New Zealand Walk: The Great Lake Walk/Cycleway, Taupo
The Great Lake Walk/Cycleway is a a fantastic walk/cycle path that consists of grey brick paving changing to concrete further along. It starts at the Lake Taupo Yacht Club (large parking area) on Lake Terrace Road which used to be Highway 1.
It gives fantastic views of the lake as it winds its way along the edge passing through Two Mile, Three Mile and Four Mile Bay to Five Mile Bay a distance of approximately 11 kilometres, twenty two return.
Picnic and swimming spots can be found along the way with plenty of seats where you can stop for a breather and take in the fabulous views. There is a toilet in each bay along with plenty of parking for cars and motor homes. A children’s playground and barbecue facility at Wharewaka Point not far past Four Mile Bay is very popular.
Not far from the beginning of the walk there is a small hot thermal stream that trickles into the lake edge under a small bridge (signposted with a warning) the path then carries on past holiday homes and motels, then changes to mostly parks, reserves and marinas further along.
The scenery from one end of the walk to the other is diverse and one can only admire how it changes so frequently.
At the large Five Mile Bay parking area there are usually many motor homes where it is permitted to stay for several days.
Follow the path past the motor homes for a further maybe kilometre where it passes in front of more holiday homes then onto a sandy track (not suitable for mobility scooters or pushchairs), that in itself is a pleasant walk/bike under
shady and dried skeletal trees. It eventually leads out onto the main road south. Care is needed at this exit as it is a main highway and speeding traffic.
To return to the beginning of the walk take the walkway back again. This walk is suitable for everyone including mobility scooters, pushchairs, dogs on leashes and bikes.
In all it is a colourful, interesting pleasant experience and also a photographer’s paradise pretty in all seasons. The walk is graded easy and time return depending on your pace between two and three hours.
Bike time depending on speed approximately 30 minutes to an hour. Add on time to that if you stop to take photographs. As this is a shared path take care and look out for other users. Above left: Shags preening after being in the lake. Accacia Bay is in the background.. Above right: The area says it all. Middle: A sandy are of the walk. Below left:: Resident Herons live on the shore of the lake. Below right: The trail at 5 Mile Bay.
Above: Changing scenery among the palms. Below left: A narrow part of the walkway. www.walkingnewzealand.co.nz