"Last chance" Kingsland Explorer - Course Description

Strava segment & leader board here.

Printable pdf here

Link to route on Gpsies here

RunGo "Last chance" Kingsland Explorer audio cues here

Photos included below.

*Several parts of this course got changed by logging after lockdown - so you will need to do some exploring !

And most of last years photos will now look very different!

If you do this course, take some photos of the changes and I'll update this page.

The segment starts and finishes at Easby Park, 25m into the paddock from the car park bridge. The route involves grass/gravel/dirt tracks, steep uphills/descents and a narrow, gnarly sections. Around 50% of the route is not suitable for running fast, so cool it down where necessary and give way and give space to other users.

The route also uses a section of “Escalator” which is a reasonably wide MTB track regularly used by walkers and runners, but care must be taken and give way to uphill & downhill bikers.

The majority of the route is in forest and your gps is not to be relied on! Hopefully Strava will recognise your activity when you’ve finished, but no promises.

Start your watch/phone recording before arriving at Easby and run out of the car park over the little bridge and up the obvious dirt path up the paddock. The dirt path becomes a gravel 4wd track. At the next fork in the 4wd track, take the LEFT (straight) track (not right over the stream), heading for a large rusty red storage container.

Just before the container turn RIGHT down a small track.

Follow this narrow little path and cross the creek to the RHS. Follow the path, keeping the creek on your left at all times, ignoring side turnings, keeping close to the creek, until you come to the bouldery crossing at the base of the dam & spillway. Cross over the creek, climb the zigzag track to the picnic table, veer RIGHT towards and through the relics & display boards.

The next section is a climb up and around the Barrington Gum – one of the tallest trees in NZ. The route is best described by a series on Right & Lefts!

Pass the display boards heading up stream at the side of the reservoir and: LEFT turn #1 up the steep track – hard yakka.

LEFT fork #2 up again at a faint fork – not quite so hard (Barrington Gum on your right)

RIGHT fork, climbing over fallen log – flat.

LEFT fork #3, uphill and zigzags, then flat.

Veer RIGHT following main path. Cross a bit of a slip area, then descend a series of zigzags to the creek.

At the creek turn RIGHT heading downstream. This section has 3 steep bits with rope handrail, but you can descend these without aid if you lean forward, bend your knees and keep moving. Barrington Gum on your Right. Pop out into a grassy area with a prominent bench seat. Keep going past the seat in the direction of the wooden footbridge and in 20m look out for the LEFT turn up a footpath climbing through the trees. (Do not go over the bridge).

Climb this little track through the trees and zigzags until you reach the obvious signed junction with the “Escalator” track. Watch out for bikes both ways and turn LEFT and begin climbing “Escalator”.

Stay on “Escalator” through several zigzags and a ignore a couple of exits

and eventually the track begins its long sidle up the valley, then a couple more hairpins, then a quick cross and recross of the steep firebreak/downhill mtb track (check uphill before crossing both times!), back into the woods, another hairpin and eventually reaching the firebreak again, where you turn sharp LEFT and climb 30m up onto the big skid site. Keep your wits about you for MTBers coming across the skid site in your direction.

The skid site has 4 exits. Counting clockwise from the picnic table, we want exit number 3, Fowler Rd, a very slight uphill, up a wide 4wd track through the trees.

Note that Fowler Rd does not appear on most maps! But its an obvious wide road that’s been there forever and is good running as it contours around the hill towards the Jimmy Lee Creek section of the forest.

Eventually after 1.5km you pop out into the open and meet up with Henry Rd.

Turn RIGHT here and veer RIGHT descending steeply down a wide 4wd track through the mature trees. The next junction is at Grassy Knoll/Saddle. Here veer RIGHT towards the picnic table, but just before turn RIGHT down the first path, the old overgrown road down to Jimmy Lee. (do not use the newer path a few metres further over after the table).

At the bottom of the straight descent, veer left into the narrow Jimmy Lee creek track and follow this 250m along to the second creek crossing.

Here veer RIGHT off the main track and cross the creek, climb up right and then left onto a benched trail.

Follow this quieter trail until it hits the next 4wd track where you turn RIGHT and begin the steep climb up to the water tanks.

As you climb this 4wd track, you pass 3 fallen trees, go under, over & under them. Eventually reaching the grassy viewpoint, “Valhalla Junction” above the concrete water tanks. Here go straight ahead with the picnic table on your right, into a gravel path with a sign “Walkway to Valhalla Drive”.

The gravel track zigzags a couple of times then comes to a junction with large finger post, go straight ahead (keep right) here, and continue out onto another grassy area.

Here veer round to the RIGHT between two large trees and take Allan’s Native Gully path. This path starts of gentle and wide but gets narrower and gnarlier the lower it gets, so take care with your footing and look out for other users. After a very narrow section with a few concrete pavers, you reach the junction with the 4wd track from the Lodestone entrance.

Cross straight over the 4wd track onto the gravel path on the other side.

This gravel track gently rises up a series and long steps, eventually reaching a kissing-gate. Pass through, no touching, and continue on the main track, on the flat, through the deciduous arboretum, and eventually out into the open where you reach the main 4wd track from Easby.

Turn LEFT, either down the 4wd track or (shorter) the grass on the right of it, and follow this 4wd track all the way down, back to Easby Park and the finish.

Keep your watch going and depart through the car park to make sure your run is logged.

Well done!