Eastern Okataina Walkway is a walkway through the Okataina Scenic Reserve connecting Lake Okataina at Tauranganui Bay at the southern end of Lake Okataina Road and Lake Tarawera at Humphries Bay (also known as Humphrey’s Bay). The walkway is about 10 km long, following the eastern shores of Lake Okataina for a large part of the way, crossing over a ridgeline with a climb of about 100 metres, and with a low saddle between Lake Okataina at Otangimoana Bay and Lake Tarawera at Humphries Bay. The walkway is mostly easy walking with no steps, but with a few short, steeper sections and some fallen trees requiring rougher, short detours.
There is access to the lake in several locations, and not far from the start at Tauranganui Bay there is a side track to Te Koutu Pa site. There is a short description of the walkway on the DoC web site. and in a brochure Walking and Hiking in Rotorua available for download from the Rotorua Lakes Council web site. There is a link to the brochure under the Brochures heading.
Mount Whakapoungakau is the highest point, at 758 metres, of the Whakapoungakau Range in the Lake Okataina Scenic Reserve. The summit is accessible as a side track off the Western Okataina Walkway, which is now a combined walkway and mountain bike trail. The walkway is accessible from the Lake Okataina and Lake Rotoiti end in several locations, and from the Lake Okareka end on Millar Road. This walk was done from Lake Okataina to the summit of Mt Whakapoungakau and return to Lake Okataina.
A short description of the Western Okataina Walkway can be found on the DoC web site, and all the tracks in the Lake Okataina region are described in a brochure available as a pdf file on the Rotorua Lakes Council web site. There is a link under the heading Brochures called Walking and hiking in Rotorua. Several of the tracks in the Okataina Scenic Reserve are also described in previous posts on this site, such as Lake Okataina Scenic Reserve – Ngahopua, Anaha and Kepa Tracks and Rongomai, Te Auheke and Tarawhai Tracks at Lake Okataina and Okataina Western Walkway – SH30 to Patotara.
Te Waiti Nature Trail is a short (800 metres, 30 minutes) walk through native forest in the Urutawa Conservation Area about 17 km by road south-east of Opotiki. The trail and conservation area are administered by DoC, and there is a very short description of the track on the DoC web site.
The track does not appear to be maintained or regularly used, there are almost no track markers, the entry point to the track has no signage, and the access road is a very narrow, winding gravel road that is not maintained by the local council. Only two or three vehicles could be parked by the entrance to the track without disrupting road traffic.
Hukutaia Domain is a 4.5 hectare reserve with remnant native bush and numerous native plants and trees gathered from all parts of New Zealand and offshore islands. It was set aside as a reserve in 1918, mainly to protect an ancient puriri tree, Taketakerau, also known as the burial tree. The tree is estimated to be over 2000 years old, and the hollow base was used by the local Upokorehe to store the bones of their distinguished, deceased members.
A keen local botanist, Norman Potts, collected plants from all over New Zealand for the reserve between 1930 to 1970, with the work continued by Marc Heginbotham until 1990. It is now cared for by the volunteer Hukutaia Domain Care Group. Some information about the reserve can be found on the Opotiki information web site.
Marawaiwai Scenic Reserve is located about 10 kms or a 10 minute drive south of Opotiki near the end of Harrison Road. A short, easy loop walk leads through native forest alongside a small stream. The reserve is at the northern end of Waikerea Forest. The track was built by Opotiki College students and is managed by DoC. The DoC web site has a short description of the track and of the reserve.
There is a small raupo wetland in the reserve. On the day this walk was done the birdsong was about the loudest and most persistent I’ve experienced, with kereru and tui as well as several other species very active in the trees.
Stoneham Walk, Hansen Walk, Prideaux Park, and Keith McKenzie Park are a contiguous set of recreation reserves in Kawerau with the Ruruanga Stream running through them between Valley Road, past Bell Street, to Tamarangi Drive (SH34). The Stoneham Walk reserve is quite separate from Stoneham Park, which is a reserve on Peter Lippa Drive. A walkway follows the Ruruanga Stream through the reserves, with bridges for the stream crossings.
There are several options for starting and ending a walk through the reserves, but the one recommended on the Kawerau Information web site starts on Plunket Street, across the road from the information centre. A brochure with a map can be downloaded from that web page. Parking is available off Plunket Street by the information centre, and toilets are available at the centre.
Onepu Park, also known as Onepu Community Park, Onepu Community Recreation Park, Onepu Mountain Bike Park, and Onepu MTB Park is located by State Highway 30, the main road between Whakatane and Rotorua, almost directly across from Braemar Road. The park is located on land owned by Norske Skog Tasman, and public access is permitted thanks to the generosity of that company. The largest part of the park consists of mountain bike trails, with two of these being dual use for bike riders as well as walkers or runners. A smaller area of the park consists of wetlands, with tracks and boardwalks restricted to pedestrian and wheelchair use.
There are 3 separate entrances to the park, each with its own small parking area. The entry to the bike park is almost directly across SH30 from Braemar Road, where extra parking is available, The entry to the wetlands is about 150 metres along the road, southeast of the bike park entrance. The entry and parking area by Lake Tamurenui is about 900 metres east of the bike park entrance, closer to Whakatane. There are no toilets in or near the park.
There are walking tracks, also used as cycle tracks, on both sides of the Tarawera River where it runs through Kawerau, with bridges over the river on SH34 at the northern end, by the golf course (pedestrian only) at the southern end, and on Waterhouse Street about halfway between the two ends. The tracks on the western (town) side of the river mainly pass through reserves and parks with no fixed marked tracks, with the ones on the eastern side the tracks rougher, also unmarked, and partly overgrown. Total track length is about 4.7km on the west side and 5.3km on the east.
There is parking available by Waterhouse Street and Firmin Field, on Porritt Drive, and in Tarawera Park. Toilets can be found at the entry off Waterhouse Street to Firmin Field. Continue reading
Tarawera Falls is an impressive group of waterfalls in Lake Tarawera Scenic Reserve, with the river emerging from various locations on a sheer rock face. After heavy rain there may also be water cascading down from the top of the rock face. A walking track about 5 km long links the Tarawera Outlet where water from the eastern end of Lake Tarawera at Tapahoro Bay forms the beginnings of the Tarawera River, to the Tarawera Falls lookout, and further on to a carpark on Waterfall Road. The only road access to the outlet and to the falls is from Kawerau, along gravel forest roads which require a permit to enter.
There is a DoC campground by the outlet, at the end of Tarawera Road, with parking and toilet facilities. There is also a parking area at the end of Waterfall Road, near the base of the Tarawera Falls, with a basic DoC toilet. Information about the waterfall, campgrounds, and walking tracks can be found on the DoC web site. This also includes information about obtaining a permit to access the locations by road from Kawerau.
Note August 31, 2019: The track is closed near King Street until February 2020 as KiwiRail is replacing a rail bridge. See comments.
Te Ara Kahikatea Pathway is a 4 km long walkway and cycleway passing through wetlands and alongside Waiari Stream on the eastern outskirts of Te Puke. The pathway starts and ends at the Hera Memorial adjacent to a parking area off Commerce Lane. The pathway crosses over Jubilee Park and runs along Stock Rd and King St before forming a loop around a rural part of Te Puke.
The pathway was established by volunteers organised by Te Ara Kahikatea Pathway Incorporated Society starting in 2011, and was officially opened in April 2018 by the mayor of Western Bay of Plenty District Council. A mix of native plants, including kahikatea, have been planted alongside the pathway.