The Rotorua Walkway is a 26 km long walkway in Rotorua, broken up into 8 shorter sections. The walkways are described in the brochure Rotorua Walkways available on the Rotorua Lakes Council web site, under the Brochures heading. This walk covers the section named Utuhina in the brochure. It follows the Utuhina Stream for most of the way between Old Taupo Road near Pukuatua Street and the entry to Rotorua Tree Trust Centennial Park, on Kotuku Street, off Kiwi Street and Otonga Road. Two side tracks off the Rotorua Walkway, one of them joining Utuhina Walkway, were described in the previous post, Mangakakahi and Otamatea walkways, Rotorua.
The walkway passes through parks and reserves, with parts of it along urban streets. Some parking is available at Centennial Park at the southern end of the walkway, and on Mataatua Street at the northern end. There are no toilets by the walkway.
The Rotorua Walkway is a 26 km long walkway in Rotorua, broken up into 8 shorter sections. In addition there are two shorter walkways branching off from the long walkway, following two tributaries to Utuhina Stream. The Mangakakahi walkway connects Sunset Road near Old Taupo Road and Pukehangi Road near Blomfield Street, and Otamatea walkway connects Pegasus Drive off Pukehangi Road and the Otuhina section of the Rotorua Walkway. The walkways are described in the brochure Rotorua Walkways available on the Rotorua Lakes Council web site, under the Brochures heading.
This walk through the Mangakakahi and Otamatea walkways was done as an anti-clockwise loop, starting and ending at the parking area on Mataatua Street, off Pukuatua St/SH30A. The start of Mangakakahi walkway is on Sunset Rd, about 1 km from the parking area. It is a combined walkway and cycleway. The middle part of the loop was a 1.4 km walk along Pukehangi Road from the end of Mangakakahi walkway, to Pegasus Drive where Otamatea walkway starts or ends. Total distance was 9.1 km, with a time of just over 2 hours.
Lake Okaro, situated near SH5 and SH38 between Rotorua and Taupo, is the smallest of the Rotorua lakes under public management. The lake has had poor water quality due to runoff from surrounding farms, but efforts have been made in recent years to improve the water quality, so that it can now be used for recreational use. The lake is adjacent to Okaro Road, off SH38 near the intersection with SH5. There is a campground, a boat ramp, and public toilets by the lake and Okaro Road. Te Ara Ahi, the thermal cycleway, passes by the lake on Okaro Road.
There is a walkway of about 2.3 kilometres around the lake, with a nominal time of 1 hour. The walkway follows the lake edge, with only relatively easy gradients on some smaller climbs. Vertical height difference is only about 20 metres for the track. About one quarter of the track, on the north-western border, is wheelchair accessible according to the signage. There is a charge for overnight camping, payable at the Rotorua i-Site on Fenton Street.
A link track connects the upper end of the Piako County Tramway track to Dog Kennel Flat junction adjacent to Mountain Road on Mount Te Aroha. From Dog Kennel Flat the road continues up to the summit of Mount Te Aroha and down to Tui Road by the Tui mines. From the junction it is also possible to take the steeper climb up the eastern side of Mt Te Aroha, or the Tui Saddle Track and Tui Track down to the Tui mines. Various other walking tracks also branch off nearby.
The link track, known as Te Aroha Link Track or Waiorongomai Link Track, also connects to Waipapa Track and Mangakino Pack Track. It is about 1.9 km long, and steep in places, mainly near the tramway end of the track. This walk was done starting and ending at Waiorongomai, turning around at Dog Kennel Flat. Continue reading
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.