Harker Reserve Walk, Onewhero, Auckland
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
Location: Onewhero-Tuakau Bridge Road, Onewhero, 2697
Parking: Yes, plenty of off-road parking on a nice piece of grass or on the gravel shoulder
Dogs: Yes, on lead
Shoes: I wore my sneakers, however it was muddy in patches of the track that are heavily shaded by the trees. If it has been raining I would recommend hiking boots
Date Walked: 26 January 2017
Weather Conditions: Sunny, Hot
Time Required: Signs say 40 minutes per way, it took me about 50 minutes to get there which included sight-seeing and taking pictures, and only 30 minutes to get back walking very quickly
Final Rating: ★★★★★
Getting to this walk is easy, coming from Pukekohe or the Bombay off ramp, head towards Tuakau. Pass over the Tuakau bridge and take the second road on your right up towards Onewhero. The car park is clearly visible on your right about 5 or so minutes up the road.
IN MY BACKPACK
In my bag, I had a 1.5 L drink bottle and my camera. No rain jacket required on a lovely day. There are plenty of places along the walk to have a picnic.
Note, that horse riders are also allowed to use this track so take care.
The walk starts at the car park, and heads down a gravel slope. Continuing down the track, you soon arrive at a sign showing the options of completing the full 40 minute per way track to the waterfall, or a shorter 15 minute loop through the bush.
The track turns from gravel to short dead grass, which may be rather slippery in wetter conditions, however it is very pleasant to walk on while dry. You continue to wind around the track until you reach a flat, somewhat overgrown, area with a picnic table and another nice sign explaining how the reserve was made available by the Harker family in 1984. This is one of many places you could stop and have a break or picnic along the walk.
After the picnic area, there are a few spots of track that are a bit muddier due to being covered by dense overhead bush. I can imagine on a wetter day this would become quite slippery and sludgy!
Soon after, the entrance for the Loop Track is visible on your right hand side. I did not do this track this time, as I was headed for the waterfall, however looking at the map I think this would be a very enjoyable option if you’re short on time.
Once you have passed the loop track, the walk sets into a steady climb on a weaving track around the hill. All pain in the legs is soon forgotten when you reach the top, with beautiful views out over the hills, and a nice place to take a rest and have a drink.
Up the track from the look out point, you continue along the fence line up to a gate. There, you will see another sign that reads ‘Waterfall 200m’.
From here, you follow a gravel road down to the Waterfall entrance. The first time we actually walked past the waterfall entrance, so keep your eyes peeled as the sign is almost camouflaged into the bush. If you get to the other entrance gate, you have walked too far and you will be on top of the waterfall rather than under it!
Alternatively, you can come to this entrance if you wish to only see the waterfall, and not do the walk. This entrance is accessible via Miller Road, which can be seen on the track map above.
Once you have entered the gate to Vivian falls, the track leads you through the bush and down a small man-made stone stair case. It’s like a little paradise! Wow.
Climbing over the rocks, you are able to get just close enough to feel the mist coming off the waterfall which was very refreshing after the walk.
Down below the waterfall there is a small pool, which was shallow when I visited, however it may get deeper depending on the rainfall.
Heading back was easier than getting there, as its mainly downhill. There are more lovely views to see which you have your back to on the way there. Overall, I would highly recommend this walk. I love how you have the option to drive directly to the waterfall if you’re not wanting to go for a walk.