Difficulty: Easy Length: 1 hour Rating 10/10
The Kitekite Falls track is right up there with the top 10 things to do in the Waitakere Ranges. We are fortunate that the walk has been recently reopened (it was closed as part of the fight against Kauri die-back), so that we still have plenty of summer time in which to fully appreciate it.
The walk is accessed from the carpark at the end of Glen Esk Rd, and is a pretty easy, mostly boarded walk to the falls. Be sure to take your togs! The waterfall is spectacular, boasting about an 80m drop into a large pool which is perfect for a refreshing dip.
Make sure you continue walking up the track until you reach the top of the waterfall. From here there are lovely views of the Waitakere Ranges – plus even better swimming holes.
Head to the Piha shop afterwards and order an Affogatto or one of their delicious ice blocks.
And for the history buffs... The Kitekite Falls were also known as Kitakita Falls (Kitakita is the Maori verb to be bright (of colours), tight, fast, intense). However the Pakeha settlers named them Glen Esk Falls, after one of the Angus Glens near their Scottish homeland.
The Cowan and Ness families first settled above the falls in the 1860s, and if you head to the top of the falls you can see the notches in the rock where the Glen Esk Dam stood after 1910.
Up here there was a milling camp, next to a holding dam which collected the logs from further upstream. These logs were tipped over the falls to the pool below, but so many logs were crushed in the process that the dam was then simply used to collect them. From there they were taken by chutes down into the valley below and the release of water in the dam was used to drive the logs down to the Mill.
Check out www.piha.co.nz for more on the history of the area, and other “must see” places.