Waihi Beach: Walks & Rides

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© Linda Radosinska

Explore The Beauty of Waihi Beach

Whether it's a stroll through the bustling village or something a little more adventurous, Waihi Beach will have something for you. 

For information on these walks & rides, or if you need a map, just pop into the Waihi Beach Info Centre in the village (opposite the Four Square) and our friendly team will help you out.

Walks

 

Waihi Beach & Surrounds 

Long Walks (45mins+)


Orokawa Bay 
With spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Waihi Beach, a walk to Orokawa Bay is an experience all visitors remember. Beautiful pohutukawa trees shelter a beach of sparkling white sand offering great fishing, a perfect picnic location, bush walking and surfing opportunities. Swimming in the surf is not advised due to the steep grade of the seafloor.

Orokawa Bay is part of a designated scenic reserve and comprises 145 hectares of native bush, including kauri and nikau.

Access to Orokawa Bay is by an easy track at the northern end of Waihi Beach, past Oukori Bay then down to Orokawa Bay. Walkers should allow 45 minutes (one way) to reach this secluded beach.

Homunga Bay
As with Orokawa Bay, Homunga Bay is notable for dense pohutukawa forest, beauty and seclusion.

It can be reached by a track from the northern end of Orokawa Bay. This track is well-developed and maintained providing spectacular views and interesting terrain. Caution, good footwear, water and a daypack are essential.

Another option for this walk is to start at Ngatitiangata Road (above Homunga Bay) and walk down the hills down to the coast, via Orokawa Bay to exit at Waihi Beach. If you decide to start and return at Ngatitiangata Road, please be aware the path is a long, steep climb. Walkers should allow 3 hours from Waihi Beach to Homunga Bay, 1.5 hours from Orokawa Bay to Homunga Bay or 45-60 minutes between Homunga Bay and Ngatitangata Road.

William Wright Falls
The bush track to the William Wright Falls experienced significant damage in 2013 and is now classed as a ‘tramping path’, with signage. Located approximately 1.5kms into the bush, the falls spill over a sheer rock face some 28m above the pool, dropping in two stages to the valley floor, framed by an almost vertical forested hillside. Accessible from the northern end of Orokawa beach, the journey up and along the streambed is best suited to the experienced hiker and will take at least 1 hour from Orokawa Bay.

 

Waitawheta Walks

Waitawheta Tramway
Follow an old tramline (1898 - 1928) on a relatively flat track through the spectacular historic Waitawheta Gorge. Extensive kauri logging took place in the early mining days and visitors will see remnants of this past activity. The tramway is relatively flat and wide. After about an hour and a half the track crosses a large suspension bridge to the site of a replica-logging bogie (a tram cart that carried the massive logs). This is a great spot for lunch and to spend time taking photographs.

A short loop track near to the logging bogie offers a detour to the site of an electricity pylon dating from around the year 1900. To complete a shorter, easier trip, return from the logging bogie back down the tramway to the car park.

Alternatively, continue south along the tramline through the spectacular meandering Waitawheta Gorge. The main track requires one river crossing but there is a bypass track that requires just a few small side stream crossings. The main track then leaves the river and goes through a campsite before reaching the toilet bowl waterfall, the Waitawheta Hut, and the site of the old logging mill. Return via the same track, or spend the night to explore more of the park. Walking times for the full trail are 8 hours (return) or 3-4 hours one way.

Access to the Waitawheta Valley is from a small car park at the end of Franklin Road, off Waitawheta Rd, near SH2 at Waikino in the Karangahake Gorge. From the end of Franklin Road follow alongside the Waitawheta River through private farmland before entering the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park.

 

Karangahake Gorge Walks

The Rail Tunnel Loop
A 1.5-hour loop walk takes you through the kilometre-long rail tunnel (lighting is provided, but a torch is recommended), along the gorgeous river’s edge and through the remains of 19th century mine buildings. This is a great loop, suitable for the family or for anyone wanting to do something a little different. There are numerous places where you can enter the loop - Waikino Station (you will need to cross the road so please do so with care), Karangahake Hall or Karangahake Reserve Carpark. Please note that sections of this track are also used by cyclists so please share with care.

The Windows Walk
Opened in 2006 The Windows Walk is easily one of the most spectacular walks in the North Island. Windows blasted through the gold mining tunnels providing provide stunning a bird’s eye views into the Waitewheta River. While it could be walked in 30 minutes, visitors should allow a couple of hours to fully explore and experience everything the extended loop walk has to offer.

You can take a recommended side-trip to the remains of the underground Woodstock Pumphouse. Remains of the beam engine and other machinery can be seen inside, as well as the rafters supporting the ceiling. Glow-worms are also visible. A good torch is essential for viewing this unique piece of mining heritage. 

 

Waihi Walks

Martha Mine Pit Rim Walkway
A loop around the mine pit, with views and a wide gravel path. Enter the walk at the waterhouse on Seddon St, opposite the Waihi i-Site. 

Gilmour Lake, Black Hill & Mill Stream Walkway
Starting at Gilmour Lake on Gilmour St, Waihi, take a peaceful walk upstream along the replanted banks of the Ohinemuri River. A track leads walkers from the riverbank up to the summit of Black Hill. At the top, enjoy extensive views of Waihi, and the Waihi basin. Not far from Gilmour Lake a fork in the track follows Mill Stream around the base of Union Hill, a historic mining area. The track exits at Morgan Park.
 

Waihi Beach Short Walks

Bowentown Headland Walks

Anzac Bay to Shelly Bay – 30 mins one way
At the northern end of Anzac Bay a wide grassy track leads westward up to an area where several tracks meet. Straight ahead leads to Shelly Bay, a stunning sheltered and safe swimming spot. A left turn takes you to a popular fishing area and a right turn leads to the summit.

Anzac Bay (top carpark) to Te Ho pa site or Cave Bay – 45 minutes return
From the top carpark you can walk up to the site of Te Ho pa site for spectacular views over the Waihi Beach area or take a steep path down to Cave Bay, a popular fishing spot overlooking the Bowentown entrance. Here a track also leads to the trig station at the top-most point of the headland.
 

Athenree Walks

The Wetlands Walk – 20 mins return
A loop walk through the beautiful Athenree wetlands. Teeming with wildlife this walk is a lovely gentle adventure. Accessible from the Emmerton-Steele Rd entry point, 100m just past the Waiau River Bridge.
 

Athenree Reserve Walk – 30 mins
Around the edge of Athenree is a wide grassy reserve that winds its way around the coastline. Lined with mature pohutukawa trees, the Athenree Reserve Walk is an easy but charming place to explore. Accessible from the children’s playground near the Athenree Hot Pools, walk northward and continue to follow the coastline. Another entry point is via the Dr North Memorial Reserve on Pohutukawa Drive.

Cycling

Waihi Beach & Surrounds Biking

Waihi Beach is the perfect place to explore on bicycle with low tide offering an expanse of beach and cycleways linking Waihi Beach to Bowentown, there is plenty to enjoy along the way. With parks and picnic stops as well as plenty of scenic photo views of Mayor Island, the village, and the view from Anzac Bay, a cruisy bike ride adventure is one to put on the to-do list at Waihi Beach.

Waihi Beach to Waihi
Connecting trails between Waihi Beach and Waihi are currently under discussion/negotiation. More details to come.

The Rail Tunnel Loop - Karangahake Gorge
A 2.5km loop takes you through the kilometre-long rail tunnel (lighting is provided) along the gorgeous river’s edge and through the remains of 19th century mine buildings. More information can be found here about Karangahake Gorge biking. Please note that sections of this track are also used by walkers so please share with care.

Blackhill Mountain Bike Trails - Waihi
Only a 10 minute drive from Waihi Beach village, Blackhill is an easy option for a fun ride. Two trails available. The start of the trails is located at the end of Domain Road, Waihi. Tuesday nights are the local mountain bike club night, all welcome. www.virtuallyontrack.co.nz

Waihi Mine Pit Rim Trail - Waihi
An easy 4km trail around the pit and surrounding area. Go for a ride and see into Waihi's mining history. Enter the trail across the road from the Waihi i-Site on Seddon Street. The Pit Rim

Hauraki Rail Trail - Waihi, Paeroa, Thames, Te Aroha
The Rail Trail has a selection of rides and there are even shuttles and other services available for you if you decide to extend your adventure past a day trail. www.haurakirailtrail.co.nz

Summerhill Trails - Tauranga
20kms of trails with views over Tauranga and the Mount. Most trails are Grade 3. Located in the Papamoa Hills on Reid Road (off Welcome Bay Road). www.summerhilltrails.co.nz

Oropi Grove Mountain Bike Park - Tauranga
Tauranga's oldest mountain bike park. Includes cross-country, downhill and freeride terrain featuring a variety of purpose-built jumps and drops. Grade 2 and upwards. Located 3kms up Oropi Road from the SH29 roundabout. www.mtbtauranga.co.nz/

Redwoods Mountain Bike Park - Rotorua
Only 1.5 hours drive from Waihi Beach, Rotorua is the place to go for mountain biking. Take a break from beachside relaxing and head over to Rotorua for a day of good fun, with trails to suit all levels and a shuttle service for maximum enjoyment. http://www.riderotorua.com

FourFourty Mountain Bike Park - Orere Point
Also only 1.5 hours drive from Waihi Beach, Fourfourty is another one of New Zealand's great mountain bike destinations. Located at Orere Point, on the way north past Thames. www.fourfortymtbpark.co.nz

The New Zealand Cycle Trail - NZ wide
With over 2500km available, the NZ Cycle Trail is well worth exploring. With trails to suit all levels, biking is a great way to have fun. www.nzcycletrail.com