Hinehopu/Hongi’s Track

Hinehopu Track or Hongi’s Track, originally Te Tahuna, is an easy walking track which connects Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoehu through mature native forest, with a short side track to Hinehopu’s Tree alongside SH30. The tree has also been known as the wishing tree.

Information panels adjacent to Hinehopu’s Tree relate the history of the track and of the tree, an ancient Matai which is considered sacred. Hinehopu, a Maori chieftainess who lived in the early 17th century, used the track and named it Te Ara-o-Hinehopu (Hinehopu’s Track). In 1823 a Maori warrior, Hongi, used the track to move war canoes from Lake Rotoehu to Lake Rotoiti to mount a raid on Mokoia Island. Since then it has been known as Hongi’s Track.

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Hemo Gorge Trail, Rotorua

The Hemo Gorge Trail, a 1.6 km long combined cycle and walkway, runs through Hemo Gorge alongside the Puarenga Stream and SH5/SH30 between Te Puia and the Waipa Mountain Bike park. The trail passes by remains from Rotorua’s early water supply. For part of the trail the walkway branches off and runs closer to the Puarenga Stream than the cycleway. The cycleway is part of the 48 km long Te Ara Ahi cycleway between Rotorua and Waikite Valley.

There is parking available at the southern Te Puia parking area, and toilets at the Waipa Mountain Bike park. Information about the trail can be found on the RotoruaNZ web site. At the Waipa end there is easy access to walking and cycle tracks through the Whakarewarewa Forest, including the walk to the Pohaturoa trig.

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Mt William Walkway

The Mount William Walkway is located on the southern flanks of the Bombay Hills, at the northern edge of the Waikato district. The walkway connects Puketutu Rd south of Bombay, and McMillan Rd, Mangatawhiri, with most of the walk being through open farmland. A short, but fairly steep, part of the track passes through regenerating native bush in the Mount William Scenic Reserve, between McMillan Rd and Mt William trig station. Since the walkway passes through sheep farms it may be closed during the lambing season between August 1 and October 1, and dogs are not permitted at any time.

The walkway also gives access to Puketutu trig, on a peak which at 376 metres is slightly higher than Mt William at 373 metres. Puketutu peak is a few metres higher, at 379 metres. There are car parking areas both at the end of Puketutu Rd and the end of McMillan Rd, and toilets about 10 minutes walk from McMillan Rd where the track enters the Mount William Scenic Reserve. Information about the walkway can be found on the DoC web site.

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Lake Okataina Scenic Reserve – Ngahopua, Anaha and Kepa Tracks

There are several short walking tracks in the Lake Okataina Scenic Reserve. Three of these, all to the east of Lake Okataina Road, are accessible directly from Lake Okataina Road. The northernmost, Ngahopua Track, is a loop track with views to two crater lakes, Lake Rotongata and Lake Rotoatua, that traverses a few gentle slopes and climbs. The other two tracks, Anaha and Kepa, are on almost flat terrain and are mostly old vehicle tracks.

Lake Okataina Road branches off State Highway 30 at Ruato by Lake Rotoiti, north-east of Rotorua. Information about the walks can be found on the DoC web site, and a brochure with walks and hikes in the Rotorua area, including a map of tracks in the Lake Okataina area, can be downloaded from the DoC site. Parking is available where the tracks connect to Lake Okataina Road, or by the road leading to the Outdoor Education Centre. Toilets are available at Lake Okataina.

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Waihi Beach New Track

A new track is currently under construction at the northern end of Waihi Beach. The track has been opened to the public for a few weeks while construction is on hold during the Christmas/New Year break 2016/2017. It will be closed again when construction restarts on January 16, 2017. The track leads from the old reservoir to a lookout point at a trig station 151 metres above sea level, with good views over Waihi Beach and further south and east along the Bay of Plenty coast. Construction of a lookout is planned for 2017.

The track to the trig station and lookout is covered with gravel, with some slippery, steeper sections where construction of steps is planned. The track is about 1.5 km long, and at the reservoir end there are two optional tracks starting from the parking area at the reservoir access extension to Pacific Road.

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Lake Okareka Walkway

Lake Okareka Walkway is an easy walk of about 2.5 km each way alongside the edge of Lake Okareka from Acacia Road to Lake Okareka outlet. The first part of the walk consists largely of a boardwalk through wetlands, where many aquatic birds can be seen. The continuation from the end of the boardwalk to Silver Beach is along a wide, level track. The last part from Silver Beach to the outlet is narrower, and there are steps at both ends, with the track up to about 10 metres above the lake level. Return to Acacia Road by the same track.

There is a small parking area by Acacia Road at the track start, with no other facilities. However, there are toilets by the boat ramp and car park about 500 metres back along Acacia Road, and there are basic DoC toilets at Silver Beach. Bikes, dogs, and horses are not permitted on the walkway. The walkway start is about 12 km by road from the centre of Rotorua, with Okareka Loop Road branching off the road to Lake Tarawera.

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Tauwhare Pa, Ohope

The walk to Tauwhare Pa is a very short and easy walk on the outskirts of Ohope, accessible from Wainui Road. There are 3 pa on the site, but all were damaged in the 1950s when work was done on a potential residential subdivision. There are views from the pa sites to the eastern part of Ohope, and across Ohiwa Harbour to Ohiwa and Wainui.

There is a parking area off Wainui Rd with information panels and a carved waharoa, or entrance, to the site.

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Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park, Ohiwa

Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park is a 26.8 hectare reserve on the headland east of the entrance to Ohiwa Harbour, between Ohiwa and Bryans Beach. The park was opened in 2010, and is managed collaboratively by Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Opotiki District Council, and Upokorehe. There are two pa sites in the park, Onekawa and Te Mawhai, at an elevation of about 100 metres, and walkways across the ridgeline between Ohiwa Harbour and Bryans Beach. Information about the park can be found on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council web site.

The walks can be done as a loop using the beach for one leg, or it can be done as in this case as a figure-8 crossing over the ridgeline twice, and accessing the beaches at either end. Parking is available off Ohiwa Harbour Road, and off Bryans Road, with toilets by the beach at Ohiwa. This walk was done starting and ending at Bryans Road.

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Okere Falls

Okere Falls Scenic Reserve is located off SH33 about 20 kms north of Rotorua, and accessed from Trout Pool Road in the small village of Okere Falls. The flow of the Okere River, also known as the Kaituna River, through the scenic reserve is regulated by control gates adjacent to SH33. The first kilometre or so of the river is well known and much used for whitewater rafting and kayaking. Several companies run rafting trips down the river, starting at the control gates and ending at the Trout Pools.

Parking is available alongside SH33, and at parking areas by Trout Pool Road and at the northern end of Trout Pool Road, where there are also toilets and picnic areas. The well formed and easy walkway runs between the two parking areas, with side tracks to lookouts by Okere Falls and Tutea Falls. There are no steps on the main track, but numerous steps on the side tracks to the falls lookouts. Information about the walk and the reserve can be found on the DoC web site.

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McLaren Falls Park – Lakeside and Waterfall tracks

McLaren Falls Park is accessible from McLaren Falls Road, which branches off State Highway 29 about 19 km south-west of Tauranga. There are numerous walking tracks within the boundaries of the park, with most of them providing easy walks on well-formed and wide tracks. The Lakeside Walkway runs almost the full length of the eastern side of Lake McLaren, from the road entry off McLaren Falls Road almost to the access road to the Lower Mangapapa power station. The Waterfall Track branches off the Lakeside Walkway, crosses over the road and then loops alongside a stream on the way to and from the small waterfall.

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