Maungatapere Mountain Trail
SH14 across from Watrous Downs, Maungatapere
The maunga has a summit of 359 metres above sea level and the trail winds up the side of the hill to the top where there are historic kumara pits plus some rare swamp forest.
There is a loop track at the top in the forest but no cleared lookout.
The entrance to the trail is directly opposite Watrous Downs Road. Search ‘Maungatapere Mountain - Grove Broadleaf Forest’ on Google maps for driving directions.
Parking is available in the car park next to the stockyards. It is designated for users of the track but please close the gate when leaving.
The trail starts between two rock walls and heads up to a wooden gate which you walk through.
The track to the summit and back down to the stock yards is approximately 3.5km and takes approximately 60-90 minutes depending on your fitness level.
The majority of the walk is on private property and some areas of the mountain are tapu, so please stick to the marked trail. The walk goes over a combination of private and conservation land – no dogs, horses or mountain bikes allowed.
The Maungatapere Mountain Trust relies on volunteers to maintain the trail, and working bees are held to maintain the track and help protect the forest from invasive weeds and animal pests. To find out more or get involved contact the Maungatapere Mountain Trust - Paul Buttirini (Trust chair) 021 588 111 or Sara Brill on 022 010 4092.
Gate to the right is parking area and trail starts through the gate on the left
Otaika Valley Walkway
253 Otaika Valley Road / SH15, Otaika Valley
The Otaika Valley Walkway offers you a variety of landscapes including farmland and native forest.
The carpark is just before Stunnell Road on SH15 / Otaika Valley Road.
There are two trail options:
Walk from Otaika Valley Road through to Raumanga Heights Drive, Raumanga. The distance by road from the start of the track to the end is 4.8 km. You can walk back via the same or track or via the road (SH1 and Loop Rd onto Otaika Valley Rd again), or park a car at either end if you only want to go one-way. It takes around 4hrs to return to the carpark if you decide to walk the whole track and back again. It is recommended that you start this walk from the signposted car park on Otaika Valley Road.
Walk from Otaika Valley to the northern boundary of the scenic reserve and then return to the car park. The distance is 2.5 km to the reserve boundary.
This is DOC conservation land and kiwi live here. There are no mountain bikes or dogs allowed.
For more information check out the Otaika Valley Walk.
William Upton Hewitt Memorial Reserve
1.3km past 222 Wright Road, Titoki
This reserve is conservation land owned by the NZ Forest Restoration Trust.
The 242ha block has regenerating shrubland, established forest, and wetland/swamp.
From the carpark there is a 15-minute climb up to the ridge where there are extensive views. There are three loop tracks, the longest one taking 4-6 hours.
It contains vegetation that is unique in the area and is home to the threatened North Island fernbird, a small kiwi population and other native species. The reserve has been classified by the Department of Conservation as having outstanding value.
Allow time to listen for the ‘tuk tuk’ sounds of fernbirds. If you stand and wait they will often come to check you out.
This is private conservation land – no dogs, horses or mountain bikes allowed. As there are kauri trees in this reserve, please follow protocols for kauri dieback, clean your footwear prior to entering and stick to the tracks.
The reserve is located approximately 1.3 km on past house No. 222 on the eastern side of Wright Rd. Just off the road, the reserve entrance has a grass carpark and noticeboard.
For more information go to the NZ Forest Restoration Trust.
1096 Omana Road, Waiotira
If you feel like adventuring a little further afield, the 3,000 ha Tangihua Forest has several walks from an easy 20 minutes to more strenuous hikes. To find out more about what's on offer, visit DOC’s Tangihua Forest info.
As this is conservation land, dogs are not allowed on the access road or within the forest (unless you have a special permit). Please note, hunting is allowed in this forest (by permit only).
The best access into the forest is from Omana Road. The Omana Road Tangihua access car park has parking for 15 cars. You will need to walk 30 min along a formed road to the bush line. From here, it is another 15 min until you reach Lions Lodge.
The Tangihua Lions Lodge is also available for hire and has two lodges. The main one sleeps up to 50 people while the smaller sleeps 4 people.
There is also an eight-bunk DOC hut. Reaching the Tangihua Hut takes 8-9 hours from the Lodge and the track is designed for experienced and well-equipped trampers.
The Tangihua Lions Lodge runs an education centre/lodge and conservation and pest control programme within the forest with support from students and volunteers. If you're interested in helping them out, find out more about volunteering.
Dog Friendly Walks
While our bush walks are conservation areas and no-go areas for dogs, there are still a few local dog-friendly options for you and your four-legged friends.
Mangakahia Sports Complex
689 Mangakahia Road, Poroti
On the corner of Mangakahia and Kerehunga Roads, the Mangakahia Sports Complex offers a dog-friendly track that loops around the outside of the sports fields. There is also a playground for children and public toilet.
Please pick up after your dog and keep dogs off the playing fields.
227 Pukeatua Road, Maungatapere
This private 92-acre dog-friendly property is open every day of the year during daylight hours. It offers a range of trails, including bush-walking. There's no permission needed for entry but for the privilege of walking there, there’s a small fee.
Admission is $4 per adult, $2 per child, $2 per dog.
Cash is required (with the right change) on entry.
Check out their website to find out more or this handy information from 'And the dog came too' blog.
Barge Park Showgrounds
474 Maunu Road, SH14, Maunu
Not too far away is the lovely Barge Showgrounds. Set on 64 hectares, this beautiful park offers great dog-walking options.
Dogs are excluded from the DOC wetland area and are required to be on leash on the bottom fields which are often grazed by sheep and on the Kiwi North tracks. The rest of the area is a large, off-leash, dog exercise area.
This sprawling public green space often hosts different events throughout the year, so please be mindful of horses and other event participants.
Source Barge Showgrounds Events Centre
Walking tracks include both Barge Park land and Kiwi North Heritage Park. If you are on Heritage Park, please keep your pup on lead.
Red zones are totally off-limits to dogs to keep existing wildlife safe and create a buffer-zone around the Pukenui Forest where Kiwi live and are now breeding.
The red areas, including Millington Bush and the surrounding area (not shown), is entirely off-limits to dogs. Kiwi North use this area to collect leaf litter for their kiwi house so it needs to be free of smells that can scare the birds.
Source: Kiw North