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Walks in Hawke's Bay

With beautiful landscapes, towering waterfalls, strange and unique birdlife, amazing limestone formations, lakes, rivers, mountain ranges and coastlines, Hawke’s Bay is a paradise for walkers – from short walks and day hikes to overnight and multi-day walks in the Ruahine and Kaweka Ranges close by and the Great Walk at Lake Waikaremoana in Te Urewera.

Come into Napier i-SITE before you leave to pick up a $2.00 copy of our day walks guide, the Department of Conservation Great Walks of New Zealand, North and South Island campsites and local Heritage Trail brochures.

We have information consultants who are keen hikers/trampers themselves and enjoy imparting their knowledge of the local walks and multi day hikes in the area, checking out the local track conditions and weather and arranging transport.

We can book your Department of Conservation Great Walk hut and campsites at no extra charge.

We also sell the following:

  • Back country hut passes – for serviced and standard Department of Conservation (DOC) huts
  • Topographical maps of Ruahine and Kaweka Forest Parks - $9.00
  • Local walks in and around Hawke's Bay - $2.00

Please note: Due to Cyclone Gabrielle, all DOC walks and huts in Hawkes Bay are closed until further notice




Duration: 50 minutes return

Head north along Marine Parade from Napier i-SITE and turn left on Coote Road just past the swimming pool.

Stop to admire the waterfall in the Centennial Gardens before heading up Priestley Rd to the ramp that takes you up to Priestley Tce, turn left here and then turn right at Lighthouse Road, walk through the white picket gate, the entrance to Sturm's Gully. Follow the path to the steps on the right and head up these to Bluff Hill Lookout and enjoy the scenic views across the Port of Napier.

From the lookout you can either go back the same way, or cross the grass slope and walk the pathway down to Hornsey Road, and then onto Breakwater Road, which will lead you past the Port and back to the start.

Alternatively, from Hornsey Road you could turn left onto Breakwater Road and then carry on along the seaside to Ahuriri the picturesque old fishing village with many restaurants, bars and cafes.

Safety note: Hilly terrains.

Route Map and Heritage Brochures of Napier Hill and Ahuriri available at Napier i-SITE Visitor Centre.


Distance: 2.8km, Duration: 45 mins for shorter walk, 1 hr longer walk

Start on Humber St car park, off Pandora Rd. Follow the track and boardwalk around the estuary. This estuary supports an interdependent community of wading birds, fish, mud dwellers and aquatic plant life. The boardwalk stretches out across the water for good viewing. Take your binoculars.

The walk can be extended by following the southern side of the estuary at low tide past plantings of ngaio, karaka and eucalyptus passing through several land reclamations undertaken by the Napier Harbour Board between 1931 and 1989. There are several educational information boards along the route regarding the flora and fauna an also the effects of the 1931 earthquake.


NCC has developed this 18ha reserve in conjunction with the Taradale and Greenmeadows Rotary Clubs with plantings of over 12,000 native and deciduous trees. The entrance to the reserve is on Dolbel St, off Puketapu Road, Taradale. From the gates allow 40 minutes return to reach the summit on a well-established track. Shorter walks branch off the main trail. Steep in places.


Sugar Loaf Hill (Pukekura in Maori) is a 4ha reserve that offers spectacular views over Napier, the Heretaunga Plains, the Kaweka & Ruahine Ranges. Park by Lance Leikis Reserve on Tironui Drive, cross over the stile and a gate that gives access to the track to the summit. The first 100 metres are steep but then the path widens and winds around the contour of the hill. There is also a steep direct path to the summit. Allow 10mins. The summit can also be accessed from Cumberland Rise off Kent Terrace.


There are two entranceways to this great walk – from the Springfield Road car park, and off Churchill Drive, Taradale. Otatara Pa Historic Reserve contains two of the largest and most ancient Māori Pā sites in the Hawke’s Bay area. It is of significance for its immense size and for the large number of terraced dwelling sites and food pits.

Point of interest: The area is wahi tapu (sacred place). Hikurangi and Ōtatara contain burial sites. No food is to be consumed on the Pā site.

Duration: 60 min.

Safety Note: Entrance onto Springfield Road is off a busy highway. The track is steep in places.


There are several walks in this area all of which are well marked. There is a map at the entrance to Park Island, off Westminster Ave, indicating points of interest in the area. These walks are suitable for all levels of fitness. Dogs are permitted off lead and there is a dog training area. Distance: Various up to 5 kms.


Location: 12kms south of Napier, Duration: 30 min – 1 hour

Take the Expressway (SH 50A) south of Napier to Pakowhai Rd, cross the Ngaruroro River and turn right into Pakowhai Park. This is a country-style park, and there are 2 kms of easy walking paths and a series of bridges crossing over the Raupare Stream. There are many specimen trees, a pine plantation and open grass areas making the park popular for walking and family outings. Dogs are permitted off lead. There is an agility course for dogs in the centre of the park.


Location: 10kms south of Napier, Duration: 30 mins loop track

Follow SH51 south of Napier for 10 minutes in the direction of Clive and turn left at the sign “Waitangi” between the Tutaekuri and Ngaruroro Bridges to the carpark. This wetland estuary area is of special significance to Maori and has been transformed recently with the addition of a celestial star compass Tu Hawaiki with 32 carved Po, native tree and garden plantings and a walkway. Maori ancestors used compasses like this to chart the position of the sun, moon and stars and thus navigate throughout the Pacific. Follow the trail for a 30-minute circular walk route past the star compass, around the wetland area and back via the path adjacent to the bridge.


Location: 25 min drive from Napier, Duration: 45 mins

The walk commences at Keith Sands Rd. You can also enter and exit this walkway from Tainui Drive and Hikanui Drive. The track runs through Tainui Reserve in Havelock North, and through a series of steep gullies. There are at least 5 exits on this walkway with clear signage on display. Moderate to high level of fitness is required.


Location: 45 min drive from Napier, Duration: 10-20 minutes one way

The walk starts 2.4 km up Maraetōtara Rd off Waimārama Rd where there is a white archway on a parking area on right side of road. In 1922 the Havelock North Borough Council built a dam on top of Maraetōtara Falls to create a head for a hydro-electric power station. A tree-shaded walk leads 10 mins upstream to the falls and 20 mins downstream through limestone scenery, past the old turbine house and a surge tower. Popular swimming hole in summer.


Location: 50 min drive south of Napier,  Duration: Short Loop 30 min, Long Loop 1hr 15min.

Turn off Waimārama Rd onto Maraetōtara Rd, drive for 16 km then turn into Waipoapoa Rd. Mohi Bush is signposted 2.2 km on the right. Mohi Bush is considered the best reserve on the Maraetōtara Plateau for people to explore. The tracks are reasonably flat and the walking easy. Enter through the vehicle gate to the picnic shelter, toilet, information panel and parking area. The tracks are well signposted.


Location: 35min drive from Napier, Duration: 30 mins – 1 hour

Drive on SH2 12km south of Hastings to the Pekapeka Regional Park on the left hand side, a great place to discover wetland wildlife. This 4.5 km long and 800 m wide wetland covers 98 hectares and is the focus of a joint HBRC-community biodiversity enhancement programme. Some rare bird species, such as bittern, are found here. Public access is to a central area of the wetland where you can explore pathways and boardwalks, and walk up to the lookout for a panoramic view of the valley. An ideal park to explore with the family.

Te Mata Peak is one of the prominent points of the Hawke’s Bay region, 399 metres above sea level.

There are 5 top trails and several shorter walks that provide a variety of options to explore this spectacular park. Some of the walks allow beautiful views of the Heretaunga Plains, Hawke Bay as far as Mahia and residential areas of Havelock North, Hastings and Napier. Mt Ruapehu is visible on a clear day.

To access the Top 5 tracks enter the Park from Te Mata Peak Road via the Main Gates car park or Tauroa Rd car park (starting at Tauroa Rd adds 0.7 kms or an extra 15 minutes each way via the Chamber's walk).

There is a billboard at the Main  Gates carpark with the walks detailed on it: Pīwakawaka Loop (40 minutes) 1.3 kms, Big Redwoods Track (60 minutes) 2.7 kms, Karaka Wander (1 ¼ hrs) 4 kms, Giant Circuit (2¼ hrs) 5.4 kms and Rongokako Trail (2¼ hrs) 5.5 kms. For more information on these walks go to

Te Mata Peak walkways25 minutes drive from Napier in Havelock North


Location: 30 min drive north of Napier,  Duration: Waterfalls return approx. 40 minutes, walkway to White Pine Bush approx. 1.5 hours one way.

Starts 27 km drive north of Napier towards Gisborne, signposted on the right hand side. There is a small parking lot with some nearby picnic tables and shelters, and an explanatory sign about the reserve at the beginning of the path.

Follow a bubbling stream through a thick forest for the first 20 minutes and you will come across the Te Ana Falls, which is the shorter but more forceful of the two waterfalls in the park. From there, you return to the path and head uphill for another 20 minutes to reach an overlook that provides a view of Tangoio Falls across a valley. If you wish to take a longer hike, you can continue walking on the trail all the way to White Pine Bush Scenic Reserve. This takes about another hour but is not used much so overgrown in places.


Location: 35 min drive north of Napier Duration: 20 min short loop, 45 min long loop. 

This reserve is a great place for people of all ages and abilities to experience NZ native bush with 19 hectares of native kahikatea (white pine) forest and beautiful nīkau palm groves. There is a short 650 metre loop track, which takes in much of what the reserve has to offer and also a longer loop with some huge specimens of kahikatea.


Location: 40 min drive north of Napier, Duration: 1 ½ hours return

This walk starts at the bottom of the hill just before Waipātiki Beach 32 kms north of Napier. Take SH2 north and turn right at the sign to Waipātiki Beach on Tangoio Road then left onto Waipātiki Rd and drive 12 kms further to the parking spot at the bottom of the hill 500 metres before the beach.

There is a steep 20 minute uphill climb through kahikatea and nīkau palm groves. At the signpost, take the high route to Aropaoanui Rd through kānuka and putaputaweta flora. After 20 mins you can go up to Aropaoanui Rd or left back down to the car park.


Location: 40 min drive north of Napier, Duration: 40 mins return with a side walk up the hill for an extra 45 mins.

This walk starts at the end of Waipātiki village between the pontoon and the main gate into the motorcamp. The track leads you through impressive archways formed by nīkau palm fronds and there are examples of kahikatea, titoki, karaka and kawakawa. Many birds are found in the bush – tūī, korimako (bellbirds), pīwakawaka (fantails), kererū (woodpigeons) and ruru (morepork).


Location: 40 min drive north of Napier Duration: various 30 mins – 2 hours

Drive north on SH2 and after Tangoio Settlement Road turn left on Kaiwaka Road, then Darky Spur Rd and Holt Forest Rd to reach the Holt Forest Arboretum. Or head to Lake Tūtira turn left onto Waikoau Rd just before the Tūtira Store to Holt Forest Road (7.5kms from Tūtira).

This 15 ha Arboretum was planted by Harold and Dorothy Holt over a 45 year period and contains over 500 species of indigenous and introduced trees, shrubs, ferns and flowering plants. In 1962 it was proclaimed a Wildlife Sanctuary and gifted to the people of NZ. The Arboretum is open to the public all year around. There are a number of trails here – broad gravel paths suitable for wheelchairs with picnic areas and toilets. No dogs.


Location: 40 min drive north of Napier, Duration: various 20 mins – 5 hours

Drive on SH2 north of Napier and turn in at the DOC campground on the south end of Lake Tūtira.

Prior to European settlement, Māori lived seasonally at Lake Tūtira and there are remains of 6 pā sites here and a basic DOC campsite on the lake’s edge with toilets.

There are a numerous walks in the Tūtira Reserve. The shortest is the Waikopiro Loop Track that follows the shores of Lake Waikopiro for 20 minutes (1.1 kms). The main Tūtira walkway follows either a shorter loop around the shores of the lake (2 hours, 5 kms) or a longer loop (7 kms/5 hours via Galbraith’s track, 4.5 hrs via Kahikanui Track) that passes through Tūtira Station and the adjoining Lake Tūtira Recreation Reserve. Table Mountain Trig affords magnificent views of the inland Kaweka and Maungaharuru Ranges and coastal Hawke’s Bay from Mahia Peninsula to Cape Kidnappers.


Location: 1hr 15 min drive north of Napier, Duration: 40 minutes, 1.4 kms

Just north of Lake Tūtira, turn off SH2 at the Tūtira Shop onto Matahorua Rd and then Pohokura Rd (heading to Boundary Stream).

This tiny lake is home to the ECOED Kiwi recovery programme. The 6 ha lake and bush are surrounded by 3.2 km of predator proof fencing and kiwi chicks are raised here until they are large and strong enough to survive predators in the wild, when they are returned to the Kaweka Ranges or taken to the Cape Sanctuary at Cape Kidnappers. A 30-minute loop walk takes you around the lake through regenerating bush full of birds. At the far end of the lake you can take a longer loop track up Thomas Bush Scenic Reserve (4 hours return). There are picnic shelters and toilets.


Location: 1.5 hr drive north of Napier, Duration: Various from 40 mins to 5 hrs.

Same directions as for Lake Ōpouahi (previous entry). 

Boundary Stream is part of the Nature Restoration project to protect native wildlife, flora and fauna. This native forest is one of the few remaining large protected areas east of the main ranges in the North Island. Boundary Stream walks are clearly signposted on Pohokura Road. There are various walks around this area and a variety of forest types, birdlife and viewpoints. Gentle land contours are ideal for a wide spectrum of visitors, particularly primary school children. You will find kāmahi, tawa, red and black beech forests, and a variety of birds including robin, kākā, whitehead and bellbird. Tumanako Loop Track – 1 hour, 1.4 kms Kāmahi Loop Track – 2 hours, 4 kms – includes passing by an 800+ year old matai tree.


Location: 1hr 30 min drive north of Napier, Duration: 3-4 hrs return, 5.3 kms


Same instructions as Lake Ōpouahi and drive past the Boundary Stream carpark. The start of the track is signposted on Pohokura Rd, 12 km from the junction with Matahorua Rd (Bell Rock and Maungaharuru Range are signposted). You can also access this walk from Waitara Rd 8.2 kms off the Napier-Taupō Rd.  A clear day is good for this walk as the extensive views are so impressive. A certain level of fitness and good shoes are required. The track climbs through mixed beech and podocarp to a forest dominated by gnarled beech and mountain holly trees. The low canopy provides opportunities to view large numbers of tūī, bellbird and kererū then follow the orange signs through farmland to these spectacular bell shaped rocks to view close up.


Location: 1.5 hr drive north of Napier Duration: 4.4 kms/45 min each way, 4.4 kms Heays Access Rd, or 8.5km / 3 hrs each way from Boundary Stream carpark on Pohokura Rd.

SHINE FALLS IS THE LARGEST WATERFALL IN HAWKE'S BAY! Same directions from Napier as for Lake Ōpouahi and then onto Pohokura Rd to access the southern end of the Boundary Stream area, or continue on to Matahorua Rd and turn into Heays Access Rd to reach the northern end. The popular track, suitable for children, wanders through farmland, past castle-like limestone formations and into mixed lowland forest before emerging at the base of Hawke’s Bay’s highest waterfall, which drops 58 m down limestone cliffs into a plunge pool, suitable for swimming on a hot summer’s day!


Location: 45 min drive from Napier, Duration: 20 mins to 1hr drive along Puketitiri Road.

Keep a lookout for the directional roadside sign 6 km past Patoka on the left. Mrs Audrey Hartree donated this area in 1962 in memory of her late husband. The network of tracks ranging from 20 mins to a one hour walk gives a good insight into the varied regenerating vegetation.


Location: 45 min drive from Napier, Duration: 45 mins

Just before Puketitiri settlement turn onto Little Bush Road. Little Bush refers to the smaller area of native forest remaining from the extensive earlier firing. This contrasts with Ball’s Clearing Forest that was earlier referred to as Big Bush. It is a private reserve, open to the public at all times. A 45 minute circular track passes through the regenerating forest of abundant ferns, climbers and native orchids. The low forest canopy enables rewarding bird watching. The more common birds are tūī and pīwakawaka (fantail) but also present are korimako (bellbird) and kererū (wood pigeon).


Location: 1hr drive from Napier, Duration: 10-40 min

Drive along Puketitiri Road 5kms past Puketitiri onto Pakaututu Road. Ball's Clearing Scenic Reserve is signposted on the righthand side.

This 36 ha reserve features fine examples of dense virgin podocarp forest best seen from the network of walking tracks that vary in time from 10 to 40 minutes. Picnic shelters are provided at the reserve entrance as well as a large grassed area, toilets and water. Please note that no fires or camping are allowed.

KAWEKA J - 1724m - Highest Point in the Kaweka Forest Park

Location: 1¼ hr drive from Napier, Duration: 4–5 hours return

Travel along Puketitiri Road past the Puketitiri settlement and turn left on Whittle Road at the intersection with Pakaututu Rd, and then on Kaweka Rd to the Makahu Saddle Hut carpark.

A benched track leads from the carpark through scattered mountain beech to a steep shingle face. About 30 minutes from the carpark, a short climb leads to Makahu Spur. From here, a well-defined track climbs the shingle covered spur past Dominie Bivouac and on to the main Kaweka Range. The track turns south and an easy 5 minute walk leads to the trig on Kaweka J. This is the highest point in the Kaweka Forest Park (and in Hawke's Bay). All along the summit ridge there can be fine views of Hawke’s Bay, the mountains of Tongariro National Park and great expanses of the Kaimanawa and Kaweka Ranges.


Location: 1.5 hr drive from Napier

IMPORTANT NOTE: You must cross a FORD to access this area which can flood in times of heavy rain. Check with Napier i-SITE before you commence this walk or the sign on Puketitiri Road at the Apley Road turn off - 30 minutes from Napier.

Drive past Puketitiri settlement; follow the signs to the hot springs, along Pakaututu Road and Makahu Road. Mangatutu Hot springs are a short walk down from the road at the first exit. Mangatainoka Hot Springs are a further 3½ - 4 hour one way walk from 'The Gums' carpark at the road end.

This is a fantastic one day walk along the Mohaka River through beech forest past Te Puia Lodge with a welcome hot dip at the end. You can stay overnight at Te Puia Lodge, a serviced DOC Hut. Hut Tickets available to purchase from Napier i-SITE, and pick up a Heritage Trail brochure as well. From Te Puia Lodge you can also venture further into the Kaweka Ranges for multi day hikes.

Please note: Te Puia Lodge no longer has Gas facilities on site


Location: 1.5 hr drive from Napier

This is a lovely alternative route for people wishing to stay overnight in the Kaweka Forest Park. Take the same directions as for the hot springs above onto Makahu Road, but stop at the 'Makino Hut' car park at the top of the saddle 2 kms from the road end.

The track ascends through manuka scrub with good views over the Mohaka valley, and then through red beech past the Middle Hill turn off to Makino Hut (2 -3 hours from road end). You can either stay here the night (DOC 6 bunk standard hut) or carry on down the steep track to Te Puia Lodge (1.5 hours Makino – Te Puia Lodge). From there you can walk back along the Mohaka River to the Gums Carpark (3 – 3.5 hours) and then there is a 2 km walk along the road to meet up with your car.


Location: 1 hr drive inland from Napier, Duration: from ½ hour to 2 ½ hours

Take the Napier - Taihape Road from Fernhill, drive for about 1 hour (53 kms north-west of Hastings), and turn right at the “Blowhard Bush” sign onto Lawrence Rd to the carpark.

This 63 ha forest, owned by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society is a unique area where native forest grows amongst karst limestone creating unique rock formations and several caves. One of the caves, Patiki’s Cave, was home to a Māori family for many years in the 1800s. There are various walks in the reserve ranging from ½ hour to 2½ hours. Pick up a map with the different walks in Blowhard Bush from Napier i-SITE.


Location: 1 hr drive inland from Napier, Duration: 2 -3 hours

Same directions from Napier as for Blowhard Bush.

At the Lawrence road end, a swing bridge crosses the Tutaekuri River giving access to the track that leads to Lotkow Rd end. For day visitors there are two interesting options from here. Cross the bridge and follow the track, which sidles steeply at first, then gently uphill through kanuka forest. After about 45 minutes the Mackintosh Track turns off to the left and 5 minutes along this track is an open, rocky knoll, an excellent vantage point with views across the Mackintosh Plateau and up the Donald River to the peaks of the main Kaweka Range.

For an alternative route back from Lotkow Road to the Lawrence Shelter, follow the Mackintosh Track, which drops steeply off the ridge for 10 minutes and then descends steadily to the Donald River for 20 minutes.  Follow the Donald River downstream for an hour, to where it joins the Tutaekuri River, about 5 minutes upriver from the Lawrence swing bridge. The walk along the Donald River is unmarked, but access along mānuka terraces is not difficult.


Location: 1 hr drive inland from Napier Duration: 30 mins each way.

Same directions from Napier as for Blowhard Bush, but carry on along the main road for another 8 kms to Kuripapango Road, at the sign for the Lakes carpark.

The track to the lakes heads left from the carpark. It passes through kānuka and hardwood forest, and after 30 minutes, it branches left and descends to the Western lake. The lakes were formed many thousands of years ago as a result of the damming of 2 streams by debris from a massive slip off Mt Kuripapango. Although small, the lakes are of considerable ecological and botanical significance, for the large number of unique plant species and vegetation types in the immediate surrounds.


Location: 1 hr drive inland from Napier, Duration: 2-3 hours one way

Same directions as 'The Lakes' and park in the Lakes carpark.

Climb up the zig-zag track through kanuka forest to the main ridge for 2-3 hours to reach Mt Kuripapango (1250 metres). As you climb higher, there are spectacular views of the lakes and to the east of Hawkes Bay. Alpine flowers and tussock are scattered among the scree on top. From the top an alternative option, instead of returning to the Lakes carpark, is to descend the southern side of Mt Kuripapango, to Cameron Carpark on the Napier Taihape Road. A track to Kiwi Saddle Hut, and the southern end of the Kaweka Range, continues to the Northwest from the junction of Mt Kuripapango with the Lakes carpark track.


Distance: The distance by road between the carparks is 2.5 km. Duration: 5-6 hrs

Same directions as “The Lakes” and park in the Lakes carpark. At the right of the Lakes carpark, take the track that drops down through pine trees to reach the Tutaekuri River. Cross the river, then climb through kanuka then beech forest over several ridges. Follow a tributary stream until it reaches a track branch. Mackintosh Hut is on the track branching to the right, the left track provides access to the Kaweka Range. From Mackintosh Hut follow the track to the Mackintosh carpark.


Duration: 3-4 hrs

A return track from the Lakes carpark with river crossings through manuka and beech forest and open tops offering expansive views.


Duration: 2-3 hrs

Further along the Lakes carpark road stop at the Mackintosh carpark. The track drops down a steep but well graded track to the Tutaekuri River, climbs to the top of Mackintosh Plateau then continues on the flat through manuka and beech forest and through some open areas to the hut. The Tutaekuri River is crossed by a steel pedestrian bridge.

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