Bush walks and track adventures
Hakarimata Scenic Reserve
The Hakarimata Scenic Reserve near Ngaruawahia is a great place to see kauri and to enjoy a walk or tramp through native bush. The reserve protects 1,850 ha of native forest. The large kauri on the Kauri Loop Track is rare for this area. Take a challenges and tackle some 1500 steps to conquer the Hakarimata summit.
Kauri Loop Track
Drive 10km past the Hakarimata Stairs you'll find its less popular cousin, the Kauri Loop track. Both tracks link onto the Hakarimata walkway, which is about an eight hour tramp from start to finish. It's about 3km and takes about an hour to get to the upper lookout. Past the upper lookout, there's a track leading to the southern lookout. There are a dozen or so sets of stairs to walk up but it's not as hard-going as the Hakarimata summit and it is not as busy either.
The Blue Spring, Te Waihou Walkway
We're lucky enough to have one of nature's wonders in our backyard, the Blue Springs along the Waihou walkway. It's about 9.2km return but the walk is breeze, the views are magnificent and the water is freezing. The water is a striking blue and crystal clear. If you have a waterproof camera, take it with you. The Blue Spring walk takes about one and a half hours each way, starting from Whites Road (State Highway 28), near Putaruru. There is also a shorter walk, 15 minutes each way, to the Blue Spring, accessed from nearby Leslie Road.
Mt Pirongia Forest Park
The green slopes of Mt Pirongia can be found 25km south of Hamilton. With a range of easy to more challenging options, the Pirongia walks provide a rejuvenating experience amongst lush native forest and clear mountain streams. The Mangakara Nature Walk on Mt Pirongia is an enjoyable one hour circuit through native forest. Perfect for children, the easy track meanders through ancient forest past large rimu, kahikatea, tawa, pukatea and kohekohe trees and crosses over the Mangakara stream before looping back around.