Hapuakohe Walkway in the Waikato consists of two parts. The northern part connects North Road (off SH27) and Ohinewai Road (also off SH27) along Hapuakohe Range. The southern part connects Ohinewai Road and Mangapiko Valley Road, passing by Maungakawa trig station on the way. The northern part is signposted as an 8-hour walk, with the southern a 6-hour walk. Information about the track can be found on the DoC web site. The walkway is west of SH27, about 50 km north-east of Hamilton and 65 km south-east of Auckland.
This post describes only the portion of the southern part of the walkway between Ohinewai Road and Maungakawa Trig.
Rotoma Bridle Track is a 1km long, easy, almost completely level, walking track running parallel to SH30 between the junction of Manawahe Road and SH30, and SH30 by Lake Rotoma’s Whangaroa Bay. SH30 is the main road between Rotorua and Whakatane. The track is an old bridle track and runs through mature native forest with tall stands of trees, including rimu and tawa, in the Rotoma Scenic Reserve. Information about the track is available on the DoC web site.
There is no parking or any other facilities at or near the track. Parking is easiest on Manawahe Road, entering the north-western end of the track a few metres from the junction with SH30.
The TECT All Terrain Park is located on Whataroa Road, off SH36 (Tauranga Direct Road) between Tauranga and Rotorua. Numerous activities are catered for in the park, with the area west of SH36 covering non-motorised activities, such as horse riding, mountain biking, hiking, model aeroplanes, shooting, and dog exercise. Details of the park can be found on their web site. Various maps can be viewed or downloaded from the maps page on the site.
The Te Rerenga Trail and Lost Tank tracks in the park have been covered in a separate post. This post covers the tracks to the radio repeater site with a lookout, with extensive views of the surrounding area. Continue reading
A bridge has recently been built across the Karaponga Stream, and a track to a waterfall below the Karaponga Dam has been opened up. This post is an addition and update to the Karaponga Reserve and Dam post, over three years after that walk.
Karaponga Reserve is located at the end of Symond Road, off Braemar Road, between SH30 and SH2, near Kawerau and Matata. There is a small parking area by the reserve, and a locked gate to climb across to access the reserve. There are no toilet or other facilities nearby.
Kopurererua Valley is a low-lying area about 5 km long covering an area of 300 hectares, with Kopurererua Stream running through it, from Tauriko at the southern end and Waihi Road at the northern end. The valley is bisected by Takitimu Drive, a toll road, which is part of SH29. The ridge on the western side of the valley has Cambridge Road running along the ridgeline, and the ridge on the eastern side has Cameron Road running along the ridgeline. The Whakapaewaka Bridge across Takitimu Drive, officially opened in early August 2018, allows walkers and cyclists to cross over from one side of the valley to the other, near the midpoint of the valley.
Combined walkways and cycleways run through the valley, with tracks leading to various side streets along the way. Bridges across Kopurererua Stream have also recently been constructed, and most of the tracks are wide with a gravel surface. Some are still grass areas which can be wet and muddy during winter and wet periods. Much of the valley consists of wetlands, and a boardwalk over parts of the wet area connects the ends of 17th Avenue and Faulkner Street. Continue reading
Latham’s Hill Track, also called Lathams Track or Latham Track, is located by SH30 at Awakeri, about 17 km south of Whakatane, about 1.5 km west of the small township of Awakeri, and about 6 km south-east of Edgecumbe. One end of the track is accessible directly from SH30, where there is room to park 3 or 4 vehicles. It climbs through farmland and forest to Te Tiringa trig station at an elevation of 240 metres above sea level. It then continues along a ridgeline before descending steeply to end at the Awakeri Hot Springs. Walking along SH30 to the parking spot completes the loop in a clockwise direction. There is also parking available by the entrance to Awakeri Hot Springs, off SH30, so the walk can also be started and ended there.
Te Tiringa is the highest point of the Awakeri mountain range, and is of significance to local Maori as the landing place of Ngati Awa chief Tamarau.
Nukuhou saltmarsh is a low-lying area located where the Nukuhou River enters Ohiwa Harbour. The tidal flow from Ohiwa Harbour brings in the salty water, going some way upstream at high tide, and forming a marshy area with a special flora and fauna. The saltmarsh is located adjacent to Wainui Road, between Ohope and Ohiwa, at Cheddar Valley. A lookout and a walkway alongside the road has been formed and is maintained by the Nukuhou Saltmarsh Care Group. Extensive predator control, mainly of rats and stoats, is also performed by the group, to allow other species to survive or flourish.
There is a small parking area by the junction of Wainui Road and Burke Road, providing easy access to the boardwalk leading to the lookout. The track directly off Wainui Road to the lookout is wheelchair-friendly, but the remainder of the walking tracks are not. There are no toilets near the track.
Mangakara Nature Walk is a short and easy educational walk adjacent to Pirongia Forest Park Lodge, on the north-eastern side of Pirongia Forest Park. It crosses the Mangakara Stream twice, following the stream for part of the loop through the forest. Several large trees are located by the track, with information panels providing information about the forest and the plants and animal life within it. The track is well formed and an easy gradient, but there are a few steps, so not suitable for wheelchair access.
Information about the walk can be found in the DoC brochure “Mangakara Nature Walk” and in “Pirongia and Raglan tracks” brochure, both available for download on the DoC web site. Information is also available on the Mt Pirongia Preservation Society web site.
Ruapane is a 723 metre high peak on the north-eastern flanks of Mt Pirongia within the Pirongia Forest Park. There is a trig station and a lookout at the peak with views across the Waikato and to the Kaimai Ranges. Tirohanga Track starts at Corcoran Road, off Te Pahu Road, and climbs steadily to the lookout, before continuing on to the summit of Mt Pirongia. Ruapane can also be accessed by the Ruapane Track, starting at the end of Waite Road, which joins onto the Tirohanga Track before the final climb to Ruapane. A link track starting at the Pirongia Forest Park Lodge on Bell Road connects to Ruapane Track, and can also be used for access to the peak.
Ruapane is about 2 km from Corcoran Road, and the DoC signs indicate a 1 hour walking time. Information about the various tracks and points of interest within Pirongia Forest Park can be found in the DoC brochure “Pirongia and Raglan Tracks“, which can be downloaded from the DoC web site.
The Kaniwhaniwha Nikau Loop Walk, on the northern flanks of Mount Pirongia in the Pirongia Forest Park, starts at the Kaniwhaniwha Reserve on Limeworks Loop Road. The track follows the Kaniwhaniwha Stream from the road to the forest park, before branching off in various directions, including tracks to the summit of Mt Pirongia. The track alongside the river and the Nikau Loop Track are well formed with a very easy gradient, suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs. The track to the Kaniwhaniwha caves branches off from the loop track, and is rougher but not steep. Mountain bikes are permitted on the Nikau Loop Walk, but dogs are not allowed without a special permit, except for guide dogs