The Henderson Tramline Loop in the Kaimai Range is a short distance south of Tauranga, just off SH29. Unfortunately there are no expansive views from this track, which starts on Old Kaimai Rd, and ends about 1.5km away, also on Old Kaimai Rd. Large parts of the track follow the Henderson Tramline Western Branch and Northern Branch. These tramlines were constructed to transport logs when the forest was milled. None of the rails survive, but there are remains of the tramline sleepers in several places.
Parking is available on Old Kaimai Rd at both ends of the track. The southern parking area is in an isolated area partly hidden from the road, so is perhaps not as secure as the northern one, which is mostly just roadside parking with residences nearby. The southern part of Old Kaimai Rd is narrow, winding, and unsealed. The northern end is sealed past the parking area. There are no toilet facilities on or near this track,
The tracks following the tramlines just have a gentle slope, so are quite easy to walk, except for the parts which can be slippery and muddy in winter or after rain. There are several river crossings, some of them being difficult to cross without getting wet feet, and some steeper areas away from the actual tramlines, or where parts of these have slipped or eroded away..
DoC has information about this track here. They claim a total distance of 9km for the loop, with a walking time of 3 hours 30 minutes. My GPS claimed a total distance of about 12.5km, and a walking time of just over 4 hours. During the whole walk I didn’t see a single person on the track.
At the end of the track. I started from the parking area at the end of the Western Branch, walked up the Western Branch track, up the North/South track to the North Branch, and then down the North Branch. Finally a walk back to the carpark along Old Kaimai Rd.
There is a track map and guide at the northern carpark.
Large parts of the track follow the tramlines, so the slope is gentle and there are longer straight stretches surrounded by regrowth forest.
Remains of some sleepers on the Henderson Tramline Western Branch.
The tracks are generally well marked with small arrows nailed to trees along the way. This one was hidden by vegetation, and accompanied by fungi growing on the underside of the tree trunk.
There are several river or stream crossings along the tracks. Fortunately there had not been any heavy rain recently. When the river is in flood it would be almost impossible to cross safely.
This sign outside one of the properties on Old Kaimai Rd has a text which could be suitable for a t-shirt!
Track walked on Saturday August 16, 2014. Here is a GPS track log from the walk.
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