The Tarawera Trail - one of the best in the Bay

Walking New Zealand - - New Zealand Walk -

Above: Walk­ers re­lax­ing in the hot pool at the lake edge. Be­low right: The boat that takes walk­ers acrosst he lake. Be­low bot­tom: The au­thor at one of the many in­for­ma­tion boards. the lake pass­ing Te Wairoa, The Buried Vil­lage and the wa­ter­fall which can be clearly heard but not seen be­fore a view across the lake to The Land­ing is reached.

The trail then un­du­lates through re­gen­er­at­ing na­tive bush with stun­ning views of the lake and the om­nipresent Mount Tarawera with wa­ter birds in the lake and land dwellers of­ten fill­ing the air with their song.

Af­ter about an hour and a quar­ter the Hawaiki Bay amenity area made a pleas­ant stop for morn­ing tea and pro­vides pic­nic ta­bles be­side a small lake beach.

Twenty five min­utes fur­ther on af­ter a stout set of steps is de­scended, the Twin Streams is reached. This area has been dam­aged by floods and slips but is still an oa­sis of cool shade and bub­bling streams, some flow­ing from sub­ter­ranean ori­gins.

Next is the Oneroa Look­out which of­fers a seat with a view and a chance for a breather.

Te Wairoa Stream, our des­ti­na­tion for the day, 11km from the carpark, has a toi­let and pic­nic ta­bles and is where, af­ter lunch, we branch off the main track to­ward the lake and the hid­den gem of a nat­u­ral hot wa­ter pool.

And nat­u­ral it is with not even chang­ing rooms dis­turb­ing the area - females one way and males the other. The pools are a pleas­ant tem­per­a­ture in the high 30° range where we could sit or re­cline in com­fort or choose to plunge into the nearby lake for a more in­vig­o­rat­ing dip.

In all too short a time our pre booked trans­port ar­rived in the form of Dave driv­ing his Wa­ter Taxi. We opted to use this trans­port for our re­turn jour­ney as, not only does it af­ford our weary legs a rest but shows a whole new as­pect to the walk as we look back to the bush from the wa­ter and re­view our out­ward trip.

This 11km walk can take between 2½ and three hours depend­ing on stops and be­cause of the pumice sur­face is a dry, mud free track, even in win­ter and is suit­able for any­one ca­pa­ble of walk­ing a bush track over this dis­tance for that pe­riod of time.

This same pumice is of­ten un­sta­ble in ex­treme weather and is re­spon­si­ble for nu­mer­ous small slips and washouts but the track sur­face is gen­er­ally of a high stan­dard. Above: One of the nu­mer­ous small lake­side beaches with Mount Tarawera in the back­ground. Be­low: Time for a breather and to take in the view at Te Oneroa look out.

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