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.
Taitua Arboretum is a 20-hectare block of land mostly planted in a variety of trees and shrubs, both native and exotic. It was established, starting in 1973, by John and Bunny Mortimer who, in 1997, gifted the property to the people of Hamilton as an arboretum. About 3 km of walking tracks wind their way through the arboretum, with plenty of seats, shelter, lakes, poultry and ducks along the way. Bicycles are not permitted. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash.
The arboretum is located in the Temple Heights area of Hamilton, at the end of Taitua Road, off Howden Road, and is signposted from SH23, the Hamilton to Raglan road. Taitua Road is shown on some maps as continuing on to Wallace Road, but this part is only open to walkers and cyclists. The arboretum is open daily from 8am until half an hour before sunset. More details are available on the Hamilton City Council web site. There is a parking area, with toilets and drinking water available by the entrance to the arboretum.
Lake Ngaroto is a 108-hectare peat lake with adjacent wetlands in the Waipa District, north-west of Te Awamutu and south-west of Ohaupo. The lake has a maximum depth of 4 metres and an average depth of 2 metres, lying only 33 metres above sea level. A walking and cycling track almost 6 km long, with a large part of it being boardwalk, has been constructed around the lake. The lake itself is only visible from the walkway in a few locations, with vegetation blocking the view for most of the distance. Boats with motors are not allowed on the lake, but there is a rowing club and a sailing club, each with club rooms at the edge of the lake. The lake is also used by duck shooters during the May-June shooting season.
There is a parking area with toilets at the end of Bank Road, off Ngaroto Road. Dogs are allowed on the walkway, but must be kept on a leash. For an anti-clockwise walk or cycle the track starts by the parking area at the southern end of the lake. For a clockwise walk (no cycling) the track starts further along the access road, by the sailing club buildings. For more details of the walk see the Te Awamutu Online site. The site mentions that parts of the walk are through fields, with stiles to cross, but this is no longer correct.
Hapuakohe Walkway in the Waikato consists of two parts. The northern part connects North Road (off SH27) and Ohinewai Road (also off SH27) along Hapuakohe Range. The southern part connects Ohinewai Road and Mangapiko Valley Road, passing by Maungakawa trig station on the way. The northern part is signposted as an 8-hour walk, with the southern a 6-hour walk. Information about the track can be found on the DoC web site. The walkway is west of SH27, about 50 km north-east of Hamilton and 65 km south-east of Auckland.
This post describes only the portion of the southern part of the walkway between Ohinewai Road and Maungakawa Trig.