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Turangi Walks & Tokaanu Village
Tokaanu, Pukawa & Western Bays Tracks
There are many Turangi walks some at Tokaanu Village and Pukawa (SH41), the areas of earliest Maori and European settlement in the region. Tokaanu Village and the Tokaanu Thermal Pools are worthy of a few hours exploration, and the views from the lookout above Waihi Village are impressive.
In the Western Bays Pukawa (15 min drive) and Te Hapua Bay have good swimming in summer. Closer to Taupo the redeveloped Waihaha Track (SH32 – 40 minutes drive) is part of the impressive mountain biking tracks of the western bays. Some of these can also be walked and different points accessed by water taxi.
Turangi, Kaimanawa Forest Park and toward Taupo
Right in Turangi the Tongariro River Trails are another popular option and south down the Desert Rd (SH1) there are more options in the Kaimanawa Forest Park. There are also some walks between Turangi and Taupo which often have great views over the Lake and south towards the Tongariro National Park.
The Tokaanu Thermal Pools are natural thermal hot springs and pools offering private non chlorinated (hotter) and more temperate public bathing. The Tokaanu Thermal Walk (10 minutes) is adjacent to the hot springs, where you can see bubbling mud and natural mineral pools.
Tokaanu Village is a great spot for taking a short walk and soaking up the history of the town and its surrounds. Maybe include the old Tokaanu Wharf or while in the area have lunch at Lakeland House on the waterfront next to Waihi Village.
One of the most spectacular local phenomena is the nearby Waihi Steaming Cliffs. A series of fumaroles in the cliff above the village are responsible for the release of steam creating an otherworldly scene, especially early in the morning when the steam rises from the land as first light dawns.
Combining one or all of these activities and hiring a bike for the flat 5km ride from Turangi via the rural Hirangi Rd, makes for a good half or full day trip.
Pukawa Walks & Swimming Beach
Pukawa is a peaceful native bush shrouded holiday village, reached by turning off from just past the roadside lookout at the top of the Waihi Cliffs (SH41). The area is especially notable for the work of the Pukawa Wildlife Management Trust and the Omori-Kurutau Pest Management Group, in trapping predators and restoring the native bird population. Pukawa beach is fine white sand and s good swimming spot in summer, for access turn right just past the Pukawa Marae.
Pukawa to Omori Track
Time: 1 hr 20 min (return)
Drive: 15 minutes drive west of Turangi – signposted to the right off SH 41
Begin: Kaiuru Avenue in Pukawa Village
Initially the track follows the lake edge where Bellbird and Tui are often seen before continuing to Omori Reserve, where on the lake edge; there is a picnic area, toilet and small beach. In spring the kowhai trees are a feature and attract prolific numbers of native birds. The trail ends at the Omori Boat Ramp after crossing the Omori Stream, where in winter spawning trout may be seen.
Pukawa Bush Walk
Time: 45 min loop track
Begins: Hauraki Terrace (off Pukawa Road), return using Rereao Lane
The route climbs through Pukawa Bush above the village to a lookout with views over the village and lake. The lush podocarp forest contains large rimu, matai and totara trees. Birdlife is a feature of this area and in particular, the Bellbird and Tui which frequent this area.
Upper Pukawa Walk
Begin: Hauraki Terrace (off Pukawa Road)
This track aims to provide a safe alternative for people walking the Pukawa to Omori loop and avoids having to walk down the main Pukawa Road. Turn onto Rereao Lane and follow the Taupo District Council signs along the water tank road. At the top veer to your left and follow the track through the bush to the top of the Pukawa road and SH41.
Lake Kuratau Powerhouse & Waterfall
Time: 30 minutes return
Begins: 20 minutes easy drive time west from Turangi
Take SH 41 west past Tokaanu and Omori, pausing to enjoy the view from the roadside at the top of the Waihi Cliffs over Lake Taupo and the Tongariro River Delta. After the Pukawa and Omori Village turn offs take the Western Bay Road (SH32) and then after about 1 km turn right into the Whareroa Road along the side of Lake Kuratau. Walk from the car park down the lake outlet to a pleasant grassy area next to the waterfall.
Begins: SH30 Waihaha River carpark
The Waihaha track is on the southern side of the Waihaha River and finishes at the end of Waihaha Bay Rd on the northern side of the river where it joins with the coastal tracks of the Great Lake Trail. These tracks can also be walked and are covered in the mountain biking section of this site.
Te Hapua Bay
Time: 45 minutes (one way)
Begins: Karangahape Road, off SH32
The trail follows a polled route over farmland before descending through native bush to the extremely beautiful Te Hapua Bay, which is a fantastic place for picnics and swimming in summer.
Whareroa Village Beach & Lakeside Reserve
Begins: Whareroa Reserve on the lakefront, Whareroa Rd, off SH30
To the right as you face Lake Taupo is the Rangitukua Scenic Reserve and a long beach, where in the spring masses of native Tui birds feed on the flowering Kowhai tree. With the towering cliffs behind this makes a good spot for a picnic.
Explore the Tongariro...
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