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.
A short walkway along the foreshore of Tauranga Harbour runs the length of Athenree Village. It starts at the children’s playground on Waione Ave, a continuation of Athenree Rd, and runs along a grassy foreshore under large pohutukawa trees. There are views across the harbour to the Bowentown peninsula. Except around high tide the water views will mostly be across mudflats.
Parking is available by the playground and on the grass verge along Waione Ave. There are toilets across the road from the playground. Continue reading
Bowentown Domain, at the end of the peninsula at the southern end of Waihi Beach, and bordering the Katikati Entrance to Tauranga Harbour, has a number of walking tracks on the two hills which comprise the majority of the 128 hectare reserve. Remains of several pa sites are clearly visible on the hills.
The shoreline consists mainly of rocks, but with a few sandy beaches on the harbour side, by the harbour entrance, and on the ocean side. There are two car parking areas. The headland car park gives easy access to Te Ho Pa and Te Kura a Maia, and the other at Anzac Bay has toilet facilities, boat launching access, and an area available for freedom camping in self-contained campervans. Continue reading
William Wright Falls is a 28m high waterfall in the Orokawa Scenic Reserve, accessible only by a tramping track from Orokawa Bay. The Orokawa Stream runs down the cliff face before plunging into a small pool partway up the face, and another fall into the stream bed. The track and falls should not be accessed during and immediately after heavy rain, as the track follows the stream bed for most of the way. It was closed for a year or more after the original track was washed away after heavy rain.
The track is a side track to the Orokawa Bay to Homunga Bay track, and can be done as part of that walk, adding betweeb an hour and 90 minutes to that walk. Or it can be combined with a walk from Waihi Beach to Orokawa Bay for a shorter time and distance.
The Pohutukawa Park track runs through the forest in the hills at the northern end of Waihi Beach, between the beach and the old Waihi Beach water supply reservoir. Both ends of the track are close to residential areas. Dogs are allowed on this track, which is not administered by DoC.
The track is not very long, but has a number of steeper sections with steps. The track has small, white, rectangular track markers instead of the orange triangular ones used on DoC tracks. The track is also accessible from Pohutukawa Park. There are no great views from the track itself, but there are pleasant picnic spots near Pohutukawa Park and by the reservoir.
Sandy beaches at Orokawa Bay and Homunga Bay, north of Waihi Beach and within the Orokawa Scenic Reserve,, are only accessible from land by walking tracks. The shortest access to Orokawa Bay is from the northern end of Waihi Beach, and to Homunga Bay it is from the end of Ngatitangata Rd, east of Waihi. The track from Ngatitangata Rd is steep and passes through private farmland. There is also a coastal walking track between Orokawa Bay and Homunga Bay, which was reopened in early 2014 after being closed for some time due to slips.
This post covers the coastal walk from Waihi Beach to Orokawa Bay and Homunga Bay, returning the same way.