A Morning Walk At Latham's Track
Saturday 12 August 2017 - Latham’s Track, Awakeri, New Zealand
A couple of weeks ago I saw a picture of my friend Taryn on top of Latham’s Track and I knew straight away that I had to do it. She said the track itself is a loop, but the path which leads to the hot pools is much steeper. The path does run on private farmland, and even though there are plenty of roots, the track itself is well maintained.
There are two starting points, one on the way to Awakeri Hot Pools (from Whakatane), or at Awakeri Hot Pools. Look on the left for a fence stile with a small Latham’s Track wooden sign near a couple of houses. There’s a small car park area on the road side, but as it is a main highway, it may be tricky to spot at speed. Next time I will try to get an exact geo location and update this post.
We’ve had rain for most of this week so it wasn’t surprising that we encountered mud and plenty of squishy cow poo. Taryn’s dog, Dexter, joined us as it’s one of the few local tracks that allows dogs, and from the amount of dogs we came across, it’s certainly popular with dog owners. He had been here many times and lead us up the hill most of the way. The track is dirt with plenty of tree roots and there are no stairs.
I highly recommend walking this in shoes made for the bush, with good dirt grip. This was more evident as we walked back down the way we came, especially as sections hadn’t yet dried out from the week’s heavy rain. We also came across a small waterfall on the way up, unfortunately I couldn’t get close enough with the gopro to take a decent photo or video.
The track does narrow in some parts that required us to walk in single file, and it can be tricky with oncoming walkers and their dogs. Just be careful of the drop, especially if the track is wet.
As you near the top, the track widens while the treeline thins out and allows more sunshine through. Dexter knew it too and he lead us up to the bench seat and waited for his treat. It was a hazy view, but you could still see Whale Island and the surrounding farmland clearly. As sweat beads rolled down my back, I stood there taking it all in.
We did the walk up in a leisurely pace, often stopping to take photos. I think it may have taken us about 40 minutes, and I’m sure we can do it in less once my fitness improves. The walk down took much less - you have the option of walking back down the way you came, or take the steeper loop option.
A great day out would be to do the walk and head over to Awakeri Hot Pools for a nice soak to ease those sore muscles.