Posts tagged freewalks
Discover why Otarawairere Bay at Ohope Beach is one of my favourite playgrounds!

In New Zealand, as the island nation that we are, we’re definitely spoilt for beautiful coastlines. Having recently moved back to Whakatane, I decided to check out some of my favourite ‘local tourist’ spots. Having recently moved back to Whakatane, I decided to check out one of my favourite ‘local tourist’ spots. Otarawairere Bay is a hidden gem just a 15-minute walk from its more famous cousin, Ohope Beach. The bay is easiest to access at the west end of Ohope Beach, and I recommend going at low tide so you can walk the entire length and explore the rocks.. Otarawairere Bay is a hidden gem and just a 15-minute walk from its more famous cousin,
Ohope Beach. The bay is easiest to access at the west end of Ohope Beach, and I recommend going at low tide so you can walk the length of the bay and explore the rocks.

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Walking The Pakihi Track (Pakihi Rd
To Hut & Return)

I have been planning on walking the Pakihi Track since I came across a photo of the suspension bridge earlier this year. Unfortunately at this time, there is a massive slip that has taken out a part of the track about 300m upstream of the Pakihi Hut, so I couldn’t start my hike from Motu Rd. Instead I walked from Pakihi Rd to the hut and back on the same day. It was still an 18km hike, and was glad to finally make use of the hiking poles I bought as fatigue began to set in on my legs on the way back.

The Pakihi Track is a 20.7km dual use track for walkers/runners as well being a Grade 4 MTB track. Riders can only ride downhill, starting at Motu Rd. Walkers and runners can go both ways. I hope to see the other half of the track once the slip has been repaired - you can keep an eye on the Department of Conservation website for track updates, or head to the Motu Trails Cycleway on Facebook. For shuttle drop off and pick up, make sure to contact Motu Cycle Trails.

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The Whirinaki Falls Loop Track

The Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park is a place of immense, natural beauty and I invite you to see it for yourself as you walk amongst the giants of the forest. Located near the village of Minginui, it’s about an hour and half from Whakatane, where I live.  

I have wanted to do this walk all Summer, and with Autumn’s shorter days, I didn’t want to leave it too much longer. It took me almost two hours drive just to get to the River Road car park, mainly because I didn’t want to risk a flat tyre in the pot holes on the gravel road. I’ve learned to add at least another 30 minutes to my driving time vs Google’s estimate, especially if there’s a gravel road along the way. If you’re experienced in back country road driving, this probably won’t affect you, but if you’re mainly an urban driver like me, you will want to keep this in mind. River Road is a single lane gravel road, so make sure to take extra care.

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Nga Tapuwae o Toi - Kohi Point Track

My energy levels have been more down than up in the last couple of weeks, so I haven’t been able to get out to explore. Sundays are my ‘switch off’ day, or at least for a few hours, and because I haven’t been well, I thought I would check out a local favourite, Nga Tapuwae o Toi, or the Footsteps of Toi. I walked the Kohi Point walkway from Seaview Road, but didn’t walk down to Otarawairere Bay as my energy levels were getting a bit low. This will have to wait for another day.

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The Onepu Wetlands Boardwalk and Lake

I have to tell you something, the Onepu Wetlands Boardwalk isn’t an Insta-ready location...yet. In fact, a lot of the track is currently overgrown. The trees and plants are still a fews years away from being fully grown so that we can truly appreciate the beauty of this area. If you’re a mountain bike rider, you should also check out the Onepu Community Mountain Bike Park which is in the same area. Many of the tracks are multi-use, including horses and walkers/runners.

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Mauao Summit Walk

There are two tracks up to the summit - the stairs which is about ten minutes quicker, but I personally recommend the gravel route which gives you pretty much an obstructed view of the ocean as you make your way up. I would love to come back and walk this either at sunrise or sunset. The cliff does drop off sharply over the edge, so keep an eye on your footing, however the track itself is well maintained so roots and trees are no problem.

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