Lees Grove & Fern Gully Loop - Wainuiomata
Sunds 15 October 2023
Location: The end of Lees Grove, Wainuiōmata, Lower Hutt 5014
The Lees Grove track starts from the Wainuiomata side of the East Habour Regional Park.
There are a plethora of bush walks in the Wainuiomata hills. We picked this one as we hadn’t tried the loop yet, but usually we decide when we arrive, based on how far we want to walk on any given day.
With the cousins and dog in tow, we drove to the trailhead at the top of Lees Grove and parked up. The signage was clear so it was easy to spot amongst the driveways.
Over a small bridge and to the left, the well made track winds up towards Mt Lowry. Initially the gradient was quite easy as we wandered through a lush ponga and fern forest.
After about 15 minutes the gradient increased, as did the pauses to catch our breath. The scenery turned from fern to beech and the track from meandering to zigzag.
After a few false celebrations, we reached the top of the hill where the track joined the Rata Ridge Track. The Mt Lowry lookout is 10 minutes up the track (to the right). We were keen to keep going though, so we gave it a miss and took a left instead, heading south along the Rata Ridge Track.
Sticking with beech and pine the track is a windy track that goes up and down along the ridge line (we reckon it would be great for trail running, which we had a little crack at).
After about 20 minutes we took a left turn onto the Fern Gulley Track and began our decent (there's great signage). Given the size of this track on the maps we were expecting the quality to be pretty low, but we were happily surprised. Now on a wide, gravel path the kids skipped all the way down. The ferns were beautiful!
Down the bottom of the Fern Gulley Track we emerged through a couple of farm paddocks. Looking back we thought the track may be a little less obvious if you were approaching it from this entrance, so if you do try it clockwise, keep an eye on the signs and try not to get too distracted by the Alpacas (like we did).
Back out on Gardiner Grove, it was a leisurely 5 minute stroll back to Lees Grove and the car.
A great track if you're looking for something short, beautiful and a little huff and puff.
Age of Kids: 8yr, 10yr, 11yr, 12yr
Walking Time: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate (just because it's a little bit steep and slippery)
Wet Feet: No
Cellphone Reception: Yes
Be Aware: The tracks at the top are used for mountain biking so you need to be extra careful.