Hiking Mt Eliza Mine Loop

My day started with much anticipation, it was due to a nagging thought

“Am I fit enough?”.

“Only time will tell”, I repeatedly told myself as I was driven towards the Wairoa River parking area to meet up with other fellow hikers. Once they arrived, we then headed off towards south of Katikati then to the end of Thompsons Track Road just off SH2 where our, hike would start. The last part of this track is a narrow gravel road, and the car park area is rough and unmarked. Make sure that you visit a toilet as there are no facilities in the area. With all my half marathon training I have become used to limited toilets!! There is a nack to quenching that thirst and reducing the number of toilet stops!

As I had questioned my fitness for most of the previous day and the day of the hike I was somewhat relieved when the track started off at an easy gradient. Being surrounded by tall punga trees, it made for a lovely view as at this stage there was no need to keep my eyes focussed on the ground. Then before long, we crossed a small bridge before the track crosses and then runs alongside and above the Waitekohe Stream. The track then heads gradually upwards. At one point, through the trees, we can see waterfalls below with pools, and we also pass an unmarked trail leading down towards them.

Climbing steadily which was still manageable at this stage. A kilometre later someone mentioned a stop for a rest and a drink. I am sure it wasn’t me, though I could have given that person a hug for suggesting it!

Me and my boots

After refreshments, we had a choice of heading straight onto Thompsons Track Road or taking the much steeper track towards the mine. As this walk was on centred on the old abandoned mine, that is where we headed. There was an escaped gasp as I looked up towards where we were headed. With a small amount of self-talk, I dug deep and followed the rest of the group.

Once we reached the top, I was honestly pleased to sight a small amount of flattish path. Then we needed to go a further 50 metres or so via another unmaintained narrow track. Apart from the bush that attracted my attention, it was the discovery of a few wetas on the path with more lurking at our next stop, which was the abandoned mine, and looking like a cave with only one outward sign, a pick, to indicate that it used to be a working mine.

Heaphy Track

With a few of us viewing the cave near the entrance it was time to find a more expansive and level area for lunch.

This included another stream [the Waitekohe Stream] to be crossed. I did try in vain to walk via the stones. Then came the conclusion that they were seriously slippery and would require precarious balancing, the alternative solution which was to get my new boots wet.

First stream crossing

They were now real hiking boots, full on muddy then wet with another lot of mud for good measure. If you come back from a bush hike in clean boots, something went horribly wrong, didn’t it?

When we reached the other side, it was time to find a rock to sit on and enjoy our lunch. Somehow after a good trek, my taste buds seem to be more sharpened. Then there was the view of the thick dark green bush with some trees covered in moss as was the stream rocks, giving it all a certain elven vibe.

Refreshed [I use that term very loosely] it was time to head upwards and onwards back to where we had begun.

As I never timed our hike or had any inkling to see what time it was, I can’t mention how long it took us. What’s the rush? Less rushing with more views of the surrounding bush is my mantra!

Small streams

Down we go till we come to a bright sunlit dirt road and turn left. Luckily for us, the region has seen very little rainfall, so this meant that the clay road was not muddy. With the added bonus of being surrounded by plenty of bush, as mentioned previously it was a hot day.

This track is wide enough for 4WD vehicles and by the looks of the indentations they certainly make use of it. As there is plenty of evidence of this traffic by the tyre tracks and also, the potential for more rubbish, as in car parts. As we follow the winding road downwards, I start to question how the vehicles can actually pass through without getting stuck. There are some extreme slopes and trenches, as well as massive deep muddy puddles. There are quite a few narrow ledges to walk to the side to avoid getting stuck in the clay mud. As it is, you won’t escape from this track covered in the stuff which is an added attraction with wet weather.

Regarding my previous comment about my fitness, let me just say that it will be an ongoing challenge to keep my fitness at a reasonable high level!.

Finally, we had reached the carpark. To be honest, I could not have attempted another hill. Absolutely ecstatic and proud to have finished my first hike with no blisters, mud-covered boots even though we have not had rain for weeks, and finally the important one was I still had a smile on my face.

Hiking the Mt Eliza Mine Loop

60 thoughts on “Hiking Mt Eliza Mine Loop”

    1. Most of NZ is green though having said that we have had an unusually hot summer. Which has made many hiking spots having less hazards as in overflowing streams. California would be very similar to Australia and Spain?


  1. Well done, Suzanne! The scenery looks and sounds stunning, but what are wetas? Mark and I often set out on these hikes without realizing just how long they will take and how much sweat will stream. Unfortunately, I get massive headaches from exertion, so as I age, I will have to be more careful about mountain hikes, especially when the sun is out.

    Ouch, if there’s one thing I don’t particularly like, it’s slippery rocks to cross a river. I also don’t like wet feet or leaking boots. But, as long as my old shoes are still doing fine, I’m saving my new ones. πŸ™‚

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    1. Liesbet, wekas info courtesy of Wikipedia – WΔ“tā is the common name for a group of about 70 insect species in the families Anostostomatidae and Rhaphidophoridae, endemic to New Zealand. They are giant flightless crickets, and some are amongst the largest insects in the world.
      I dislike tramping in full sun and today’s one was in full bush, though when you got up to the saddle we had lunch out in the open with a grand view. I am enjoying the bush walks, though the women do tend to want to chat all the time which becomes annoying and tiring!! Went feet isn’t the best, though as long as it is summer it is fine. Ouch to the headaches, yes do be careful Liesbet. Oh, I love my boots as they are so comfortable.

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  2. You’re so right about it being wrong when you come back from a hike with clean boots, Suzanne! 😁 it’s been some time for me now that I went on a hike but I do remember that exhilarating feeling afterwards. And great pictures! Thanks for taking us with you 😊

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  3. Nice work Suzanne on conquering the hills and your fears. It looks like a beautiful hike. I love hiking and don’t mind the challenging of my muscles and lungs. What does get me is when the trail seems treacherous in spots. I am terrified of falling over the edge.

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  4. Sounds like a lovely hike. I need to get back to doing some hiking but also recently moved to a flat state. The highest elevation in the entire state is only 345 feet. Instead, my main walk these days is around a small park across the street from where I work. It’s all flat.

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    1. Sounds like a perfect place for a walk during your lunch break. Hills are challenging though when walking on the flat I just walk faster. Enjoy getting to know your new home Jennifer.


  5. Really tough going, but well worth it for the scenery and the sheer beauty of what you were walking through. I imagine it would have been hard on the legs and knees doing the climbing and navigating all those rocks!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM πŸ™‚

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    1. For my first one it was a wee bit tough. I am slowly getting used to hills and managed to get up the Papamoa Hills today, which has got very popular. Lovely coolish mornings makes walking more a pleasure.


  6. I was cheering for you the whole way, Suzanne. Congratulations on completing this hike with no problems at all (and with a wonderful attitude, I might add). I fully agree — If you come back from a bush hike in clean boots, something did go horribly wrong!

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    1. I thought so too. Too get hill fit just requires good old fashioned practice on the same terrain. Not that I’m an expert on it nor will I be. Just enjoying the physical challenge. How’s your park runs going?

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            1. Excellent that you can ask someone. I have never enjoyed running much prefer fast walking. At the end of the day any exercise is better than none.


            2. You will be feeling so much better April. Write up a blog post about your achievement you will be an inspiration for many!! I’m training to be a guide at a historical house and grounds. Which is a challenge as I’m not the most confident verbal communicator!! More on that soon πŸ™‚

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    1. They were really good at motivating us forward. A memorable first ‘real” hike. Have done quite a bit of walking around more civilised paths. I am new to “bush bashing” πŸ™‚


  7. Good on you Suz. Nothing like the nature of the bush. At least now you have broken the ice and have a foot in the door so to speak. Keep your dreams alive.

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    1. Thanks Jan, I really do appreciate your commenting. Broke the ice alright πŸ™‚ Upwards and onward with more to do. It is a good to be in the bush good for the soul!


  8. That reminds me of hiking up Glenarriff and then up over the blanket bog of the Antrim Plateau. You don’t come back from that with dry boots either! But still lovely, and exhilarating

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    1. I had to google those places Sonia, amazing!! I can see why you would love going there. For me it is a treat and exhilarating to just be out away from “civilisation”. It also makes me feel I have been away on a “holiday” πŸ™‚

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      1. Yes, it’s good for the soul! I haven’t been there for a long time now, but it’s very much part of my DNA. You need time in fresh air, with a challenge, it helps energise you for all the other mundane stuff we have to deal with. X

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      1. Rachael, first time I have heard that a weta is a NZ super hero. Though I suppose they are considering the small numbers. We had zillions of them in an old grapefruit tree in Whakatane [family home].

        Liked by 1 person

  9. How many kilometres was the hike? Lovely photos.

    It takes time to get to that fitness level when you’re no longer out of breath on a hike/trek. The problem for me going on a hike with people, is that I always lag behind taking so many photos – it’s not appreciated so prefer to do it alone or with my partner as he’s patient. πŸ˜‰

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    1. No such thing as ever not being out of breath especially some of the hills around these parts!! A sign of fitness is the recovery rate. Most hikes or I should really say tramps aren’t based on kilometres rather more on the time it takes to do it. This one was short approx 7-9kms though we did climb 800m approx. I am enjoying the hiking it is not a time for photography and I try to get a few photos as do others. I suppose doing photo walks and do the hiking separate πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks Nilla πŸ™‚ and I’m sure you and Neil will get to do many walks soon. I know what you mean regarding taking photos. Though I would be a bit apprehensive if I took my Cannon on some of those goat tracks.

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