The Waimoku Track and Sefton Ridge Track meet approximately 45 minutes below Patuha Trig and can be combined to form a loop, with a detour to the trig. It is easier to ascend via the Waimoku Track and return via the Sefton Ridge Track, as this is better graded.
Lucy’s Gully is signposted 3.3 km south-west of Oakura along Upper Ahu Ahu Road. The narrow sealed road leads 1 km to a redwood grove and a parking area with picnic tables and toilets, from where the start of the tracks is signposted.
The Waimoku Track and Sefton Ridge Track meet approximately 45 minutes below Patuha Trig and can be combined to form a loop, with a detour to the trig. It is easier to ascend via the Waimoku Track and return via the Sefton Ridge Track, as this is better graded. All tracks are marked with orange triangles.
The Waimoku Track starts by passing through an impressive plantation of lofty Californian redwoods. The track is formed but single file. In many places you’ll be thankful for the markers, as vegetation masks the track. Supplejack and kiekie vines entwine the branches of the canopy with an impenetrable lattice. Views are hidden until a small grass clearing facing north (45 minutes), which appears 15 minutes before the signposted junction with the Sefton Ridge Track.
The track now drops to follow a small stream, before climbing steeply to a pinnacle. This outcrop captures views in all directions, capped only by those at Patuha Trig (682 metres). At times you will need all four limbs to climb the steep rocky sections.
The views encompass the entire Mount Taranaki ring plain and coastline, with the intervening agricultural land. The Pouakai Range is dwarfed by Mount Taranaki. Various ridges descend from the trig, which caps the resistant remains of the former volcanic cone you are standing on.
Descend from the trig and return via the easier graded Sefton Ridge Track.
If you prefer to just have a picnic and a short stroll, there is a 5-minute walk through the redwoods back at the parking area.
In the chain of Taranaki volcanoes, The Kaitake Range is the second in the Sugar Loaves/Kaitake Range/ Pouakai Range/ Mount Taranaki sequence. The series of radiating spikes is the skeleton of a volcanic cone, which may have once resembled Mount Taranaki in size and form.
The vegetation on the Kaitake Range differs from the slopes of Mount Taranaki. Tawa, hinau and pukatea are the predominant canopy species, while below mahoe and pigeonwood form the shrub tier. A dense lattice of supplejack and kiekie entwine the lower layers.
Lucy’s Gully was named after Lucy Stevens, who lived in Oakura in the early 1900s. Decorated with moko and usually wearing a black scarf, the toothless lady was always fond of children. She was a popular landmark, selling mushrooms, blackberries, kete and whip thongs to travelling bullock and horse drawn vehicle drivers at the monthly Okato sales. Her husband and two sons were buried in the valley and she would often be seen visiting their graves for days at a time.
The redwoods were planted in the Depression years of the 1930s, by relief workers under the authority of Sir Victor Davies.
Near the Sefton Ridge Track was the site of a battle during the Second Taranaki War in 1864. A clearing of approximately 100 metres by 300 metres was used by local Maori for crop cultivation. This hidden site was protected from the ravages of coastal invaders and provided a useful backup source of food in times of war. On 21st April 1864 however, nearby Te Ahuahu Pa was attacked by Taranaki Bushrangers who then ascended the ridge and destroyed the crops in the clearing. They found three whares containing luggage from a wrecked ship named Te Namu, which sunk near Opunake in 1862. Although the remains are now overgrown, the history is still present.
North Island ▷ Taranaki ▷ Oakura
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Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍