Regional parks

Introduction and overview

The Hillary Trail is a spectacular multi-day tramping trip through native forest and along the wild coast of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. Beginning and ending not far from metropolitan Auckland, this self-guided 77km trail is a challenging adventure.

It passes through a wide range of environments – regenerating rainforest, stands of mature kauri, coastal forest, rocky shores and black-sand beaches. It seems like around every corner there is another magnificent view.

The inspiration behind the trail is New Zealand’s great mountaineer, explorer and loved citizen Sir Edmund Hillary, who came to the rugged hills and beaches of the Waitakere Ranges to plan and prepare for his great expeditions.

The trail was developed through the joint effort of the elected members, rangers and officers of the Auckland Regional Council between 2005 and 2009 and continues to be maintained and developed by the Auckland Council.

The Hillary Trail is generally completed as a four to six day tramp. However the trail can be tailored to suit an individual’s fitness level, time availability and sense of adventure from running it non-stop to knocking off small sections over a year. You can complete the trail at any time of year, although in winter the short days, cool weather and muddier tracks will make the hike more demanding.

Tracks can be steep, rutted, ‘rooty’ and slippery, and you may be up to your ankles in mud. There are unbridged stream crossings which may include water above the knee. You can experience a variety of surfaces, including gravel and steps and you will also have to walk for short periods on public roads, some of them busy.

Walking times in the track notes are approximate as they are dependent on track conditions, fitness, group size and weather conditions..

Although the official gateway to the Hillary Trail is the Arataki Visitor Centre and the trail ends at Muriwai Beach it can be started or finished at a number of points along the way.

You’ll know you’re on the Hillary Trail if you’re following track markers.  Markers are positioned at intervals along the trail and at track intersections.