Tag Archives: Tauranga

Te Rerenga and Lost Tank Tracks – TECT All Terrain Park

The TECT All Terrain Park is located about halfway between Tauranga and Rotorua, straddling SH36, and accessible from Whataroa Road. It is divided into two main zones, with various activities in each zone. The motorsports zone is located to the east of SH36, and the activity zone, off Weld Road, to the west of SH36. The park covers 1650 hectares of pine and native forest, with parts of the pine forest being clear felled at various times. Information about the park is found on the TECT All Terrain Park web site, including panoramic aerial photos of the park, maps, and details of activities.

There is a single dedicated hiking trail in the park, the Te Rerenga Tunnel Track, a loop track which starts and ends at the park entrance, where there is a parking area and toilet facilities. The track is about 3.2 km long, and is mostly an easy walk. Near the tunnel under SH36 there are steeper sections with steps on steeper parts and bridges across small streams. A torch is highly recommended for passing through the 36 meter long tunnel.

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McLaren Falls Park – Lakeside and Waterfall tracks

McLaren Falls Park is accessible from McLaren Falls Road, which branches off State Highway 29 about 19 km south-west of Tauranga. There are numerous walking tracks within the boundaries of the park, with most of them providing easy walks on well-formed and wide tracks. The Lakeside Walkway runs almost the full length of the eastern side of Lake McLaren, from the road entry off McLaren Falls Road almost to the access road to the Lower Mangapapa power station. The Waterfall Track branches off the Lakeside Walkway, crosses over the road and then loops alongside a stream on the way to and from the small waterfall.

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McLaren Falls Park – Rimu Track

McLaren Falls Park is accessible from McLaren Falls Road, which branches off State Highway 29 about 19 km south-west of Tauranga. There are numerous walking tracks within the boundaries of the park, with most of them providing easy walks on well-formed and wide tracks. The southernmost track and also the steepest is the Rimu Track, also known as Rimu-Totara Track, which is directly accessible from the road through the park, by the junction with a short road past a substation to Lake Mangapapa. The side road has a closed gate, with public access for walkers only.

The Rimu Track is short, but quite steep in places, and with numerous steps. It climbs from the road junction through a valley to a plateau with an easy loop track, and a side track down past 3 large rimu trees (The 3 Sisters) to the road leading to Lake Mangapapa. The road can then be followed back to the junction, or a side road and track can be taken back up to the Rimu Track.

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Ruahihi Canal walkway/cycleway

Ruahihi Canal was constructed in the late 1970s and early 1980s to lead water from Lake McLaren and the Wairoa River to the Ruahihi Power Station adjacent to SH29. The canal is about 2.5 km long, with water then being fed into penstocks for the final part of the journey to the power station. The penstocks are mainly underground, but the single penstock pipe can be followed from the end of the canal as far as Gunga Lane and Ruahihi Road. At some point the single pipe is split into the two which can be seen alongside SH29, across the road from the power station.

On most days the Wairoa River from McLaren Falls to the power station is only a trickle, but on some weekends the control gates are opened and the river returns to a normal level during the day. The river is popular for white water rafting.

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Tauranga / Historical Inner City + Waikareao

Several historical sites are easily accessible in the Tauranga City Centre, and a loop walk around the city can include those sites as well as other points of interest. A booklet published by Tauranga City Council previously described the walk as “Tauranga / Historical Inner City”. In later editions, as well as the online edition, it does not show the loop walk, and calls it Tauranga/CBD.

The historical sites are The Elms Mission house in Mission Street, Mission Cemetery, Monmouth Redoubt, Te Awanui Waka, and Wharepai Domain. Other points of interest include the Rose Gardens, Robbins Park, The Strand reclamation, and the Hairy Maclary sculptures.

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Waikareao Estuary Walkway

Waikareao Estuary Walkway consists of walking and cycling tracks and boardwalks around the estuary close to central Tauranga and Otumoetai. It is accessible from several locations, and several side tracks lead to and from the walkway. On the western side of the estuary the walkway passes over mangrove tidal zones, and through parks and reserves. On the eastern side the walkway follows alongside Takitimu Drive, with the option of crossing over the busy road to more peaceful and green areas on the other side.

This walk was done in an anti-clockwise direction, starting and ending at the carpark on Maxwells Road, near Chapel Street, and following the track on the western side of Takitimu Drive between Waihi Road and Chapel Street. The Chapel Street part of the walk follows the footpath alongside the road. Total distance was almost 9 kms with a total time of almost 2 hours.

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Gordon Carmichael Reserve

Gordon Carmichael Reserve is a 60-hectare reserve located between Bethlehem and Brookfield suburbs in Tauranga. The reserve is used as a stormwater reserve, with ponds and wetlands, extensive areas of native plants, and several kilometres of cycleways and walkways, accessible from several streets in the area. Over 200 metres of boardwalk have been constructed in the wetlands areas. A small carpark is located on Carmichael Road, adjacent to toilets, a playground, and an outdoor classroom. Access to the carpark is closed at night.

Access to the northern end of the reserve off Princess Road has a sign indicating that this is York Park, but there is no indication of the location or extent of the park.

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Yatton Park to Fraser Street Reserve

Yatton Park, in Parkvale, Tauranga, was established by John Alfred Chadwick in the 1860s after having bought land confiscated in the wars between Maori and the British. He named the location Yatton Estate, and planted many of the trees still standing in the park. Also known as Tutarawananga it is the location of the first school in New Zealand, established in the 14th century to train tohunga (carriers of knowledge, priests or wise men).

Yatton Park is accessible directly from Fraser Street, and near the entrance there are parking areas and toilets. From Yatton Park a track leads down to the Waimapu Estuary, and along the estuary to Fraser Street by the Fraser Street Reserve. A side track leads up to Esk Street and continues on to Fraser Street by number 330.

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Minden Scenic Reserve

The Minden Scenic Reserve is accessible from Ainsworth Road, off SH2 on the northern outskirts of Te Puna, near Tauranga. The Reserve has a short, 15-minute loop walk described in a brochure published by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council, and available online. The WBOP District Council brochure does not mention that there is an unmarked track continuing on uphill from the turning point of the loop walk and ending on Minden Road near the intersection with Dawn View Place.

There are no markers on the loop walk except at each end, and no indication of the extent of the reserve. The unmarked track continuing up the hill does not cross any fences, and since the bush area continues all the way to Minden Rd, the track presumably remains entirely within the reserve. The track does get used, both by walkers and by mountain bikers.

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Rapurapu Kauri Track

The Rapurapu Kauri Track in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park is accessible directly from SH29 the Waikato side of the Kaimai Range. The track leads to 3 large Kauri trees near the southern limit of their natural occurrence. On the way the track crosses the Rapurapu Stream 8 times. The stream crossings may not be possible after heavy rain.

The first 750 m or so of the track goes through recently cleared pine forest, before entering the regenerating native bush area in the Forest Park. The same track is used in both directions, for a total of about 6 kms, but with only about 30 m in height difference between highest and lowest points.
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