Southfork near Mt Heale Hut.
It is always a good idea to look at the view on the way up though. 🙂
Mt Heale Hut
Nice hut. No heating but there are mattresses for about 20 people, gas burners, water, and toilets. It does call itself a serviced hut although that hasn’t really been true when I have passed through. Twice the gas wasn’t working, once the water had to be got from the outside tank, and generally there was no toilet paper. This time was the exception with everything working.
There are electric lights in the hut but no wall socket. Cell phone coverage can also be intermittent.