Be Set Free
- Grade: Whakaumu is a local trail that links in well to Motu Trails, it is of grade 3 standard
- Shared use cycling, running, walking — please show courtesy
- Distance: about 44km return ride from Opotiki via Dunes Trail
- Whakaumu is 4km (8km return) of forest singletrack
- Start: Taheke Road; or Waiaua church/marae, or Opotiki
- No mobile coverage
- Alert: track currently in rough/overgrown condition.
Whakaumu Track is a super ride from Opotiki, suited to more skilled riders, and to walkers/runners). At present the track has only one entrance, so it is out and back.
Alert: track currently in rough/overgrown condition.
Whakaumu track passes through sensational forest, with huge nikau palms, and trees like beech, puriri and rimu. There are two pretty waterfalls in the first 2km. Birds include kiwi, NI robin, NI weka, kereru (wood pigeon) and more.
Whakaumu Track starts at an altitude of 180m and climbs to over 300m. You may need to walk some stretches.
Whakaumu is a volunteer trail work project. We acknowledge the support of Trail Fund NZ, Ground Effect Slush Fund, Fonterra Grass Roots Fund, Opotiki individuals, Waiotahi Contractors and many others.
To get to Whakaumu Track from Opotiki, ride the full Dunes Trail, or ride/drive 10km east on SH35. Turn onto the Motu Road. After 1.5km of the Motu Road (soon after the Waiaua marae/church) turn right onto Gaskill Road, then after 800m, cross the bridge and turn left (follow signs to the track from here). After another 800m, veer right onto unsealed Taheke Road (this was called Block Access Road until 2017).
Immediately after turning onto Taheke Road, the climbing begins. You have a 1km climb, then a plateau with a short descent, then a gradual 3.5km climb, twisting through farmland then native forest.
5km after turning onto Taheke Road, there is a small parking area, followed by a forestry gate. A lot of people ride from Opotiki to this point, and turn around here.
To get to Whakaumu Track, walk/ride beyond the forestry gate to the forestry skid area (about 100m). Veer right on the 4WD road and start up the hill. After 50m, just before the road gets steep, the track start is on the right. It may be overgrown.
The track is mostly well formed for 4km, it is overgrown but in Jan 2019 was 95% ridable to 4km. If you wish walk on to 5km. Return the same way, down Taheke Road.
Taheke Road carries forestry traffic, so weekends are best to ride. If you head up in a car, park at the area just before the forestry gate. If the gate is open, don't drive through, as you may get locked in. You are allowed to go by bike/foot past the forestry gate at all times, except during harvest.
Accommodation close to the trail
Whakaumu Track was built sometime around the 1870s. We have not found any specific reference to its construction, however there was a lot of road/track work during this period. For example, the initial cutting of Ormond-Opotiki road, heading inland from nearby Omarumutu, appears to have been 1871-1877.
The track was named Whakaumu, after a nearby peak, in 2015.