Taupo area - a wealth of walks
How many times have you passed through Taupo on the way to walks further afield, without stopping to explore the walking tracks right there?
Taupo has a variety of walking and biking trails for all abilities - from scenic mountain tracks with spectacular
views over the lake, to trails following the Waikato River to Huka Falls and beyond.
We chose a shared walking/biking trail that runs from Whakaipo Bay (N.W of Taupo Township), to Kawakawa Bay – about 24kilometrs.
This is an easy bike ride, and part of the Great Lake Trail which continues around the lake. It can also be broken into two delightful day walks. Kinloch was our base, for two day walks.
The first day, we walked to Kawakawa Bay – a shady gently undulating trail mainly under rewarewa and matai, but with lots of ferns and mosses bordering the track.
The trail begins at the west end of Kinloch Beach, and there were stunning lake views as we climbed up from Whangamata Bay.
We wandered along the cliff tops to a rocky outcrop, with more lovely views, and from there it was an easy downhill to Kawakawa Bay, which we reached in less than two hours.
The trail continues on to Orakau, another 10 kms, but you need a vehicle at both ends.
After a refreshing dip in the bay, we returned to Kinloch to sit on the beach
and watch the colours changing as the sun set. It was so peaceful.
The following morning , we planned to walk to Whakaipo Bay- 12 kms from Taupo. This section of the trail was 14kms one way, a bit long to really e-njoy a return walk, so we left a car at the DOC. Reserve at Mapara Road and returned to Kinlock to begin the walk.
This trail is spectacular – wide and leafy with pungas, ferns, and mosses sheltered under tall Broadleaf native trees. The track is mainly pumice, so it drains easily ,and remains quite dry. At regular intervals there were awesome views out over the lake. Two lookout points were signposted, and both were worth the extra couple of kilometres to enjoy the views they offered, and a 9 km loop track led out to the tip of the headland.
At about halfway, there were clean toilets and a shelter with a water tank, where we could refill our bottles. When we reached Whakaipo Bay, we raced into the lake, then sat on the beach brewing coffee on a little gas cooker. - It was heaven. – the perfect end to a gorgeous trail.
Above: Above Kawakawa Bay. Below left: Looking south over Lake Taupo. Below right: Beautiful pungas
Above left: The end of the track at Whakaipo Bay. Above right: Trail between Kinloch and Whakaipo Bay.. Middle: A refreshing swim at Whakaipo Bay. Below right: Signs along the way.
Above left: Beautiful views over the lake.. Above right; Lots of seeds. Below left: A windswept ridge. Below right: Drooping lichen.