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"The Hillary Trail"

A multi-day tramp through the Waitakere's 

"Call me biased but the Hillary Trail is one of the finest tramping experiences in New Zealand," says Peter Hillary.

The Hillary Trail is a multi-day tramp through the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park and along Auckland's west coast. The four day trail includes overnight stays at back-to-basics ARC campgrounds and connects existing regional park tracks to form a 70 km wilderness experience.

Left: The Hillary Coastline


Sections of the trail offer quite difficult terrain with steep climbs, muddy and slippery areas, and different track surfaces. There are some unbridged stream crossings and short stretches of road walking.

Left: Whatipu



It would be wise for trampers to drop into the Arataki Visitor Centre on Scenic Drive and talk to a ranger or staff member about the trail.

Left: Karekare


As well as information on the trail and a display at the Arataki Visitor Centre, people can talk to one of Auckland Regional Council's  team and work out the best way for them to do the Hillary Trail.   They can advise on starting times, required fitness and tramping ability.  

Left: Muriwai


Perfect Accommodation for Corporate Groups on the Hillary TrailEibsee Cottage has two sets of bunks, 2 queen beds and a single.  We can do pickups, packed lunches . . . arrange a massage . . .  includes linen . . .


Photos: Six Hillary Trampers from Maccaferri : Engineered Environmental Solutions make it to Piha, from Whatipu, tired but in great spirits.  We had their beers and wine cold already in the fridge!

Edmund Hillary was born in Auckland, New Zealand on 20th July 1919 and died in the Auckland City Hospital on 11th January 2008.

In his youth Ed was very shy and daydreamed or read  a lot.  His first 'climb' was on Ruapehu, NZ, as a school boy and upon leaving school he became a bee-keeper just like his father.

Ed had three children to his first wife, Louise Mary Rose, before becoming a widower in 1975. Peter Mulgrew, Ed's friend, was killed in the Air New Zealand Erubus crash, and his widow, June Mulgrew, became Ed's second wife.

 In 1985 Ed, as he was affectionately called, became New Zealand's High Commissioner to India.

 Edmund Hillary was the first living New Zealand to appear on a note - the NZ $5 note. 

Upon his death Claire Harvey wrote, "Sir Ed was everything a good bastard ought to be - modest and humorous, brave and compassionate, and just grouchy enough to remind us he never sought, nor particularly enjoyed, adulation".

Below are a series of photos taken on parts of the Hillary Trail in Waitakere and are representative of the magnificent New Zealand bush and coastal views so loved by Sir Edmund Hillary. 



There are other options to staying in the camp sites on the Hillary Trail. 

The Hillary Trail goes through the seaside village of Piha where Black Sands Lodge is.  We offer the most comfortable beds, can prepare dinner for you, arrange pick ups for supplies and drop offs, do your washing for you . . . . . ?  We can even arrange a soothing massage for you.  Just email us here with your needs. 



The Hillary Trail Map [571kb] pdf

The Hillary Trail Booklet [4423kb] pdf

New Zealand Mountain Safety on the web

Sir Edmund Hillary on wikipedia

Hillary's house moves to college

15 Feb 2010  Knocking the Hillary Trail off

We stood on the edge of a cliff, mesmerised by the view below and beyond.

Black tentacles of kelp swirled in channels of green which nature had gouged in the rock shelf.

Surf burst through sea caves and four gannets flew in formation over specks of islands.

In the distance, we could see 30km along the coast to the big Piha hill and, poking out from behind, a sandy tongue protruded into the sea from Whatipu, at the entrance to the Manukau Harbour.

Lunch was eaten in the shade of a cabbage tree grove, cicadas providing the music. Then we continued along undulating ridges with jagged orange clay edges poised above a sea which changed its colour from grey in a squall, to deep blue in the sunshine.

The track was often exposed to the wind and rain in between shady groves of nikau, karaka and stumpy manuka bent over by wild Tasman Sea storms.  Full story NZ Herald here

Private lodges and bed and breakfast places are available at settlements close to the route.

11/1/10 The Governor-General, The Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand address to officially open the Hillary Trail in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park

I begin by greeting everyone in the languages of the realm of New Zealand, in English, Māori, Cook Island Māori, Niuean, Tokelauan and New Zealand Sign Language.

Greetings, Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Taloha Ni, and as it is afternoon [sign].

I then specifically greet members of the Hillary family: June, Lady Hillary; Peter and Sarah Hillary; Local Government leaders, Mike Lee, Chairman and Sandra Coney, Councillor, of the Auckland Regional Council; Your Worship Bob Harvey, Mayor of Waitakere City and fellow councillors; Distinguished Guests otherwise; Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you for inviting my wife Susan and I to be part of the opening of the Hillary Trail in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park this afternoon.

I have been given the privilege of officially opening this new trail, as Governor-General, and just before I do, I wish to speak a little of this afternoon's more general significance.

This trail represents a living legacy to one of our country's icons and coincidentally one of the greatest New Zealanders of the 20th century - the late Sir Edmund Hillary.

Sir Edmund was a consummate adventurer, who continued climbing mountains and exploration throughout his life. His passion for adventure and personal achievement was the central driving force for his many great accomplishments, not least of which was to have been the first (with Nepali Sherpa Tensing Norgay) to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953.

Sir Edmund spoke of his adventures as something that gave him great happiness in his life. He said:

"I have had the world lie beneath my clumsy boots and saw the red sun slip over the horizon after the dark Antarctic winter. I have been given more than my share of excitement, beauty, laughter and friendship."

The honours he received in his life time were many including being made a member of New Zealand's highest honour, the Order of New Zealand, along with membership of the United Kingdom?s oldest and highest order of chivalry, the Order of the Garter.

Sir Edmund was a truly remarkable New Zealander who in typically humble fashion once said 50 years after his Everest climb:

"I like to think that I am a very ordinary New Zealander, not terribly bright perhaps, but determined and practical in what I do."

Hillary's brightness had been for others to see clearly,  rather than for him to proclaim and practicality and determination are trademarks of all New Zealanders whom the Hillary Trail is dedicated to. The 70 kilometres of rugged west coast that it covers, set out a challenge for all adventurers.

Mentioning adventurers, it is appropriate to link with the Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award of which the Governor-General of the day is traditionally the President. In that capacity I had the pleasure of announcing the new name in August last year and since then, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, on his visit to New Zealand in November, presented the first series of gold awards under the new name to a number of young New Zealanders from many parts of the country.

Completing the Award introduces young people to a number of exciting, positive, challenging and enjoyable things to do in their free time - something of which Sir Edmund was a lifelong champion.

In pursuit of the Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Gold Award, participants must complete what is officially described as an 'adventurous journey' . The requirements of this expedition include a walk of between 65 and 80 kilometres. The Hillary trail is thus a very fitting one for young New Zealanders to have access to and complete as part of the work towards fulfilling the Gold Award requirements.

I know that a group of young people from Auckland, who are participants in the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award programme, are today the first group to walk the trail as part of the Gold Award requirements and with the benefit of listening to the item on Radio New Zealand this morning, I wish them well in their journey.

May all New Zealander adventurers embarking on the Hillary trail in the future enjoy the journey as much as Sir Edmund enjoyed exploring this area and so many other places.

As my predecessor in office as Governor-General,  Archbishop Sir Paul Reeves, said of Sir Edmund Hillary:

"He is the archetypal New Zealander. He never got away from us and I think it is that sense of being able to relate to this man, which we all have, is wonderful."

In a sense I have developed, this Hillary Trail relates very directly to all New Zealanders and is a living legacy to Sir Edmund's spirit of adventure. 

It thus gives me great pleasure to declare the Hillary Trail officially open.

And on that note, I will close in New Zealand's first language offering everyone greetings and wishing you all good health and fortitude in your endeavours. No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora, kia kaha, tēnā koutou katoa.

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