5 Must-Do Winter Walks
What better way to ward off the winter chill than a brisk walk? Hawke’s Bay has more than its fair share of crisp days with blue skies, with plenty of trails beckoning keen walkers. Why not venture out of your comfort zone, and uncover the best trails throughout the region? From easy to advanced, we’ve rounded up 5 walking tracks suitable for all abilities.
Wairoa River Walkway, Wairoa (1 hour)
If you’re visiting Wairoa, or driving through, make sure you stop and take in the charming township. One of the best ways to discover Wairoa is by strolling the River Walkway. Start at Wairoa’s historic Portland Island Lighthouse, and follow the river into the CBD, then to Pilot Hill, where the river meets the sea.
A recent extension of the walkway makes this now 7.9km trail a coastal walkway too, ending at Whakamahia Beach Scenic Reserve.
Tangoio Falls, Hastings District (50 minutes return)
Tongoio Falls is a 3-tiered waterfall in the heart of Tangoio Forest, just 20 minutes north of Napier. Start from the swing bridge at the carpark, and follow the stream to the Tangoio Falls and Te Ana Falls junction. You’ll eventually be led to the waterfall’s viewing platform (the base of the falls is officially inaccessible). Winter is one of the best times to see it up close and personal as the falls like particularly stunning after rain. However, the track can be muddy and slippery, so take care on your walk. Te Ana Falls is also worth a look, if you want to extend your short walk.
Sunrise Hut, Central Hawke's Bay (90 minutes to Sunrise Hut, 3 hour return)
Grab some sturdy shoes/boots, a backpack filled with essentials and head to Ruahine Forest Park located at the Ruahine Ranges. A popular, easy walk for many family groups, follow the zig-zag track will lead you to Sunrise Hut, which is managed by DOC (Department of Conservation). Winter temperatures mean you may even find snow around the hut. For information, visit the DOC website for more information.
Otatara Pa Historic Reserve, Napier
Otatara Pa Historic Reserve is one of the largest complexes in New Zealand, spanning 40 hectares. A fascinating site, it was once favoured for his strategic location, which afforded expansive views and access to a range of natural resources, and was regarded by many Iwi in the district.
Today you can walk to the pa and see the remains of terraces, dwelling sites and food storage pits, and a glimpse into the lively community that Otatara once was.
Mokotahi Hill, Mahia (20 minutes)
An iconic lookout in Mahia, Mokotahi is a well-carved track offering jaw-dropping views over Mahia Beach and beyond. Start at the base on Newcastle Street, and follow the trail for a steep, yet short incline. You’ll be rewarded at every turn, so make sure you snap a few photos, so you can relive the views when you’ve finished. Mokotahi Hill holds cultural significance to Ngati Kahungungu, whom have long history of occupation at the site. At the top you’ll find information boards outlining its past.