Last updated 7th September, 2020
Tahuna, Bethlehem. Gold coin donation.
Turn right just before the passing lanes, well sign posted. Toilet available.
Old quarry converted into a park. Lots of interesting plants and sculptures, quirky musical instruments etc.
Description. A large network of walking paths, too many to list. Grab a map and explore, you’ll need half a day at least.
Large, hilly, park with a nice lake behind the dam. Lots of water birds, tuis etc. Café. Many toilets available, and lots of picnic and camping areas, even one with hot showers. (NOTE: There is a charge for camping) Worth visiting in Autumn for the spectacular colours.
Off Hamilton road about a km up the passing lanes on the left, well sign posted.
From Wairoa bridge, head up river - long winding, hilly road that joins the Hamilton road at the bottom of the passing lanes.
Or - turn right at the second roundabout past Bethlehem shops into Moffat Rd. Then right onto the Hamilton Road.
From the signposted turnoff, follow the side road, cross two bridges, then right just after the second bridge.
Description. Flat walks beside the lake or more hilly ones everywhere else. Nice short, bush walk up to a waterfall after passing the cafe.
Papamoa Hills Farm Park
Turn right off the Te Puke (or H’way 2) road about 2kms past the Welcome Bay road turnoff into Poplar Lane. Well sign posted. Then turn right just before the quarry gates. Toilet available in the car park. An alternative, easier access is from Summerhill - see below.
From the car park it is a fair climb to the trig, but there are spectacular views from the top.
About half way up the track at a view point you can cross a stile (check the nice patterns on this and all the other stiles) and walk around through the farm and loop up to the top. There is a long (take the road down the hill) and a short (go along the level formed road) way to do this.
There are many old Pa sites and everything is well signposted with information panels and maps.
Summerhill Farm Park
Take Reid road, which is on the left off Welcome Bay Rd about 3kms past the turnoff from H’way 2.
Entrance to the Summerhill car park is on the left by a cattle yard about 3kms up this narrow, windy road. This is primarily a mountain bike park, but some parts are open to walkers. Toilet available. A gold coin donation is requested at the gatehouse that leads onto the farm.
Description Head slightly left and follow the ridge. The Papamoa Trig is about 2kms or 30 minutes easy walking from the car park along this slightly undulating ridge, with a short but not steep climb to the trig. Use the stiles where available and leave gates as you find them.
There is a walking track within the MTB area, but due to poor signage and the many MTB trails, this is easy to stray from. Probably best avoided on weekends and public holidays.
Looking Glass Gardens (NOTE: Sadly, these gardens are now closed to the public)
Te Puke. $5 entry, cash only. Open from 10am – 4pm daily
Turn right into Manoeka Rd just short of Te Puke. Turn right again into Te Puke Quarry Rd, and the gardens are about 3-4 kms up the hill on the right. Last ½ km is on gravel road. Car park (small) is on the right on the outside of a LH corner. It is signposted but look for it after the gravel starts, it is easy to miss.
Description Be warned, this is a hillside garden and the car park is at the highest point. The many winding paths are generally not steep, except for the dreaded ‘Stairway to Heaven’ which is safer to go up if wet. This path is optional. Easier access to the top can be had by walking past the houses and up the road to the grassy ridge top. There are great views from here.
Themed on Alice in Wonderland and other children’s books (look for the Big Bad Wolf silhouette on a ridge top).
This is an extensive garden of deciduous trees and other plants with a multitude of paths, and there are lots of quirky signs, sculptures and many large dolls houses almost big enough to enter.
Either continue on up Quarry Rd from the Looking Glass Gardens, turn left into Kaiate Falls Rd and the falls will be about a km on the right. Well sign posted. Toilet available.
Or - from Welcome Bay Rd, turn into Waitao Rd, then left in Kaiate Falls Rd about 5kms up the hill. The Falls car park is on the left up a short side road just after a narrow bridge. It would be wise to leave someone with the car as this car park is prone to vehicle breakins.
Description The loop walk down to the falls and back is not long, but is steep in places. The falls are spectacular, especially after a wet spell, but are worth seeing even in dry conditions. There are several paths down, and it can be a bit muddy in places when wet.
Tauranga City Parks
Off Fraser St, Tauranga South, in an area called Parkvale and south of the Merivale shops.
Open 8am - 8pm Spring and Summer during daylight saving hours and 8am - 5pm in Autumn and Winter. Toilet by the car park. Car park could be full on fine weekends or in holidays.
Yatton Park’s unique collection of exotic and native tree species is both a city and nationally significant Arboretum. Since many of the Yatton Park trees were planted around the same time in the same area, they have competed against each other for height rather than growing outwards, so many of the trees are among the tallest of their species in the country. They were planted around 1866.
Description (medium to high tide is best time)
From car park walk through the park to the Loop Track, go down to the estuary then head north to Esk path, which will be on your left. Go up that to Fraser St, turn right then right again into Hampton Tce and continue to Lloyd St (via a connecting walkway). Turn right on Fraser St then right onto the estuary track. Head south to the Yatton Park (LH) loop track, go up that to the park and then left again on to the lower track through the bush that leads to the car park. Should take about an hour.
About a 10 min drive from Yatton park - continue south along Fraser on to Oropi Rd, past Greerton Park to the State H’way, left at roundabout, right after about 1km into Poike Rd then right at Ohauiti Rd.
Off Ohauiti Rd – turn right into Mcfretridge Lane. Limited parking at the track entrances.
Loop walk up the small valley of about 30 – 40 minutes at a slow pace. Mix of gravel, grass and mud if wet.
Waipuna Park/Johnson Reserve
From Welcome Bay Rd, turn into Kaitemoko Rd. The large car park is on the left, but it could be full on weekends if there’s sports on. Main walking tracks are in Johnson Reserve.
Description Approx 1hr. return.
From the main car park, the track down into the valley starts from beside the map board behind the car park. A short way down a side track leads right up the RH side of the valley, apparently to open grass areas at the north end of the park
Continue down to the next junction, take the left option down the valley floor to join a road formation on the other side of the valley. There are several sets of steps and some boardwalks on this section, and also a couple of side tracks leading back up to the Waipuna Park. At the T intersection, turn left and walk down valley to Welcome Bay Rd.
Return same way, but continue up the left side (true right) of the valley to a loop track around a nice wee waterfall at the top end of the valley. Return same way then cross over the stream to climb back up to the car park.