The kids and their favourite Uncle went on a trip to Whatipu. Whatipu is at the mouth of the Manukau Harbour and the southern tip of the Waitakere Ranges. When I was a kid I stayed in this cave more than a few times. I don’t think you are allowed to now. We used to drive to Whatipu on Friday night, leg it to th cave and stay the night, then get up early and carry on through the swamp following the old tram lines up to Pararaha Valley, stay the night bashing possums, then walk back along the track on top on Sunday.

In the early 20th century, the largest cave was used for dances, but sand has since drifted into the cave and the dance floor is now covered by five metres of sand.

When they were milling Kauri the tram line ran pretty much at the base of the cliffs and much of the time above the surf from Anawhata to Whatipu where the logs were loaded into ships. The tramline is now hardly visible as it is covered with sand and the water is hundreds of metres away hidden behind large sand dunes. The Swamp, as I call it, is fresh water trapped behind the dunes.

I have walked every single track in the Waitakeres, some more than once. The fun I had as a kid.

The Cave at Whatipu

The Cave at Whatipu