WON­DER­FUL WALKS

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News -

Whether your New Year res­o­lu­tion is to be more ac­tive or you want to burn off some off that Christ­mas food, there are plenty of won­der­ful walks to en­joy around Taupo¯ .

■ Great Lake Walk­way

The walk time varies depend­ing on which exit you take. From the Lake Taupo¯ Yacht Club fol­low the paved track along the lake edge to Two Mile Bay then Whare­waka Point. Ideal pic­nic and swim­ming spots can be found along the way. Carry on around the point to the new con­crete foot­path to Five Mile Bay. This, and all other walks on this page are open for dog walk­ing, be sure to take your leash.

■ Con­trol Gates Bridge to Spa Ther­mal Park

From the Con­trol Gates bridge fol­low the true right of the Waikato River to Cherry Is­land. Head along the river to the steps up to Taupo¯ Bungy. From the top it is only 200 me­tres to Spa Ther­mal Park. Takes about an hour.

■ Huka Falls Walk­way

Turn right off Ton­gariro Street into Spa Road at the north­ern end of Taupo¯ , then left into County Ave and drive into Spa Ther­mal Park. Fol­low­ing the signs, walk for five min­utes across the park to the Waikato River. Near the start of the walk­way, a bridge crosses the Otu­muheke Hot Stream. The track winds along the river­bank and of­fers lovely views on the way. The walk fin­ishes at the spec­tac­u­lar Huka Falls. Re­turn via the same track or ar­range trans­port from Huka Falls carpark (across the bridge). This walk can be linked with the Ara­ti­a­tia Rapids Walk.

■ Huka Falls to Ara­ti­a­tia Rapids Track Fol­low SH 1 north from Taupo¯ , turn right into Huka Falls Rd and fol­low the signs to Huka Falls. A re­fresh­ment kiosk and pay toi­lets are lo­cated in the carpark. The track be­gins across the bridge. Head left to the last view­ing area over Huka Falls. At the back of the view­ing area the track climbs onto the cliff tops with mag­nif­i­cent views of the river. It then grad­u­ally de­scends and con­tin­ues along the river to the Ara­ti­a­tia hy­dro dam and rapids. Re­turn via this route or ar­range trans­port from Ara­ti­a­tia. About four hours.

■ Waikato River Track

This walk be­gins at the Huka Falls carpark and ends at Otupo Flat. Five min­utes down the track there is a grassed area with a good view back to the falls. From here there is a short, steep climb to a road then the track drops again to the river and am­bles along through a va­ri­ety of ter­rain and veg­e­ta­tion. There are sev­eral short side tracks to points of in­ter­est along the way. Re­turn on the same track or ar­range re­turn trans­port. Takes about an hour.

■ Aca­cia Bay Walk­ing Track

Starts about 1km past Te Kopua Street, head­ing to­wards Aca­cia Bay. The track leads down­hill and then to the lake edge through na­tive bush and opens out to Aca­cia Bay.

■ Ran­gatira Point Walk­ing Track

Fol­low Aca­cia Bay Road past the boat ramp and on for an­other 2km. The track starts at the first carpark on the left. The track leads around the lakeshore to To­tara Bay. There is a large group of pines at Te Karaka Point at the far end of the bay. A side track from this point leads back to Aca­cia Bay Road. The main track con­tin­ues to Ran­gatira Point then loops back to meet the road. Ex­cel­lent lake views. Ve­hi­cle ac­cess to both ends of this track. Takes about 90 min­utes.

■ Whakamo­enga Walk­ing Track

Fol­low Aca­cia Bay Rd to the road end carpark. Be­gin on the Ran­gatira Point Track. Turn right at the first junc­tion. An easy, graded track runs through the bush be­side the lake around to Whakamo­enga Point. There are good views across the lake from many points along the walk­way. Please re­spect ad­ja­cent pri­vate prop­erty by stay­ing on the track. Takes about an hour. Note: The Ran­gatira and Whakamo­enga Point Tracks can be walked to­gether (2.5 hours re­turn).

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