Lake Kainui is a peat lake of about 25 hectares in the Horsham Downs area of Waikato, east of Ngaruawahia and north of Hamilton. It is one of a series of lakes in the area, and is also known as Lake D or Lake Rotoaira. Lakes A, B and C are nearby. A walkway around the lake was opened in 2018, and public access to the lake itself and Lake Kainui Reserve was arranged by the Waikato District Council. A short access road off Lake Road leads to a parking area and the reserve. There is also a boat ramp and a toilet.
Various activities are permitted in the reserve and on the lake, but some activities require a permit and access to the boat ramp requires a key. The reserve may be closed to the public in May, during the duck shooting season. The walkway around the perimeter of the lake is about 3.1 km long, mostly well formed with a gravel surface, although there are also areas of grass. There are no steps and only the gentlest of gradients, with an elevation difference of only a metre or two along the entire track.
The Karakariki Scenic Reserve was originally set aside as a water conservation reserve. The reserve covers about 486 hectares, and is accessible across private farmland from the end of Karakariki Valley Road, off Karakariki Road which branches off SH23 between Hamilton and Raglan, near Whatawhata. At one time the forest was dominated by kauri but this was milled out in the early 1900s. There is a short, relatively easy, track leading from the end of Karakariki Valley Road to a small waterfall. The track then continues up a steeper hill section, ending at a fenceline but without any views.
The waterfall apparently does not have an official name, despite being shown on Google Maps as Karakariki Waterfall. Karakariki Stream is actually somewhat further to the south. The track to the waterfall and beyond is known as Karakariki Track, with a description and a few photos on the DoC web site. There are several streams joining near the waterfall, including Mangapapa Stream, Tuoro Stream and Whakakai Stream. The first two are presumably the ones crossed on the last swing bridge before the waterfall, with Whakakai Stream appearing on the topographic map to be the waterfall stream. Continue reading
Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park is an ecological restoration project situated on the outskirts of Hamilton, attempting to bring back Hamilton’s native flora and fauna. The park is owned and managed by Hamilton City Council, with help from Waikato University, Wintec, Waikato Regional Council and Tui2000. More information about the history, the park, and the project can be found on the Hamilton City Council web site.
One entry to the park is located on Brymer Road, directly across the road from the entrance to Hamilton Zoo. The intention is to create a hub with a common arrival space and facilities. The plantings in the park have been ongoing since 2004, but the park was only open to the public from mid-November 2019. Continue reading
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.