7 superb eastern Bay of Plenty walking and running trails

The hills and coastline around Opotiki feature the Motu Trails and many other wonderful trails. Here are 7 top trails, ranging from easy to challenging.

Dunes Trail. Enjoy huge ocean views and the magnificent sweep of the eastern Bay of Plenty and Eastland ranges. Starting in Opotiki’s Memorial Park, you’ll find 10km (each way) of easy, gravelled path that is part of the Motu Trails. This is shared use trail for cyclists, walkers and runners. There’s easy access to the beach all along the trail.  

Pakihi Track. Forest and river magic. 21km of trail (each way), remote but well-formed, 30 minutes’ drive south of Opotiki. Again this is part of the Motu Trails so check the Motu Trails web site. It’s shared use trail for cyclists, walkers and runners. Go as far as you want but all the way up and back makes a trail marathon, and it’s a spectacular one. Shuttle services are available, see the Motu Trails web site. Stay at Weka Wilds.

Te Waiti Track. The next valley system over from the Pakihi, this offers 6km up (12km return) on a fairly well formed bush track. There's one river crossing at 5km that's not passable in high water. A great place to stay is at Bushaven, at the track entrance.

Tauranga Track. A 6km loop that starts from the historic Tauranga bridge, 30 minutes’ drive south of Opotiki on SH2. This is a loop for dry weather on historic track that was once farmland. If you don’t want a big walk, just wander 500m from the roadside parking to the 1924 bridge, which is stunning.

Hukutaia Domain is 6km south of Opotiki from Woodlnds Road (turn off at the Waioeka bridge). The trail is a short amble through a 5ha pocket of forest, beneath wonderful native forest and the 2000 year old ‘Millenium Tree’, Taketakerau. For a quick glimpse of the spendour of New Zealand's forest, this is hard to beat.

Whakaumu Track is 150 years old and in the process of being restored by volunteers. Currently a single entrance track, Whakaumu offers 6km of trail (each way) beneath soaring coastal forest. It would be hard to find bigger nikau palms than here. North Island robin, weka and kereru (woodpigeon) are regularly seen. Map and directions on the Motu Trails web site, under trail descriptions.

Onekawa Te Mawhai is a new regional park above Ohiwa Harbour, 15km from Opotiki. It’s a magnificent spot, with panoramic ocean, harbour and farmland views. The hilltop is the site of Onekawa and Te Mawhai pa (fortifications). You can do a 9km loop, featuring steep but well formed bush trail and the superb Waiotahe beach. A perfect base is the Ohiwa Beach Holiday Park, at the foot of the park.

 

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