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Nature & Wildlife

Top 10 short walks in the Bay of Plenty

  • 5 minutes

Discover McLaren waterfalls, coastal Bay of Plenty beaches, estuaries and heritage Maori Pa sites on a short easy walk. There are Whirinaki ancient podocarp forest walks, a walk through Tauranga’s heritage sites, past Hairy McCleary to the iconic surf town of Mt Maunganui and Te Puna Quarry for a stroll in a beautifully repurposed former quarry. Walks suitable for families, for couples to enjoy quiet spaces together or solo travellers wishing to know more about the area.

Kaiate Falls, New Zealand @annettsphotos
Kaiate Falls @annettsphotos
  1. KAIATE FALLS

Rejoice waterfall buffs Bay of Plenty delivers a stunning waterfall. Kaiata Falls (Te Rerekawau Falls) cascades over several levels to a ravine. There is a swimming hole at the base of the falls. The walking tracks are well maintained however there are steep steps in parts. Care is needed as there are no handrails. The main path leads to a viewing platform with signposted tracks to the base of the falls. At the car park is an alternative track following the stream to the road bridge.

NOTE

Check Waitao Catchment and Kaiate Falls safe swimming health notifications before entering the water.

  1. WHIRINAKI FOREST WALK

H-Tree Track is wheelchair accessible and includes a kids treasure map as described by plaque at the beginning of the walk. The H Tree Track in Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park is an easy loop track through a grand podocarp forest. The forest is home to a number of native birds, including kaka.

THIS IS SUITABLE FOR KIDS

  • Length: 2.2 km loop
  • Duration: 1 hours

Read more about Whirinaki Forest Park

@whirinakiforestfootsteps
@whirinakiforestfootsteps
Elms Mission House, New Zealand @Romani Wilburn
Elms Mission House @Romani Wilburn
  1. CBD TAURANGA TO MOUNT MAUNGANUI WALKWAY

CBD to Mount Maunganui The Tauranga CBD is notable for its historical points of interest and harbour views. Walk along The Strand and dip your toes in the water at the tidal steps, or visit one of the restaurants and bars that dot the waterfront. Take a look at the Elms Mission House, the oldest building in Tauranga, or walk up to Robbins Park to view the rose garden and tropical display house. There are walking and cycling paths across the harbour bridge to Mount Maunganui, and a rail bridge to Matapih. View travel pack section for map

  1. ATHENREE WETLAND LOOP WALK

Discover the wetland loop walk. The award-winning Athenree Saltmarsh Wetlands restoration project is providing a habitat for indigenous plants and animals. This trail is regionally significant as it plays host to some of the largest populations of threatened wetland species within the Bay of Plenty, such as Fernbird and Australasian Bittern. The Wetlands Walk is a 20-minute loop and is accessible from the Emmerton-Steele Road (between Waihī Beach and Athenree).

What to do nearby … read more What’s so great about Athenree, Bay of Plenty

Athenree, New Zealand @mummykinz
Athenree @mummykinz
Anzac Bay to Shelly Bay, New Zealand @Bay of Plenty
Anzac Bay to Shelly Bay @Bay of Plenty NZ
  1. ANZAC BAY TO SHELLY BAY

Athenree estuary shared walk / cycle track. A 3km trail from Waihi Beach to Bowentown. Look for the well known Surf Shack cafe for entrance. It ends in Bowentown park. Try exploring Bowentown with amazing harbour views. Nearby Shelly Bay is a safe swimming beach with signposts leading to the summit of Te Ho Pā site. Check travel pack section, walk 3 for details

  1. HERITAGE MAORI PA – TE HO SUMMIT WALK

It is several minutes short climb to the Te Ho pa site for commanding views over Waihi Beach. The perfect location for a defensive pa site. The same path leads further up to a Trig station at the highest point of the headland. The gravel track is approximately 3km. A steep descent to Cave Bay reveals a popular fishing spot. There are no toilets along this walk.

Read more What’s so great about Waihi Beach – Best Bits

Te Ho pa site, New Zealand @Tourism Bay of Plenty
Te Ho pa site @Bay of Plenty NZ
@TePunaQuarryPark
@TePunaQuarryPark
  1. TE PUNA QUARRY PARK

Discover what passionate volunteers have created out of a former quarry. Sculptures and whimsical public installations, gardens, water features make Te Puna Quarry Park the perfect place to stroll outdoors in a garden setting. Dogs are welcome on a leash. Absorb the sweeping landscape and stop in Te Puke on the way back to Tauranga.

Read more 5 fun things to do in Te Puke where to go and what to see

  1. MCLAREN FALLS PARK

McLaren Falls Park is 190-hectares of parkland set alongside Lake McLaren offers visitors the choice of camping, fishing and kayaking. A short stroll away is McLaren Falls, impressive after rain with the added attraction of glow worms after dusk. View travel pack section for park map.

McLaren Falls Park, New Zealand @djkperry
McLaren Falls Park @djkperry
Tauwhare Pa site scenic view of Ohope Beach and beyond, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Tauwhare Pa site scenic view of Ohope Beach and beyond
  1. OHOPE SCENIC RESERVE – TAUWHARE PA HERITAGE SITE

The Ohope Scenic Reserve includes one of the country’s largest remaining coastal pohutukawa forests. Enjoy panoramic views over the harbour to Ohakana Island, Port Ohope and the East Cape.

Tauwhare Pa, located next to Ohiwa Harbour at Ohope Beach, Whakatane, is a must see Maori culture and history attraction. It is a preserved pre-European Maori occupation site, one of the oldest pa sites in the area. It is very obvious why you would want a pa site in this location. Sweeping birds eye views of all approaches with food resources at your fingertips in the bays below. From the terraces you can view across Ohope and Ohiwa Harbour.

Ohope Scenic Reserve entrance, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand Ohope Scenic Reserve entrance
Ohope Scenic Reserve plaques describing signficence of entrance design, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand Ohope Scenic Reserve plaques describing signficence of entrance design

Nearby is Ohope beach and its main street cafes and shops.

Read more What’s so great about Ohope Beach.

  1. NUKUHOU SALTMARCH (OPOPE – CHEDDAR BAY)

Nukuhou saltmarsh is a low-lying area located where the Nukuhou River enters Ohiwa Harbour. The boardwalk and lookout is maintained by the Nukuhou Saltmarsh Care Group. Detailed information plaques and beautiful tiled birds made by Cheddar Valley pottery, located in an old dairy factory across Wainui Road from the saltmarsh make this a great place for everyone to experience New Zealand’s unique salt marsh environment which is largely lost due to farming.

The small parking area is  close to a picnic area. The walking track ends at Cheddar Bay Pottery.

Approximately 2 – 4 km flat easy walk. The track’s are well signposted.

Nukhuou Salt Marsh info plaque Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Nukhuou Salt Marsh info plaque

Travel pack information

BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE

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