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Why Waihi?
22 April 2015

Although more renowned for gold the coastal area around Waihi is truly a gem; but the jewel in the metaphorical crown stretching from Homunga Bay in the North to Bowentown in the South is surely the Waihi Beach to Homunga Bay track.

Suitable for walking/hiking or trail running and easily accessible via Waihi Beach or Ngatitangata Road the trail is approximately 6.5 kilometres each way and is open to the public again after storms during 2013 caused damage and temporary closure. 

Pohutakawa fringed on one side with the Pacific Ocean on the other the track is a stunning microcosm of all that is good about trail running in New Zealand – well marked, uncrowded, amazing scenery, tough climbs, fun descents and just enough unpredictability in terrain to keep you on your toes.  If that’s not enough the option of a side visit to the William Wright Falls, a cool off at Orokawa Bay or a chance to take photos of the cliff-scape around the two thirds mark should be enough to sway the staunchest of sedentary cynics. 

Those involved in the thriving adventure racing and multisport scene may be familiar with The Nugget event in which the trail run leg mimics that described above and is probably best articulated by Garry Towler on the Nugget Website (;

“One of the better short trail runs in New Zealand.  It has everything and is by no means fast.  Steep, punchy climbs, technical sections, drops, places you can only walk, butt-clinching passes around cliff edges and awesome scenery”.

I had my own butt-clinching experience on recon for this story courtesy of a well-timed tumble mid-sprint; executing an inadvertent somersault and ending up on my back on the side of the trail.  Why well timed? I’d fallen on a small section of track that didn’t have an enormous cliff beside it – thirty seconds before or after and you would have been reading about this in the newspaper.  A bruised ego and knee was a lucky let off.

That said; the 2.5 kilometre section from Waihi Beach to Orokawa Bay is as safe as it gets, totally suitable for kids and families and easier than a walk such as the Mauao Summit or Toi’s Track. 

Watch your feet and exercise some caution from Orokawa to Homunga and not only will you be safe as but will have experienced one of the coolest little runs around!    

This post was written by

Simon Neate - who has written 5 posts
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