The Tarawera Trail - one of the best in the Bay
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.