Walk, run, kayak
Be Set Free
- Grade: walking/running only trails. No riding.
- Distance: range of trails 2km-17km.
The Tairawhiti/Gisborne and eastern Bay of Plenty region has many superb walks and runs.
You are, of course, welcome to enjoy walking or running on shared use trails like the Pakihi Track, Dunes Trail, Te Waiti and Whakaumu. In addition, there are trails that are only for walking and running, such as:
- Motu Falls and Whinray Reserve (Motu)
- Eastwoodhill Arboretum (near Gisborne)
- Hukutaia Domain (near Opotiki)
- Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park (Ohiwa near Opotiki)
- Nga Tapuwae o Toi (Whakatane).
All these tracks and areas are indicated on the Motu Trails map.
Motu Falls and Whinray Scenic Reserve. You can ride or drive from Motu to the falls (5km each way on gravel road). The suspension bridge, and into Whinray Scenic Reserve, is walking/running only. This area is environmentally precious, habitat of wild kiwi and species such as the rare Hoschetters frog.
The well-formed 7km trail is also historically important: it's part of the original formed crossing of Eastland, the Ormond-Opotiki road. The reserve is named after James Whinray, who campaigned for the forest's protection in the early 1900s.
You can walk through to Marumoko road, or do an out-and-back walk. The Motu Falls road, Whinray Scenic Reserve, and Marumoko road create a loop of 17km. This is the run stage of the Motu Challenge multisport race.
Motu Falls photos below.
Eastwoodhill Arboretum is a highlight of the Rere Falls Trail, read more about the arboretum on the Rere Falls Trail page. For walking and running, the arboretum offers 25km of diverse trails on 137 hectares.
It's a wonderful place for family walk/picnics, with a small play area, open spaces, secluded seats and shelters. Eastwoodhill Arboretum has thousands of mature Northern Hemisphere trees, so in autumn it is ablaze in reds, ochres and yellows.
Eastwoodhill photos below.
Hukutaia Domain is 7km from Opotiki. The domain is best known for Taketakerau, a 2000-year-old puriri tree that was a burial tree for Te Upokorehe people. There are other massive puriri, and trees such as totara and kohekohe, plus many nikau palms.
There are a couple of short, easy loops to walk, with well-formed trail all the way. You can cover it all in 15 minutes but it's far better to take at least an hour, and soak in the beauty of the forest. There's a very good chance you'll see weka, kereru (wood pigeon) and other birds.
Hukutaia Domain photos below.
Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park overlooks Ohiwa Harbour and directly adjoins Waiotahe beach. Nestled at the base of the hill is Ohiwa Beach Holiday Park, who are official partners of Motu Trails. Onekawea and Te Mawhai are two pa sites on the hilltop. The walking trail starts from the road about 400 metres further south of Ohiwa Beach Holiday Park.
You can walk to near the top of the hill then drop back down into the holiday park; or you can carry on over Onekawa, and drop down to the beach at the end of Ohiwa Road, returning back along the beach. There's a good parking area and toilets 400m seaward of the holiday park.
Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park photos below.
Nga Tapuwae o Toi (footsteps of Toi) is a collection of trails that form a 17km loop from Whakatane to Ohope near the coast, then back to Whakatane on a more inland route. It's a stunning walk or run, offering massive ocean panoramas and taking you through stretches of mature forest. Much of the way is in the terrain of wild kiwi.
Nga Tapuwae o Toi requires a reasonable level of fitness, as it has big steps, some steep slopes, and lots of hills. You can do just short sections, such as the 1km from Ohope's West End to Otarawairere Bay; or from Whakatane up to Kupu Te Rangi, Toi's pa, on the hilltop above the town. Or you can walk longer sections, such as Whakatane to Ohope, then catch the bus back.
There's good information in the Whakatane walks brochure, which we can mail free in NZ, and online. There's a map and guide on the Wild Things trail running site.
At Otarawairere Bay, you walk on the beach. At high tide you have to scramble over rocks, and in a storm the going may become impassable. Talk to Whakatane i-SITE for tide times.
Nga Tapuwae o Toi photos below.
You can have spectacular fun on the water with KG kayaks. KG’s offer wonderful guided and self-guided kayaking on Ohiwa harbour and beyond, including under moonlight and sunset, or sailing/kayaking at Moutohora (Whale island). Their sit-on kayaks are stable, so no experience is needed. KG Kayaks are official partners to Motu Trails.
KG Kayaks photos below.
You have great options with the following Motu Trails official partner businesses.