23 - Sharlands Creek
Time: 2 - 2 1/2 hours
Area: Maitai Valley
Note: Not recommended after rainfall. The Hira Forest is owned by Carter Holt Harvey who have maintained public access and kept up the tracks put in by the old Forest Service. It is advised that you contact Action Forest Management Ltd on +64 3 544 8541 to ensure all roads are open before you depart.
Start Location: Drive up the Maitai Valley to Sharlands Creek which is just opposite the lower fairways of the golf course. The name Maitai is known to Maori as Maitahi, referring to the black pine said to have previously grown on the banks of the river. Turn left into Sharlands Creek Road, past the information board and through the gate, staying on Sharlands Creek Road as Central Road veers off to the right. 1.5km on you will see a sign on the left of the road indicating the tracks .
Follow the walking track to an intersection and take a left turn up Supplejack Trail, winding up the hill through regenerating native bush. Listen out for wood pigeons and bellbirds. Past the picnic table and further on up the hill, the trail emerges onto a 4WD track.
Cross over to take the track to the lookout. This is about 20 minutes return, and well worth the extra climb for the 'birds eye' vista of the port, city hills, Richmond, Waimea Plains, Moutere Hills and Mount Arthur Range. Retrace your steps to the 4WD track noting Dun Mountain and The Doubles. Follow the Rimu Trail downhill through large punga, beeches, and regenerating mahoe, karamu, lancewood and titoki. Emerge from the Rimu Trail near the top end of the Sharlands Creek Track. There is another picnic table next to the creek. Pass the entrance to the Matai Trail, walking on through the forest with a view of beeches and then larches across the creek. Follow the track back down to your starting point at the lower car park.
Option: An easier walk (30 minutes) is just to take the Sharlands Creek track up the creek and walk back down the road.