Whakatane & Ohiwa Harbour
Walking/ Hiking/ Trail Running
Nga Tapuwae o Toi
Nga Tapuwae o Toi or The Footsteps of Toi walkway is a spectacular loop from Whakatane to Ohope via the coast and then back again via an inland route. It is a 16km round trip with reasonably large hills along the way offset by dead flat sections along Ohope Beach and through Whakatane town. The walk can be broken down into a number of short walk sections.
Mokorua Gorge to Kapu-te-rangi (Toi’s Pa)
This is an easy walk of about 90 minutes starting at the bottom of the Mokorua Gorge and heading north along Commerce Street. After turning right just before Pohatoroa (the Rock), the next section starts with a climb up the escarpment steps leading to Hillcrest Road. The steps are decorated with a ceramic tile vertigraph showing life on earth from the bottom of the sea up to the stars. Turn left onto Seaview Road to find the track leading to Kapu-te-rangi. Soon after leaving the road, the track passes the head of Wairere Falls. After climbing through an area of attractive regenerating bush, Kapu-te-rangi is on the right.
Kapu-te-rangi (Toi’s Pa) to Ohope Beach West End
From Kapu-te-rangi follow the track north-east along the cliff top above Whakatane and past several pa sites. Toward the tip of Kohi Point, the track emerges onto an area of low scrub and flax land and then follows the cliff tops to the south-east. After rounding a headland, several tiered staircases lead down to Otarawairere Bay, a great place for a picnic or a swim. A toilet is available at the back of the beach. The formed walkway resumes with stairs near the eastern end of the bay to cross the headland to Ohope Beach. Walkers should allow 2 hours for this section. Note Otarawairere Bay cannot be crossed during high tide so be prepared to turn around if the tide is high. Kapu-te-rangi is accessible by vehicle from Otarawairere Rd.
Ōhope Beach West End to Ōhope Scenic Reserve
The section from West End to Ohope Scenic Reserve is the easiest of the entire 16km track. It is roughly 3km and dead flat along the beach as far as Mahy Reserve at the foot of the Ohope Hill. Cross the road to Ōhope Scenic Reserve. There are several public toilets just off the beach along this section, with carparking and cafes also near at hand.
Fairbrother Loop Walk
Soon after entering Ōhope Scenic Reserve through the waharoa or arched gate, visitors reach the foundation of an old pumping station. Take the left fork for a pleasant uphill walk featuring a number of views over the forest and Ōhope Beach. The other choice follows along a stream for a short while before climbing to complete a loop with the left hand track. Allow an hour to walk the loop. Turning right at the intersection at the top of the loop continues the Nga Tapuwae o Toi round trip. There are no toilets over this section of the track.
Ōhope Scenic Reserve to Burma Road
Take the same track as the Fairbrother loop described above except at the top of the hill follow the trail towards Burma Road. This track pleasantly sidles along the side of a ridge for about an hour and a half of walking before it comes out at Burma Road. This area of the track is one of the most densely populated with kiwi and robins which have been nurtured by the Whakatane Kiwi Trust. There are no toilets over this section of the track.
Burma Road to White Horse
From the Burma Road carpark, the track climbs steeply before entering private land. Here, sections of raised boardwalk make for an easy and charming walk through areas of native forest and wetland featuring large pukatea, tawa and puriri trees. Further on, the track meets the Mokorua Reserve walkway at the White Horse Drive Junction after about three-quarters of an hour walking. There are no toilets available on this section of the track.
White Horse Junction to Mokorua Gorge
Locally known as the 'Bird Walk', the White Horse Junction to Mokorua section of the walkway traverses the stream valley a number of times before climbing the high ridge overlooking Whakatane. It then follows the ridge down to a final steep descent to the walkway exit adjacent to the car park at the bottom of the gorge. This is the most popular part of the Nga Tapuwae O Toi walkway and generally takes walkers around 45 minutes.
Warren Cole Walkway
The Warren Cole Walkway follows the Whakatane River from the Landing Road bridge to the Whakatane Heads. The picturesque walk is 4.2km one way and passes a number of interesting features including traditional waka, Mataatua wharenui and contemporary artwork relating to Moko the dolphin and Whakatane’s kiwi project.
This great short walk (starting on Ohiwa Harbour Road) takes in wetland and lovely pohutukawa and puriri bush through Ohiwa Domain, with fantastic harbour and seaviews rewarding you for the steady climb to the promontory above Ohiwa Beach. Onekawa Pa site can be accessed across private land (leave gates as you ﬁnd them) before descending to the Ohiwa Holiday Park. A shared use gravel path along the road follows the harbour edge back to your start-point. This track also features a glow-worm grotto which is worth a visit in the evening. Both the Ohiwa Domain and Onekawa Te Mawhai have active community involvement in their environmental care and restoration.
Onekawa Te Mawhai Recreational Park
At the eastern head of Ohiwa Harbour, Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park provides options to go part way to the pa site at the summit and then take a trail through to the Ohowa Domain and an attractive bush walk, or to go all the way to the summit for impressive views across the harbour and seaward to White Island. Both options are steep in places. A route to the east of the pa site descends to Bryans Beach from where it is around 800m along the sand to complete the loop at the Ohowa Holiday Park. Community planting days are held each winter to slowly replace the gorse with native bush.