Gordon Carmichael Reserve is a 60-hectare reserve located between Bethlehem and Brookfield suburbs in Tauranga. The reserve is used as a stormwater reserve, with ponds and wetlands, extensive areas of native plants, and several kilometres of cycleways and walkways, accessible from several streets in the area. Over 200 metres of boardwalk have been constructed in the wetlands areas. A small carpark is located on Carmichael Road, adjacent to toilets, a playground, and an outdoor classroom. Access to the carpark is closed at night.
Access to the northern end of the reserve off Princess Road has a sign indicating that this is York Park, but there is no indication of the location or extent of the park.
Yatton Park, in Parkvale, Tauranga, was established by John Alfred Chadwick in the 1860s after having bought land confiscated in the wars between Maori and the British. He named the location Yatton Estate, and planted many of the trees still standing in the park. Also known as Tutarawananga it is the location of the first school in New Zealand, established in the 14th century to train tohunga (carriers of knowledge, priests or wise men).
Yatton Park is accessible directly from Fraser Street, and near the entrance there are parking areas and toilets. From Yatton Park a track leads down to the Waimapu Estuary, and along the estuary to Fraser Street by the Fraser Street Reserve. A side track leads up to Esk Street and continues on to Fraser Street by number 330.
The Minden Scenic Reserve is accessible from Ainsworth Road, off SH2 on the northern outskirts of Te Puna, near Tauranga. The Reserve has a short, 15-minute loop walk described in a brochure published by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council, and available online. The WBOP District Council brochure does not mention that there is an unmarked track continuing on uphill from the turning point of the loop walk and ending on Minden Road near the intersection with Dawn View Place.
There are no markers on the loop walk except at each end, and no indication of the extent of the reserve. The unmarked track continuing up the hill does not cross any fences, and since the bush area continues all the way to Minden Rd, the track presumably remains entirely within the reserve. The track does get used, both by walkers and by mountain bikers.
The Rapurapu Kauri Track in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park is accessible directly from SH29 the Waikato side of the Kaimai Range. The track leads to 3 large Kauri trees near the southern limit of their natural occurrence. On the way the track crosses the Rapurapu Stream 8 times. The stream crossings may not be possible after heavy rain.
The first 750 m or so of the track goes through recently cleared pine forest, before entering the regenerating native bush area in the Forest Park. The same track is used in both directions, for a total of about 6 kms, but with only about 30 m in height difference between highest and lowest points.
The Leyland O’Brien Tramway (or Tramline) Track follows the route taken by a tramway last used many years ago to extract logs from the forest in the Kaimai Range. The northern end of the track is at the end of Whakamarama Road, and the southern end is at a junction with the North / South Track which runs along the length of the northern end of the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park. On the way it joins up with the Ngamuwahine Track.
The DoC web site has information about the track. However, the expected time of 2 hours in each direction does not agree with the DoC panels along the track, and the actual walking time was about 2 hours 15 minutes without any breaks. One of the few tracks where the actual walking time was longer than the DoC posted time. Continue reading
Te Puna Quarry Park, at the end of Te Puna Quarry Rd off SH2 west of Te Puna near Tauranga, is one of the most popular walks in the Western Bay of Plenty. The park covers about 32 hectares of disused quarry.
Te Puna Quarry Park – Part 1 covered some of the history of Te Puna Quarry Park, and the western part of the park with the sculptures, plants, and facilities. Part 2 covers the East Block Native Bush Walks. The official Te Puna Quarry Park web site apparently makes no mention of the native bush walks, and only shows a part of them on the map on the Visit the Park page.
Te Puna Quarry Park, at the end of Te Puna Quarry Rd off SH2 west of Te Puna near Tauranga, is one of the most popular walks in the Western Bay of Plenty. The park covers about 32 hectares of disused quarry. Closed in 1970, the quarry has been transformed by volunteers, starting in 1993 with the formation of the Te Puna Quarry Park Society, and granted reserve status in 1996.
The park consists of two main parts – the western part with numerous paths and walking tracks, waterways, native and exotic gardens, sculptures, playground, and picnic areas, and the eastern part with tracks, some of them steep and with small stream crossings, through regenerating native bush.
The Otawa Scenic Reserve in the Papamoa Hills is part of the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park. The scenic reserve is accessible from various location near Tauranga and Te Puke, including Te Puke Quarry Road, Manoeka Rd, and Demeter Rd. The Trig Track runs from Te Puke Quarry Rd, via the Otawa trig, to Manoeka Rd by Otawa Lodge.
This walk covers the track from Te Puke Quarry Rd, past the Otawa trig, to the junction where the track to Manoeka Rd joins the track to Demeter Rd and to Whataroa Falls and Otanewainuku.
Omanawa Falls and the plunge pool below it can be seen from a viewing area above the falls, about 15 minutes easy walk from Omanawa Rd. The falls are about 20km by road south-west of Tauranga.
There is a small parking area by the road, but no facilities or information except for a small sign pointing to the access track.
The Omanawa River plunges about 35m in a single fall. The water from the river is partially diverted through the Omanawa Falls Power Station, the first underground power station to be built in the Southern Hemisphere. The original power station was built in about 1915, and rebuilt and restarted in 2008 after being closed for some years.
Unfortunately with the power station running again there is less water in the waterfall, being reduced to almost a trickle despite ample recent rainfall.
The Ngamuwahine and Ngamuwahine Loop Tracks on the northern slopes of the Kaimai Ranges in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park are accessible from the end of Ngamuwahine Road, off SH29, about 25km south of Tauranga. Ngamuwahine Road, about 3km long, is gravel, winding, and only about 1 vehicle width most of the way. So meeting with other traffic usually means one of them reverses to the nearest suitable passing spot.
Tauranga Intermediate School administers an outdoor education facility, the Ngamuwahine Outdoor Education Lodge, at the end of Ngamuwahine Road. There is a large grass parking area and picnic area at the end of the road, by the entrance to the lodge and the start of the track. But there are no toilet facilities on or near the track.
The tracks pass through regenerating native forest, with a number of pine trees in between. All the tracks are under tree cover, so will stay moist for most of the year.