Nga Tapuwae o Toi

Whakatane River Walk

Whakatane Heritage Trail

Puketapu Lookout and Papaka Redoubt

Lathams Hill Track

Image by


  • whakatane Walking Trails

Nga Tapuwae o Toi
Translated as ‘the footprints of Toi' the 16 kilometres of walkways on the outskirts of Whakatane are accessible to most people, regardless of fitness, because they can be walked in sections or as one round trip.
Nga Tapuwae o Toi visits three major scenic reserves and a historic reserve. The walkway passes through native and exotic forest, and along coastline and riverbank.
In Ngati Awa oral tradition Toi was a great chief, descendant of the legendary voyager Tiwakawaka and founder of a great tribe. The walkway visits Toi stronghold Kapu-te-rangi overlooking Whakatane.
The walkway crosses Kohi Point Scenic Reserve, Ohope Beach, travels through the Ohope Scenic Reserve pohutukawa forest, across remnants of native forest to the regenerating flora of Mokorua Bush Scenic Reserve.

Whakatane River Walk
Bordered by the Whakatane River on one side and bush-clad cliffs on the other, Whakatane's commercial centre must have one of the most scenic settings any town could wish for. The major historic and scenic features of the town are included in this interesting and easy walk, which follows the river to the Whakatane Heads where the river meets the sea.
The walk starts at Landing Road and follows the southern bank of the river to the Whakatane gardens, the Skate Park and Ocean Playground. The Whakatane Wharf was once a busy coastal shipping cargo and passenger port. The wharf and estuary are now homes to many commercial and recreational fishing boats, the Whakatane Sports Fishing club and restaurants.
The riverbank path leads downstream through the Mataatua Reserve. This reclaimed land covers the original landing place of the Mataatua waka and includes a shelter, which houses a replica of the Mataatua waka.
Further on is the big game fishing weigh station and launching ramp, often a hive of activity as the waters offshore are renowned for tuna, billfish and shark fishing. Past the playground is "The Heads" where the Whakatane River rushes into the sea through a narrow gap studded by rocks. Across the river, a bronze statue of Wairaka stands atop the largest rock. This commemorates her courageous defiance of tradition which not only saved the Mataatua waka but gave the town and district its name.
Returning towards the town centre along the road, is Muriwai's cave. Muriwai was an aunt of Wairaka and lived in the cave in the latter part of her life. A famed priestess, her advice was much sought after.

Whakatane Heritage Trail
Take a scenic and informative walks around important historic sites, many of which are located in central Whakatane.  Each site has a plaque detailing the history and significance to the area. Duration: Up to 2 Hours

Puketapu Lookout and Papaka Redoubt
Access to both these tracks is at the intersection of Seaview and Hillcrest Roads directly above the town centre.  The Puketapu Lookout was once an ancient Maori fortification and it now provides superb views of the town, river, sea and offshore islands and the Rangitaiki Plains.  The Papaka Redoubt is also the site of an ancient Maori fortification.  Here the Armed Constabulary built a stronghold to protect the town after it had been raided by Te Kooti in 1869. Duration: 30 minutes - Difficulty: Easy

Latham's Hill Track
This track begins at the Latham property 17 kms south of Whakatane on State Highway 30. There is a small car park available.  The walk starts with a relatively gentle climb over rolling farmland which leads up to native bush and a trig station where you can enjoy superb views over the Rangitaiki Plains.  The track ends here, however an unauthorised route descends to the Awakeri Hot Springs complex. Duration: 1.5 - 2 Hours - Difficulty: Moderate

White Pine Bush
Located on White Pine Bush Road, 20km south of Whakatane is a remnant of a superb Kahikatea (white pine) forest, which include a wide variety of native trees and birds.  This 4.5 hectare reserve includes a wheelchair walkway into the heart of the reserve and a school nature trail. Duration: 30 minutes - Difficulty: Easy. Designed specifically for wheelchairs

Discover our walking tracks with a local tramping guide.