The Waitākere Ranges Regional Park has many outstanding walks that combine glorious coastal views and the flora and fauna of New Zealand’s most lush native forest.


The Hillary Trail is a self-guided tramp/hike through 77km of forest tracks and the wild coast of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park. It connects various park tracks and basic campgrounds. You must book with Auckland Council to stay in their basic campsites. There is also a variety of alternative accommodation options. The trail is not serviced. You must provide your own food, water, equipment and transport. You are responsible for your own safety. Please give details of your trip to a friend/family and let them know when you have completed your hike. 


Hilly terrain, the variety of track standards and sections of exposed coastline mean that a high level of fitness and tramping or hiking experience is essential. The trail is best suited to the summer months. The Waitākere Ranges are densely forested hills that are to be respected and taken seriously. The section between Huia and Whatipū is considered the most difficult terrain of the Hillary Trail. Your effort is rewarded with stunning scenery. The side track to the summit of Mt Donald McLean is highly recommended (30-40 minutes return).


Completing the trail ‘in one go’ takes four days. However there are many ways to complete the trail, from running it in a day, extending the time taken to complete it and staying in local lodges and B&B’s, or even breaking it down into sections to be completed as shorter day walks over many months.  Please contact the knowledgeable staff at the Arataki Visitor Centre for advice on tailoring the trail to suit you. Phone 09 817 0089 or email


Whatipū Parking. Walkers who would otherwise leave their car parked in the Whatipū Beach pubic carpark and wish to leave their car parked overnight in the Whatipū Lodge grounds, may do so by donating $5 per night, per car. We donate 100% of these proceeds to the Huia Volunteer Fire Brigade. Please drive in and enquire at the office. If no one is present, please put emergency phone contact details on your car dash and your expected time of return.


Accommodation options.

Whatipū Lodge/Bach/Campground - staying at Whatipū gives you time to explore the stunning beach and/or the historic sea caves. Whatipū can be a start or end point for shorter day trip sections. Whatipū Bach is an excellent option for smaller groups.

The cost for two Hillary Trail walkers staying one night at Whatipū Bach is $90 (Sunday to Thursday) and $120 (Friday and Saturday for up to 4 people) - arriving after 3pm and leaving by 10am). Additional adults are $20 and children $10 in the bach. The cost for staying at Whatipū Lodge is $45 per adult and $25 per child. Hillary Trail walkers camping cost is $7.50 per adult or $20 per family of 2 adults and 3 children. There is no need to book or enquire to camp.

Bookings for the Bach and Lodge is essential. Bach and Lodge accommodation is sometimes not available due to other bookings - please see the booking calendar. You must bring your own bedding.


Te Huia Tours a local tour guide, with local knowledge.

Auckland Council Hillary Trail link (includes maps and other accommodation)

Hillary Trail Auckland Council offical website


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