Karamatura Valley and Mount Donald Mclean (2017)

Note May 2021: This post describes a hike that was done back in 2017 prior to being closed off due to Kauri Die Back concerns. The track has since reopened minus the Fletcher Track.

Trip notes for the Karamatura Valley and Mount Donald Mclean trail, a regular solo short to medium walk I regularly do. This will perhaps be my first attempt at documenting a trail in some sort of detail in a format inspired predominantly by MotoWalk NZ

In summary, A trek up through Fletcher Track up to Mount Donald Mclean and back via Karamutura Valley.

Looking down to Whatipu from Mount Donald Mclean Lookout (Click to Access Gallery)

Expect around 5 hours at a gentle pace, including 30-40 minutes for a lunch stop at Mount Donald McLean and a 30-40 minute Swimming stop at the Base of Karamatura Falls (Actual walking time, about 3½ to 4 hours)

Route Directions…

(No guarantees of correctness given or implied, Tracks can and do change, by want of slips and re-routing)

Original Route map (clockwise) back when the hike was done in 2017…
NOTE: As of 2021, the Fletcher Track is no longer open.

Original Route Map for Karamatura + Mount Donald Mclean Walk. PLEASE NOTE: As of 2021, the Fletcher Track is no longer open.

Starting from the car park… Trail starts from between the Wooden Statue and the Information Sign Board…

Karamatura Car Park

Walk through following the trail until you reach the Boot Cleaning station.

Boot Cleaning Station on Karamatura Track

After cleaning your boots, keep walking on through a wooden bridge. Shortly after the bridge will be the Junction of Fletcher track to the left. Turn Left on to Fletcher Track

NOTE: As of 2021, the Fletcher Track is no longer open.

Karamatura Track Junction with Fletcher Track

Fletcher track ascends pretty steeply for about 200 metres of vertical gain and can be particularly tough going if the track is wet and muddy. About 20-30 minutes of hard uphill slog, you will reach some sort ridge with a sharp turn to the right, watch out for Orange permolat markers. At that point there is a short unmarked, but well trodden trail to the left with some views…

Views over Huia

Return back the same way and continue following the Orange permolat markers up the ridge. There will be two fairly sizeable undulations of about 70m (vertical gain) each intermixed with smaller 40m (vertical loss and gain) undulations until you reach the end of Fletcher Track with a Tee Junction of Mount Donald Mclean Track. Turn Left on to Mount Donald Mclean Track to head towards Mount Donald Mclean.

Mount Donald Mclean T-Junction with Fletcher Track

Go straight past Bob Gordon Track (Closed) and continue on towards Mount Donald Mclean until you reach the Junction with Puriri Track (Will be on the right). Continue straight to stay on Mount Donald Mclean Track

Intersection of Mount Donald Mclean Track with Puriri Track

For a short distance afterwards. you will reach a road, turn left and cross the Road End and there should be a clearly marked entrance up to Mount Donald Mclean.

Donald Mclean Car Park

Mount Donald Mclean is an ideal spot for Lunch with views of the Manukau harbour and right to Whatipu. Return back down the same way

Mount Donald Mclean Trig

Retrace your steps along Mount Donald Maclean Track, passing Puriri Track, Bob Gordon (closed) and then back to where we originally were at the junction to track Fletcher Track, Keep Left to Stay on Mount Donald Track…

Mount Donald Mclean Track intersection with Fletcher Track

You will then reach the Karamatura Forks. Turn Right on to Karamatura Track paying close attention to the signs (to make sure you are going down the correct track!!)…

Karamatura Forks

There will be a few boardwalks, a step section down, a few more board walks and a gentle descent before a very steep descent that may severally challenge the structural integrity of your knees. You will reach a stream and the Junction of the side track to Karamatura Falls, Turn Left to go follow the short side track to the falls…

Intersection of Karamatura Track and the side track to Karamatura Falls.

Follow the well trodden trail and you should then see this…

Karamatura Falls (better pictures of the Falls available at the associated NUI.NZ Photo Gallery)

Return back the same way until you reach the previous junction. Continue along Karamatura track by crossing the stream

White Stream (At Junction between Karamatura Track and the Karamatura Falls Side Track)

After a relatively shortish distance, you will reach the Junction with Tom Thumb Track, Keep Right to stay on Karamatura track

View of Intersection with Tom Thumb Track. (East Bound, from Karamatura falls)
Another shot of the same Junction between Karamatura Track and Tom Thumb Track, Looking towards Karamatura Falls Direction

After about a 20-30m walk, you will reach the junction with Karamatura Loop Walk, Turn Right to go on to Karamatura Loop Walk

Track Junction between Karamatura Track and Karamatura Loop Walk

About 400m in you will get to a look out (With views of the rocky ridgeline)

Lookout Turn off on the Karamatura Loop Walk
Lookout view platform with a view of the Ridgeline adorning the Karamatura Valley

Continue Eastward along the Karamatura Loop Track (Turn left from the viewing platform). You will reach the junction between Karamatura track and Karamatura Loop Walk, Turn Right to head straight back to the car park (Start point), passing through the original junction to the Fletcher track turn off.

Eastern Junction with Karamatura Track and Karamatura Loop Walk


Karamatura Valley and Mount Donald Mclean (2017)

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