Te Waiti Track

Be Set Free



At a glanceWEKA Jim 175121

  • Grade: Te Waiti is not Motu Trails, it's a forest trail south of Opotiki of intermediate/grade 3 standard
  • Shared use cycling, running, walking — please show courtesy
  • Distance: 6km (12km return) of singletrack from Te Waiti road end; 10km (20km return) if riding from end-of-seal on Otara road; 32km (64km return) if riding from Opotiki
  • Start: Te Waiti road end at Bushaven; or Otara road; or Memorial Park, Opotiki
  • No mobile coverage.

te waiti valley grass standing

Screen Shot 2018 07 28 at 3.04.04 PM

 www elevation Te Waiti

Te Waiti track is not the Motu Trails. Back in the early-2000s, more riders tackled Te Waiti Track than the Pakihi. But whereas the Pakihi had a major upgrade for Motu Trails, Te Waiti is much as it has been for decades.

While it's sometimes rather overgrown Te Waiti is a fun out-and-back ride for more skilled riders, with the option of staying at the basic DOC hut at 6km. Te Waiti Track is also a sensational run or walk.

Te Waiti track starts at the end of Te Waiti road, which turns off the Pakihi Road. Stay at Bushaven at the track start, or at Weka Wilds, or camp at DOC's Boulders campsite 2km from the track start. You'll likely experience weka and the calls of wild kiwi at night. You can get secure parking at Bushaven for a modest charge.

To get to Te Waiti from Opotiki, turn down Otara road and head south for about 11km. It's a long, straight road with one single lane bridge. About 2km after the seal ends, there's an intersection, where if you turn left you'll go over a bridge and up to the Pakihi Track exit. Instead, go straight ahead.

Below, view to Bushaven from Te Waiti road.

bushaven view 4

You are now on Te Waiti valley road, which is unsuitable for large vehicles and has several fords. A 4WD is advised.

Carry on 3km to Boulders campsite or 4km to Bushaven. The track is clearly signed. Ride anywhere up to the unbridged river crossing at 5.5km or 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 track) across to the Pakihi valley.

Below, Te Waiti hut.

TW hut P1140141

Te Waiti Track is perhaps best known for plentiful nikau palms. The forest is excellent with mature rimu, tawa, kahikatea, and other trees.

Below, a large kahikatea (white pine).

kahikatea copy2

back rimu copy


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 late-April 2017. This concrete bridge replaced one that was built 1931.

From near the confluence of the Pakihi and Te Waiti streams, the first Bay-to-Bay crossing headed up to the ridge line. This was Te Kowhai track, a Maori route that was used until the Opotiki-Ormond ‘road’ (stock 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 Whakatane. One of several proposed railway line routes was down the Wahaatua and Te Waiti streams, then on to Opotiki. There was ongoing exploration for many years but the rail connection was never made.


Further reading

Licence to Ride guide article




Be Set Free