Enjoying a soak in the hot springs
Kaitoke Hot Springs Track
Time: 45 min one way
Starting from Whangaparapara Road, the journey to the top begins flat and easy - very friendly for push-chairs. The path follows an ancient shoreline traversing the Kaitoke wetlands and regenerating kānuka forest. You may hear the call of a fernbird or spotless crake. Orchids and sun dews flower close to the track. Forty-five minutes later, the track reaches the hot pools, dammed at a fork in Kaitoke Creek and surrounded by the delicate umbrella fern
Peach Tree Track to Mt Hobson (Hirakimata)
From the hot pools, after a brief, steep climb and descent, the track joins Tramline Track with reminders of loggers’ toil and journeys of 80 years ago. Soon after, Peach Tree Track appears on the left and the climb to the summit begins through regenerating forest.
Thirty minutes from the summit, the track passes Mt Heale and Mt Heale Hut. Wake up to wide views from the northwest through to the south.
Mt Heale Hut
Facilities: 20 bunk beds, cooking, mattresses
Start Kaitoke Hot Springs Track from Whangaparapara Road.
Nature and conservation
Nearing the summit, the track leads into mature forest where logging was too difficult and fires on the lower slopes did not reach. Remnants of an ancient and precious conifer forest, rimu, Kirk’s pine, pink pine and kauri, can be seen here.
Keep an eye out for black petrel. Once widespread on the North Island, breeding colonies of these large, burrow-nesting seabirds are now confined to Great Barrier Island Aotea and Hauturu / Little Barrier Island. The main colony on Great Barrier Island Aotea breeds on the slopes of Mt Hobson (Hirakimata) between October and May each year. Mature birds spend months at sea flying as far as South America and only return to the island to breed. Watch out for them on the road at night.
Know before you go
Take care as the stream water may be hot. Do not put your head under the water in the pools.