Walkways, Lakes and Scenic Reserves

Walkways, Lakes and Scenic Reserves

Pack a bottle of water, don your walking shoes and sunhat and grab some friends because the best way to get to know a new area is on foot!  These suggestions are just some of the many walking tracks available in South Taranaki, most within easy-moderate walking grade and suitable for family groups – call in to the nearest i-SITE Visitor Information Centre to pick up a map as well as route information with points of interest along the way and begin your own discovery of our region.

Click here to download a pdf guide to walkways in Taranaki.


Lake Rotokare – Off Rawhitiroa Road onto Sangster Road, 12 kms east of Eltham.  This lake is a place of national significance and has a walk of 4.2 km which begins in bush and is surrounded by a predator proof fence.  The fence has created a pest-free sanctuary which provides diverse habitats ranging from the lake itself to the wetlands, swamp forest and bush. 

Boating, water-skiing and kayaking are popular pursuits on the lake, although power craft are excluded from the lake from May to November to provide a peaceful refuge for birdlife.  Dogs are prohibited in the reserve at all times.

For more information on the Lake Rotokare Scenic Reserve go to www.rotokare.org.nz

Lake Rotorangi – Off Rawhitiroa Road to Glen Nui Road – 24  kms east of Eltham.  New Zealand’s longest man made lake, two public boat ramps with access for water skiers and wake boarders.  Public toilets, picnic and camping areas available.

Bridger Park– Bridger Park Lane, Eltham.  The park behind the CBD is a natural amphitheatre; it has a picnic area and a bush walk through to Stanners Street.  The children’s toy wall, created by the late Fay Young, is adjacent to the park.

Soldiers Park – Comway Road, Eltham.

This beautiful walkway will take you past some historic sites and into some lovely scenery with a small waterfall thrown in for good measure.  The longest route is approximately 1.3km.

Mangamingi Bush Reserve – Rawhitiroa Road – 20 kms east of Eltham.  Tranquil area for a picnic and a short walk through native bush.

Rukumoana Reserve – Rawhitiroa Road – 24 kms east of Eltham.  A great picnic and swimming spot, with good fly fishing during the season.


Ohawe Beach-Waihi Beach Coastal Walk – The walk can begin from either Ohawe Beach or Waihi Beach.  Ohawe Beach is accessed by turning left into Ohawe Road from Surf Highway 45, 5 kilometres west of Hawera.  Alternatively you can turn west into Denby Road at Hawera.  The descent to Waihi Beach is via a steep gravel track from the car park at the end of Denby Road. 

Park to Park Walkway - The Hawera Park-To-Park walkway takes in beautiful King Edward Park with its manicured lawns, rose gardens, playgrounds and lake. The walk then leads you through the Hawera CBD through to the secluded Naumai Park; a tranquil haven renown for its native flora specimens.  From end to end, the walk takes about half an hour, so come through and enjoy! 

Goodson Dell– Situated on the corner of High Street and Cameron Street, Goodson Dell is a tranquil, woodland setting offering a picturesque walk among native and exotic trees and plants. 

Nowells Lake - Rifle Range Rd, Hawera. Just South of Hawera there are two beautiful freshwater lakes entrapped in the coastal sand dune belt. The two lakes cover seven hectares

The short, yet pleasant walk (approximately 20 minutes) leads you through farmland that has been planted in native trees by local schools, to Nowell’s Lake.  There is also another walk leading you towards the coast.  Thousands of swan plants have been planted throughout the walkway so Monarch butterflies are everywhere. The walks are well signposted and have seats for those needing to rest dotted along the way. Click here to see more.

Manawapou Viaduct
Drive south from Hawera along State Highway 3 for approximately 12 kilometres, or north from Patea approximately 16 kilometres and the Manawapou Viaduct is an easy walk from the rest area at the bottom of the Manawapou Hill. The railway bridge is part of the Marton-New Plymouth line and is 133 metres long, and stands 44.5 metres above the Manawapou River.
If you can lift the empty buggy over the stile, the walkway is accessible for those pushing children in buggies or strollers. Please keep to the sealed road and respect private property. As this is a working farm, dogs are not allowed on the walkway. From time to time access to the walkway will be closed due to clay bird shooting. Look for red flags at the gate to indicate closure. 

Denby Road-Waihi Beach Reserve Loop

A one-one and a half hour walkway loop with a number of options for starting points provides an opportunity for walkers, runners, cyclists and mobility scooter users to get out into the fresh air to enjoy farmland, mountain and ocean views. Park your car at Waihi Beach Reserve, walk up Waihi Road and turn right between the hedge and green shade cloth to use the Denby Road Extension. Use the paths to walk through open farmland, turn left up Fairfield Road to Manawapou Road, turn left again to walk along footpath and turn left one more time to walk down Denby Road and return to your vehicle at the Reserve.
Of course you don’t have to walk the loop, but whichever portion of the path you choose to take, the fine Taranaki views, country and salt sea air, will leave you feeling refreshed. Suitable for those with low-medium fitness. Dogs are allowed on leash.


The Opunake Walkway is the longest of the formal South Taranaki walks. It runs from Opunake Lake to Te Namu Pa. There are comprehensive maps for your information at either end of the walk. The Te Namu Pa map is by the entrance to the Opunake Cemetery Heritage wall. Along this walk, you will find many points of great historic and environmental interest. These include:

Opunake Lake
The lake is used to provide hydroelectricity. It was once a vegetable garden used to supply the Armed Constabulary and early settlers. There are public toilets at this stop for your use.

Armed Constabulary Cemetery
The cemetery is located on the headland that juts into the lake. It has four historic headstones. The perimeters of the cemetery are unknown but some cairns help estimate the cemetery boundaries.

Orimupiko Cemetery
This cemetery is adjacent to the entrance to the Armed Constabulary Cemetery. It is located on a former Pa site.

Waiaua River Mouth
This is a must-stop location - it will offer you extraordinary views of Taranaki's dynamic coastline.

The Cottage Hospital
The hospital has an amazing history for New Zealanders. It was the birthplace of Peter Snell, Don and Ian Clarke and Graham Mourie.

Opunake Beach
The Riviera of South Taranaki is an outstanding, natural surf attraction that draws visitors and surfers from all over the world. A motorcamp and playground are available. The beach was also recently upgraded to offer barbecues and picnic sites for everyone's use.

The Lion's Lookout
The lookout is located next to the ramp by the old wharf and offers clear views of the Taranaki Bight.

Middleton Bay
Middleton Bay has a boat ramp for easy launching. (This is not a safe beach for swimming, though, so please take care!)

Te Namu Pa
The Pa is an extremely important site in Taranaki. It was the location of a famous battle where Wiremu Kingi Matakatea repelled 800 Waikato Maori and successfully withstood a month-long siege armed with a single rifle. The best access to the site is via the Opunake Cemetery and then over the Otahi stream. The Te Namu Pa is on private property but visitors are welcome to pass through the site. The owners and the Historic Places Trust ask that the area be treated with care and respect.

The entire walk takes a little over four hours but individual points of interest can be visited. Free brochures on the site are available from the Opunake LibraryPlus Centre on Tasman Street.


Stony River Walkway

The walk is situated at Okato and can be started at the Okato Domain.  The walk is 4 kilometres long and crosses farmland to return along the Stony River.  Excellent views of Mt Taranaki and the Pouakai Range can be obtained. Starting from the swing bridge, the walk follows the Kaihihi Stream.  It then passes through the William Corbett Scenic Reserve, a memorial to the Okato pioneer and his family.  The Reserve contains the remnants of semi-coastal forest and further on there are some fine species of many native trees.

The Stony River Walk includes private land that should be respected.  Walkway users are reminded that many of the fences on the walkway are electrified and should not be touched.  Please use to the stile provided and keep to the track. Distance – 4km.


The Patea River Historic Walkway leads from Patea Beach and follows the river up to York Street, with several interesting historical sites along the way.  The walk can be started at either end and if you finish at the beach you can enjoy a meal using one of the free electronic barbecues in the picnic area.  Toilets are available at the beach.  NB: If entering the walkway from the York Street entry, there is a steep climb which can be muddy and slippery in wet weather.

Lake Rotorangi Walkway– The Lake Rotorangi Hydro Walk crosses the dam from the car park and enters a mixed Podocarp and Manuka forest. Travelling in an anticlockwise direction the track sits above the shore line and leads around the peninsula. Stay alert to the chance of spotting Parakeet birds in the forest. A feature of the walkway is a grove of black beech or tawhairauriki, which flower in a burst of brilliant red in October and November.  On the northern side of the lake the track offers stunning views of the lake as it gradually climbs to a high point, before descending back to the dam. Distance 1.4kms (allow 40mins)


Manaia Domain Walkway - Bennett Drive, Manaia

This walkway ambles through the domain which includes an 18 hole golf course covered with many old and lovely trees and plants.  A feature of the walkway is a rhododendron area.  The walkway passes a Maori pa site which was later rebuilt by Europeans, housing a force of Armed Constabulary.  Still standing are two blockhouses with the original trenches still visible.


Lupton’s Lake – an ideal water skiing, swimming, picnicking and boating venue.