Kawerau & Tarawera
Walking/ Hiking/ Trail Running
Stoneham Walk provides a delightful short walk through Kawerau's gardens and parks. Start at the Kawerau Walkways Sign opposite the Information Centre and walk to the Ruruanga Stream past the Bowling Greens. Cross the footbridge and turn left and head through the grove of native trees to the Bell Street Bridge. Walk up to the road and cross Bell Street to enter Stoneham Walk, by the memorial to Roy Stoneham. Follow the track on the left hand side of the stream past the Rose Garden, over the picturesque Stone Bridge, past two more bridges and on to the last bridge below Valley Road culvert. You have the options of leaving the park on to Valley Road, and turn right or left to follow streets back to the Information Centre. The other option is to cross the last bridge and return to the start on the other side of the stream. Allow an hour for a relaxed walking pace.
Monika Lanham Reserve Walkways
Monika Lanham Reserve in the centre of Kawerau offers a variety of walks and trails which will take between 30 minutes and an hour to walk. Some trails are shared with mountainbikers. The main access point to the park is on Fenton Mill Rd with the climb from there up to the water reservoir offering expansive views over the town. Vehicles can be taken into the Reserve by prior arrangement with the Kawerau District Council on (07) 306 9009
Tarawera River Walk
Starting in Kawerau’s Boyce Park on the corner of River Road and Tamarangi Drive, a trail along the river edge provides great views of the Tarawera River as it cascades through town. Just south of Tarawera High School , kayakers and rafters can often been seen using the Grade slalom course on this section of the river. The trail carries on to the Waterhouse Street Bridge and can then be followed along the back of Firmin Field and other sports areas, before it reaches the golf course. Continue along the riverbank until you reach the Pipe Bridge. Walk across the bridge and enter the Tarawera Forest on the other side of the river. Turn left and walk northwards towards Maori Investments House. A short downhill stepped walk brings you back to Firmin Field from where you can return northwards to Boyce Park. Allow 3 hours gentle walking pace for the whole loop.
Tarawera Falls Track
The spectacular Tarawera Falls are a 20 minute one way walk along the track from the carpark heading upstream along the Tarawera River. You will reach a bridge crossing over Tarawera River and the track continues upstream until you arrive at the falls viewing area where you can fully appreciate their splendour. Signs at the viewpoint explain the cultural and natural significance of the area. From the falls you either back-track to return to the carpark, or continue along the track to Tarawera Outlet which is approximately another 2 hours one way. Access to Tarawera Outlet is from Kawerau township (off SH 30 between Rotorua and Whakatane) via private forestry roads which require permits. A map & directions are avaliable at the Kawerau Information Centre. The forest gate is closed during the hours of darkness. The forest road may be closed in summer when fire risk is high. A toilet is located at the carpark. There is a viewing area with a seat at the falls.
Tarawera Outlet to Falls Track
The Tarawera Outlet bridge is the starting point for a delightful trail that leads through to Tarawera falls. Cross the bridge and take the right hand track at the junction. The track meanders through the native bush, largely following the river. Caution is advised for those wishing to swim in the river beside this track, due to underwater currents and the nature of the river. However, there is a popular swimming spot approximately 1 1/2 hours from the Outlet, at a wider and shallower stretch of the river where the water runs more gently – look for the rope swing. Shortly afterwards, the track divides for a brief distance before both tracks rejoin. The track then zigzags down a steep escarpment to a viewing area at the base of the falls. The Waterfall Road carpark is a 20 minute walk past the falls. Toilets are located at Tarawera Outlet and at the Tarawera Falls carpark. There is a viewing area with a seat at the falls. Access to Tarawera Outlet is from Kawerau via private forestry roads. A forest entry permit ($5), map and directions are avaliable at the Kawerau Information Centre. The forest gate is closed during the hours of darkness. The forest road may be closed in summer when fire risk is high.
Tarawera Outlet to Humphries Bay
Humphries Bay is the first destination on the trail leading westward from the Tarawera Outlet bridge. Cross the bridge and take the left hand track at the junction. The track passes a jetty a short distance from the Outlet and progresses westward. Views of the lake become less frequent as the track climbs inland and then descends into Humphries Bay some theree hours walk from the Outlet. From here, the Eastern Okataina Walkway proceeds northwards to access Otangimoana Bay on Lake Okataina (approximately 20 minutes one way) or onwards to complete the Walkway at the Okataina carpark - a further 2 hours 40 minutes walk.
Toilets are provided at Tarawera Outlet and Humphries Bay. Access to Tarawera Outlet is from Kawerau via private forestry roads. A forest entry permit ($5), map and directions are avaliable at the Kawerau Information Centre. The forest gate is closed during the hours of darkness. The forest road may be closed in summer when fire risk is high.
Putauaki (Mt. Edgecumbe) towers above Kawerau and is a significant local icon of culture and history. The summit is reached via the four-wheel-drive track after a climb of around 800m. Allow for a three or four hours walk and take water with you. A permit which is required to access the mountain can be obtained from Maori Investments House, Waterhouse Street, during the week. The mountain hosts an annual running race which starts and finishes at Firmin Field by Waterhouse Street Bridge. Using unformed tracks, the best runners complete an up and back race to the summit in less than 50 minutes.
Onepu Community Recreation Park
Onepu Community Recreation Park offers several km of trails on flat to rolling terrain on privately-owned land that is open to the public thanks to the generosity of Norske Skog Tasman. The wetland on the edge of SH30 provides a pleasant wheelchair accessible short loop, while a more strenuous climb up stairs east of the wetland offers a commanding view. Other trails, such as “Oh Mai Mai” which is closed during duck-hunting season, allow walkers to wander through to Lake Tamurenui Wildlife Reserve before climbing back to the top of the ridge. Some trails are shared with mountainbikers. Parking is available at the park entrance or in Braemar Rd just west of the park. There is a toilet at the park but no other facilities.