Exploring the wild west coastline near Auckland:
Hiking and trail running the Hillary Trail
21-23 February 2017: Fastpacking the Hillary Trail
We had a few days spare at the end of our NZ trip and were enthralled by descriptions of the Waitakere Ranges. We later realised that this area is home to the Hillary Trail, which is the site of a famous trail run! The record for the 80km trail run is just over 8 hours. Alternatively, it’s marketed as a four day overnight hike where you carry your tent and gear. We wanted to do something in between the two options and came up with a plan to fastpack it.
We did it in three days, leaving plenty of time to explore the mountains and beaches. We stayed at lodges in the seaside villages which meant that we got away with just carrying our small running packs.
The trail starts just 30 minutes from Auckland. But the sheer cliffs, rugged hills and black sands give it a wild remote feel. The trail traverses coastal cliffs through rainforests and waterfalls, from sleepy seaside village to sleepy seaside village. Despite the beauty of the trails, we barely saw another sole outside the villages. It’s easy to see why someone like Edmund Hillary would’ve loved this area!