Haywards Track - Haywards Scenic Reserve Waiwhetu
Saturday 26th March 2022
Location: The end of Whitesline East, Waiwhetu Lower Hutt
We're definitely coming back to explore this area more. We found it a little accidently, Mum lived in a house that backed onto the reserve when she was young. She spent many weekends exploring the surrounding hills with her siblings - she wanted to take us there as she noticed tracks were marked on the All Trails App. We've now found a website all about this reserve: http://www.waiwhetu.org/tracks.htm.
We started at the top of Whitesline East. We took a photo of the map as there's a few tracks in the area.
You start off on the Lomaria Track, about 5 minutes along you turn-off to your right to join the Haywards Track, this drops you down to cross the Whites Line Stream. There is great signage, essentially you just follow the green arrows.
We loved the bush it was beautiful with lots of native trees including nikau, punga and beech. You cross lots of little streams as well (which the kids always enjoy).
Mum remembers there being a cave near Tyndall Stream but we didn't find it this time. She remembers as a kid her mum always warned them not to go too far in because no-one was sure how stable it was. We wonder if it's still there - maybe for another walk :)
**We couldn’t help but go back the next day to find the allusive cave. We’ve added a bit about this adventure below (and yes, we found it! :) )
It took us about 40 minutes to walk between Whitesline East and Mawson Street.
Once we reached Mawson Street, we walked back along the streets to Whiteline East (maybe another 10 minute walk?)
So keen to come back and explore some of the bigger tracks, especially the tracks which take you up to the ECNZ Plylon Track (fire breaks).
Apparently, the secret cave is actually an old goldmine, I mean seriously…how cool is that!
We went back to Tyndall Stream and did some serious bush bashing …hence the crazy All Trails map below.
Everyone’s morale began fading when Mum started to mumble that maybe it was just a false memory and wasn't even real. We decided we needed backup so made a quick call to Mums siblings to see if they could remember. We were in luck - Uncle Simon is the best! It was much further away from the stream than Mum had remembered. When we saw it everyone screamed with excitement.
The goldmine was full of water and our cellphone torches weren't much good - we're definitely coming back more prepared next time. We saw a couple of little frogs who had made their home in the cave.
Now, on how to find the hidden goldmine.
If you’re walking south from Whitesline East you get to a beech forest which opens up a bit. There’s a green arrow that points back down to your left.
There’s a few steps dug into the mud (the photo below is looking back up the track with us pointing to where you need to deviate from the main track :))
There’s a tree with an orange Hutt City sign on it. This is the spot that you leave the track and head down the bank.
It’s essentially right below you - but there’s a drop when you hit the top of the cave, so you need to be careful and take a left down the side of the entrance (we'd suggest an adult goes first). You definitely wouldn’t want a kid to fall off the ledge. Below is Master 9 standing just above the entrance to the mine. It’s also really slippery so you need to be extra careful and ideally have grippy shoes).
Alternatively, you can walk along the track to the next stream and take a right away from the track before you cross the stream, you walk up a little way and then cut right back into the hill. This is a much easier (and less deadly) way to access the cave, but it's harder to find as it's tucked in against the hill.
When asked about what they thought this was their response:
*we’ve gone back with a laser distance measurer and a descent torch …it goes straight back 27m and then veers to the left and out of sight...now that is a serious cave
Age of Kids: 7yr and 9yrs
Walking Time: About 40 minutes
Distance: Maybe 1.5-2 km?
Buggy Friendly: No this is a bush track
Wet Feet: No (unless you fall in the little streams)
Amenities: There's a toilet at Waiwhetu park by the playground.
Dogs: Yes, on lead only
Cellphone Reception: Yes