Taupiri Mountain (Taupiri Maunga), at the southern end of the Taupiri Range, is located adjacent to State Highway 1 between Huntly and Ngaruawahia. Taupiri Mountain is sacred to the Waikato people and its lower flanks are used as burial grounds. Amongst others Maori royalty are buried there. A loop track leads to the summit from an access road branching off SH1 next to the bridge over Mangawara Stream.
The loop track was reopened in 1995 after work on the track was done by local residents and members of Taupiri Young Farmers Club. The summit of Taupiri Mountain has a trig station at an elevation of 288 metres.
The TECT All Terrain Park is located about halfway between Tauranga and Rotorua, straddling SH36, and accessible from Whataroa Road. It is divided into two main zones, with various activities in each zone. The motorsports zone is located to the east of SH36, and the activity zone, off Weld Road, to the west of SH36. The park covers 1650 hectares of pine and native forest, with parts of the pine forest being clear felled at various times. Information about the park is found on the TECT All Terrain Park web site, including panoramic aerial photos of the park, maps, and details of activities.
There is a single dedicated hiking trail in the park, the Te Rerenga Tunnel Track, a loop track which starts and ends at the park entrance, where there is a parking area and toilet facilities. The track is about 3.2 km long, and is mostly an easy walk. Near the tunnel under SH36 there are steeper sections with steps on steeper parts and bridges across small streams. A torch is highly recommended for passing through the 36 meter long tunnel.
The Kaharoa Kokako Track, also known as Kaharoa Track, Kokako Track, or Hollow Track, leads down from Kapukapu Road to the Onaia Stream. It is located about 30 km by road north of Rotorua, and 55 km south of Tauranga, off Tauranga Direct Road (SH36), via Kaharoa Road and Kapukapu Road. There is a parking area and information panels located by Kapukapu Road about 600 metres from the start of the track. At the track start there is only parking available for 2 or 3 vehicles.
The Kaharoa Kokako Trust was formed in 1997 as a charitable trust to ensure the long-term protection and survival of kokako at Kaharoa. Predator control is an ongoing task in helping to protect the habitat of the endangered kokako as well as other native birds such as kiwi in the Kaharoa Conservation Area.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.