Hunua Working Bee July 2011
Sat., Jul. 9, 2011
How high? - Finally the bike cleaning bay nears completion with the addition of a bike holding bar.
"I hereby chirsten this bike cleaning rack. May all bikes hung here become quickly clean" - Naomi ensures everything is level watched by the 3 foremen (note to PC OSH types: this shot was staged)
This is sweet! - No sooner had the concrete set, this biker was very pleased to be able to take a clean bike home.
Riverside Repair - The team then moved onto the ford area to repair some track. After that they moved into the valley to work on the Barnyard Trail and plant some native trees - you can see all that on our little Youtube video here.
October 4 2010 - the Moumoukai Valley network of trails are looking good considering the amount of rain and storms through the area over winter - a good reflection of the construction and maintenance by the ARC and MTB volunteers over the years.
The Working Bee party that worked through this lovely spring day wanted to start work on an all new trail (Wall Street) that will eliminate even more road (sorry Roadies, ha ha!) for the wetsern valley return part of the ride, but all this sort of stuff is on hold due to the Super City goings on (thanks Rodney).
CNZ's Krusty Kris and Gabb headed through the trails before the June Working Bee where volunteers worked with ARC Ranger Scotty Kusabs on a few spots that were suffering from the weather and traffic. More flow in a few spots was targetted along with plans for more tweaking of the new diversion halfway in the River Trail. Scotty is onto it and these spots will be address in future Working Bees (see below).
Krusty Kris has worked with ARC Ranger Scotty Kusabs to set the below dates for us to head in for Working Bees to work on the MTB network at the Hunua Ranges. The ARC provide some very helpful tools and resources as well as paying for rotten rock for weatherproofing and resources for bridges etc. We often start with a pre-Working Bee ride to ‘suss out' the trails and what work to do, so it's lots of fun. Let Kris know you're coming and he'll shout you a high energy lunch courtesy of the Auckland MTB Club and ARC will provide a replenishing BBQ dinner!
Meet at the Maungatawhiri car park at 8.30am if you want to go for a ride, or at 10.00am to rip straight into the work.
As usual, the club will look after you with a high energy lunch and the fine folks at ARC Southern Park shout a BBQ afterwards – this is if you let Kris know you are coming!
So drop Kris an email or bell him on 09 444 1446 or mobile 0274 955 966.
There is also the opportunity for you and your mates to get a team together and head out and work on the tracks any time of the year. Just give Ranger Scott Kusabs a call on ph: 2924267 to talk about some appropriate dates.
Please note that there is a very light possibility of alterations to this calendar throughout the year – please stay in touch if you wish to be informed. Subscribing to the club's e-newsletter is the best way to do this.
- Sat. 16 April
- Sun. 29 May
- Sat. 9 July
- Sun. 21 Aug
- Sat. 1 Oct
- Sun. 13 Nov
So email Kris Bartley to be added to the mailing list, or phone him on 09 444 1446 or mobile 0274 955 966.
As an added bonus, if you attend three or more of these club working bees he'll hook you up with a free Auckland MTB Club membership for the 2012 year.
SINGLE TRACK THROUGH REGENERATING NATIVE BUSH – GET AWAY FROM IT ALL!
If you haven't ridden in the ARC Hunua Ranges Park, it's time you checked it out. Only 40 mins from town, you'd swear you were hundreds of kilometres away from the Big Spoke. There's camping facilities where you park and the MTB tracks have been growing over the last few years and continue to grow.
How to Get there
Take the Papakura off-ramp from State Highway 1 motorway. Head towards Settlement Road and turn into Hunua Road alongside Sir Edmund Hillary School. Travel all the way through to Hunua township – 6km further on and look for the yellow AA “DAMS” sign on your left, turning into Moumoukai Road. You climb via gravel road past the Waiora Dam turnoff and then drop down to Mangatawhiri Dam. Park up in the campground carpark at the foot of this impressive earth dam – then you can clean your bike at the bikewash provided by ARC Hunua (editors note - bike wash removed due to vandalism, plans are afoot to build a new one right at the toilet block).
Lower Mangatawhiri Loop
14km return, medium grade, 1hr 30m – highly recommended.
From the campground parking area, ride back along the road you came in on, away from the dam. Follow the MTB signs veering you left to the gate 1km from the campground (if you start to climb, you haven't veared left). There's even a biker's entrance now so you don't have to lift your bike over the gate! You then have a nice easy warm-up ride along gravel road to the start of the newish River Trail. The River Trail is the newest addition to this area, eliminating 4km of gravel road (yahoo!) and takes you into the valley proper .This is the best MTB ride in the area with great views and good technical single track. Whilst it may be only 14km, it's sure worth a double lap and there's plenty of swimming options along the way. Or you can even enjoy a nice dip back at the campground.
The Freaky Styley MTB Club and the Counties Manukau MTB Club have spent many a hard (but happy) hour building and weather-proofing these tracks for you, so enjoy! With the help of club members like yourself, the Hunua Rangers hope to add more tracks over the next year and beyond, eventually having a whole network of tracks that you can ride on for hours. The beauty of these tracks is that once they're there, they're there for good – no commercial operation is going to come in and chop chop (refer loss of Secret Trail etc. in Riverhead over the last few years).
Look out for the sweeping, good-for-all Family Trail that will weave around the flat area close to the campground. This will be a great addition to this area and has already been approved. Make sure you take every opportunity to provide MTB feedback to ARC Hunua (visit the info centre in Hunua township) so that they know we want more and more trails. And come along to a Working Bee – this does wonders for our cause.
Mangatawhiri Challenge Trail
11km return, medium/difficult grade, 1 – 3 hrs
This is the first MTB track that was opened in the area. It's a toughie and we know it has scared off a few beginners from the area – come back and ride the LOWER MANGATAWHIRI LOOP! The Challenge Trail follows a ridge above the dam and therefore traverses some pretty steep up and downs. Only try this one in the dry! It's hard enough walking up those slopes in the wet let alone riding!
Anyway, it's a good challenge for a fit rider and rewards you with some stunning views – you can look north and see the Sky Tower as a tiny little stick in the distance. There are also views down either side to the Mangatawhiri and Wairoa Dams. The story goes that someone has managed to ride this one with only 2 feet-downs. I can remember my best being 14!
From the campground, ride up towards and past the dam. Follow the signs taking you on a 4km gravel road climb alongside the Reservoir – good speedy in/out up/down until the climb proper starts. At the top the signs turn you back onto the main ridge and the tough single track begins. The route then comes out onto Moumoukai Road, where you drove in. Don't forget to take the great 7 minute single track downhill on the left of the road halfway down. There had been plans to make this downhill from the very top, but a recent subsidence has curtailed this for now.
Used today for riding enjoyment and exhilaration, the hills and forests of the Hunua Ranges were used primarily by pre-Europen Maori as a source for food, timber and as a refuge rather than for permanent residence.
Following the Land Wars, the Hunua Range was confiscated by the Crown and divided into blocks. These were then granted to soldiers as a reward for their war service, or leased to settlers. The area was cleared for timber and farmed.
Rugged terrain, poor soils and difficulty of access meant this land was the last to be settled in the Auckland region.
In fact, access to and from the interior of the Hunua Range was so difficult that an arduous trip to Auckland took place only once every two or three years. If only they'd had mountainbikes!
Around 1930, the Auckland City Council began purchasing land in the area for the supply of water to the rapidly growing city to the north. As a result, farming was phased out in the Hunua Range.
Today, Watercare Services Ltd operate four dams, built between 1950 and 1977 and together they supply 61% of Auckland's water. It's these dams that you see lots of pictures of when there's a water crisis.
Between five and fifteen million years ago, the Hunua Range was lifted out of the sea by the movement of rock plates. Later volcanic activity on the western edge of the Hunua Range let basalt lava reach the surface through five major faults.
At Hunua Falls, lava rose in a volcano's throat and solidified to form a ‘plug' of solid grey basalt. Over time, the Wairoa River has eroded away the entire northern side of the crater to create a magnificent waterfall (certainly worth a visit on the way home from a ride).
It is estimated that 2-4 years ago, certain areas have formed into areas of tight single track with signs of tricky drop offs and occasional stream crossings. Experts predict that, if we treat things right, this type of landscape will evolve into a network of interlinked systems that will crisscross much of the terrain.
The Hunua Range is the largest block of forest to be found on the mainland of the Auckland region. The forest grows from the coast to the very top of the highest peaks in the Range. In all, there are over 450 different species of native plants, 21 of which are either nationally or regionally threatened.
This is why you must stick to the tracks and preserve the fauna – it's hard to tell a young growing native starting it's long life when it's just a toddler.
Although many of the large stands of kauri, matai, kahikatea, tawa, rata and rimu were removed by logging last century, they are now regenerating successfully.
That's not to say every magnificent tree was removed in the Hunua Range. As you wander, you will see plenty of towering giants.
In 1964, the first plantings of radiata pine trees in the north west of the Range were established on what was once cleared farmland. Today, 2240 hectares of exotic forest are being logged and replanted under a forestry lease.