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Taupo Walks & Hikes Out of Town
There are some spectacular walks & hike lying just outside of Taupo.
Kawakawa Bay Walking Track
Time: 4 hours return
Travel north from Taupo on SH 1 over the Waikato River. At the top of the hill turn left into Poihipi Road and follow signs to Kinloch (24 km). Go past the boat marina to a parking area by the beach in Nisbett Terrace. The track to Kawakawa Bay begins at the western end of the beach to the right of the parking area. The track entrance is signposted. Glorious views feature as the track climbs from Whangamata Bay and sidles along the top of a broad cliff. The bush is dominated by rewarewa but look out for the giant matai too. Once you reach the rocky lookout the track drops down to Kawakawa Bay.
Tahunatara Point Walking Track
Time: 1.5 hours return
Take SH 1 north out of Taupo, cross the Control Gates, turn left onto Norman Smith Street, left onto Acacia Bay Road, and right onto Mapara Road. Follow this for 6.7 km then turn left onto the unsealed Whakaipo Bay Road. Head down towards the beach then veer left to the track signs. Park beside the fence. The track begins across the Mapara Stream bridge. Cross the stile to the right of the bridge and follow the track markers past the boat ramp and along the lakeshore through regenerating bush. It’s an easy Taupo walk on level ground - ideal for families. There are several picnic and fishing spots along the way. At the end of the track there are views over the lake to Karangahape cliffs and the Tongariro National Park volcanoes. Walk a further five minutes to view Tahunatara Point. Return via the same route. Note: This track crosses private land leased by the department from the trustees of the ID2 Maori Land Trust. Please respect the landowners wishes and stay on the track.
Opepe Graves and Northern Walking Track
Time: 30 - 45 minutes, loop track
If you’d like some history mixed in with your walks around Taupo, follow the Napier/Taupo Highway (SH 5) 17 km from Taupo. The highway bisects Opepe Scenic and Historic Reserve and there are car parks on both sides of the road. On the northern side a short walk brings you to a graveyard where members of the Bay of Plenty Cavalry, who died in an engagement with followers of the Maori warrior Te Kooti, were buried. Later, residents of Opepe Township and the Armed Constabulary were also buried there. Continue around the bush loop track through mature podocarp (rimu, matai, miro) forest which is unusual in this region as so much was destroyed by the Taupo eruption of 186 AD and later by fires and the woodman’s axe.
Opepe Southern Walking Track
Time: 1 - 1.5 hours, loop track
To continue your walk through the colonial history of the Taupo area, carefully cross the road to southern loop track. Taking the track to the right from the car park you have the option of walking to a pitsaw pit and returning (20 minutes return) or continuing around the loop. Approximately 20 minutes past the pitsaw pit is an historic water trough and totara fence; relics of the old township. As you continue up the track to the site of Opepe township you cross the original Napier Taupo Road. At one time Opepe Township had a hotel, a store and several dwellings. The remains of water wells can still be seen. An armed constabulary stockade, occupied from 1869 to 1885, was situated on the western escarpment.
Waitahanui River Walking Tracks
Time: Varies depending on entry and exit points
Drive 12 km south from Taupo on SH 1 to Waitahanui. Park at the carpark near Waitahanui Bridge on the lake side of the road. The track begins on the true left of the river on the opposite side of the road from the lake and meanders alongside the Waitahanui River. These tracks are for fishing access. Be aware of anglers casting their lines in the numerous trout pools. The track upstream on the true left of the river is in scenic reserve as far as the third footbridge, and is open to the public. All other tracks are on private land and are open to angling license holders only.