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
The Warren Cole Walk & Cycleway is a 4.5 km long, paved walkway and cycleway running alongside the Whakatane River, between Landing Road and Whakatane Heads by the river mouth. For most of its length it runs along the top of the stopbank between the river and Whakatane township. It can be accessed from numerous locations along its route, and there are parking spaces and toilets located near several of these access points.
The photo sequence shows the walk starting at Landing Road and ending at the Whakatane Heads. The walk was actually done starting and ending at Mcgarvey Road, first to the Heads and back and then to Landing Road and back, with a short lunch break in the Whakatane Gardens in between. Walking time for the 4.5 km length, excluding breaks, was 50 minutes.
The Tirohanga Track leads to a lookout in the hills overlooking Picton, with good views of Picton and the surrounding area. The track is well formed, and can be walked as a loop including some streets in Picton, or as a gentle climb and return to Garden Terrace, or a steeper track from Newgate Street. Total distance for the loop is about 5.5 km, with a climb from near sea level to the highest point at about 250 metres above sea level.
Limited parking is available on Newgate St and on Garden Tce, but for the loop walk it’s possible to park in one of the streets in the town and then walk to or from the two end points of the track. Public toilets are located by the Powerhouse Reserve on Wairau Rd. This walk was done in a clockwise direction starting and ending on Wellington Street.
The track to the summit of Mt Pauanui, previously known as Mt Tairua, is located in an area managed by the Department of Conservation, but the tracks are developed and maintained by local volunteers. There is a direct track to the summit, starting near the carpark at the end of Pauanui Beach Road, which is quite steep and uneven in places. Another, less used, track starts at Cave Bay, leading to the summit on a mostly gentler gradient. Together with the walk along the waterfront the two tracks form a loop walk, in a recommended anti-clockwise direction.
There is a short description of the tracks in a brochure, Coromandel Recreation Brochure, which can be downloaded from the DoC web site.
The Ohope Harbourside Trail is currently a work in progress, as an initiative by the Whakatane Rotary Club. There is a walking and cycling trail between Waterways Drive at its western end, and Port Ohope Wharf at its eastern end. On the way it passes through grassed reserves, with gravel surfaces on the recently formed parts of the trail. As well as being accessible at both ends, it is also accessible from various locations along Harbour Road and Ohiwa Parade.
The trail is about 3.5 kms long, with no steps and only gentle slopes. Parking is available at both ends as well as some of the access points, with some grass areas also being used for parking. There are toilets at Otao South Reserve, close to Harbour Road near Phillip Street.
The Morrinsville River Walk is a walking track about 1.5 km long between the entry to the Morrinsville Recreation Ground on Avenue Road South and Studholme Street, running through a forested valley parallel to the Waitakaruru Stream for most of the way. Starting from Avenue Road South, where parking is available, the first 300 metres or so of the track is on open ground alongside Avenue Road South. It then enters the forested area, with two alternative tracks. One lower down alongside and close to the stream, and one higher up alongside the recreation reserve boundary. This walk was done in both directions, using the lower track on the way to Studholme Street and the upper track on the return. Continue reading