Ōpōtiki / Ohiwa
Ōpōtiki / Ohiwa
- Time 1-3 hrs
- Distance 38kms
Choose from flat concrete pathway, quiet rural roads, or backcountry ‘hike-a-bike’ adventure.
In 2021, trail was built to link trail from the Memorial Park start of the Dunes Trail, back to the Waioeka SH2 bridge, which has a cycle/footpath. This trail is about 2.5km long and almost completely flat, with half the distance concreted. From the Waioeka bridge, trail is being extended towards Waiotahe.
When heading from Memorial Park, follow the gravel trail westwards around the playing field then past the wharf area. After dropping off the river stopbank, the trail becomes concrete, and veers close to town and the skate park. Stay on the concrete trail past the end of Nelson street down to Union street where there’s a short section on roadside footpath, alongside Union then Ford Streets. You pop back up onto the stopbank, from where it’s 200m to the Waioeka Bridge, which has an underpass on both sides.
From Waioeka Bridge, you can ride on gravel trail for about 1km alongside SH2. There’s then a gap of 2.5km to the Waiotahe Drifts housing estate. Ride into Waiotahe Drifts, go straight ahead to the coast and turn left (west) onto a spectacular new trail that runs parallel to the coast and highway for 3.5km to Te Ahiaua/The Pipi Beds. At the time of writing some short sections are yet to be completed but most of the distance is in place. The plan over time is to link this trail back to Ōpōtiki.
From Waioeka bridge, ride south on Hukutaia Road for 7km (follow the road signs). After 2km of residential area, you get onto quiet, rural road, passing Woodlands Hall and School. It’s sealed and mostly uphill all the way to Hukutaia Domain where there’s a fantastic short walk in ancient forest. No cycling in the Domain so take bike locks for while you walk.
While it's often rather overgrown and has windfalls, Te Waiti is a fun out-and-back adventure ride for more skilled riders. The forest is filled with huge nikau palms, as well as mature rimu, tawa, kahikatea, and other trees. Some people will make it an overnighter, staying at the basic DOC hut at the end of the track where, at night, you may hear wild kiwi.
Te Waiti track starts at the end of Te Waiti Road, which is narrow gravel and turns off the Pakihi Road. Once on the track, ride anywhere up to the river crossing at 5.5 kilometres, or another 500 metres to the hut. Return the same way. You can go beyond Te Waiti hut but the track quickly gets very rough then becomes a route. If you're good at navigation there is a marked walking route (not a track) across to the Pakihi Valley.
Taheke road is a pretty, gravel road that rises into Waiaua Scenic Reserve and makes a good extension to the Dunes Trail for fitter riders. When riding from the coast, after 2km of Motu Road, turn right (west) onto Gaskill Road, turn left after the bridge, then after the seal ends, right onto Taheke Road (used to be Block Access Road). From here you can ride 5km to the end of the road. Traffic is very occasional but do stay alert for forestry vehicles.
Whakaumu Track starts from just beyond the end of Taheke Road. Go through the forestry gate, veer right at the cleared area, and go up the forestry road about 50m. Whakaumu Track starts on the right. It passes through sensational forest, with huge nikau palms, and trees like beech, puriri and rimu. It is an out-and-back track. At present, Whakaumu is in rough/overgrown condition.
Te Waiti Track was formed sometime around the early-1900s. It was once part of the same farm as at the end of the Pakihi road.
Te Waiti Bridge, on the gravel road intersection at the confluence of the Te Waiti and Pakihi Streams, officially opened in late April 2017. This concrete bridge replaced one that was built in 1931. Timber from the old Te Waiti Bridge was used to create the giant picnic table now at the end of the Pakihi Track.
From near the confluence of the Pakihi and Te Waiti streams, the first Bay-to-Bay route headed up to the ridgeline. This was Te Kowhai Track, a Māori route that was used until the Opotiki-Ormond ‘Road’ (horse track) was connected in 1876/77.
In the early 1900s, there were plans to link the railway from Moutohora, near Motu, down to Taneatua, south of Whakātane. One of several proposed railway line routes was down the Wahaatua and Te Waiti streams, then on to Ōpōtiki. There was ongoing exploration for many years but the rail connection was never made.
Download the Ōpōtiki trails brochure for a map of the above rides.
Te Waiti Road is unsuitable for large vehicles and has several fords. A 4WD is advised. Carry on 3 kilometres to Boulders Campsite or 4 kilometres to Bushaven. The track is clearly signed.
Stay at Bushaven at Te Waiti Track start, or at Weka Wilds (Pakihi Valley), or camp at DOC's Boulders Campsite 2 kilometres from the track start. You can get secure parking at Bushaven for a modest charge.