Maraetotara Falls Heritage Walk is a short but scenic drive from Hastings. Most of the way it’s the same route as to Ocean Beach. This beautiful day saw lots of paragliders circling peaks reminiscent of Te Mata Peak.
Maraetotara Road widens to provide ample parking. There are at least two different entrances to the walkway. Above is the second when approaching from Waimarama Road.
From the entrance I descended to the river. A path follows the river in both directions. There is no indication of the way to the falls, so I headed east.
I’ve read that I could walk about an hour on the tracks around the falls. There wasn’t so much daylight left on a winter’s day, and the river is in a gully, so after walking some distance to the east, I decided that the falls was in the other direction, and turned back to the west.
The smaller falls are the first you see. These flow over pipes that I believe used to carry water to the power plant.
From what I’ve read I can’t quite tell whether the falls themselves were actually created to power the plant. It is clear that people enjoy swimming in the pool in the summer.
It’s a beautiful setting, a great place for a swim, and a good place for a short walk.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 10 pictures below.
Piwakawaka Loop is a 1.3km walk of about 40 minutes through Te Mata Park. It starts the same as 4 of the Top 5 Walking Tracks in Te Mata Park, in a clockwise direction from the Main Gates Car Park.
Soon the track ducks into a leafy tunnel. Green markers show the way.
I was surprised by a grove of redwoods that continues for some time. I’d only seen the other end of it previously, and never entered far into it. This is not the Big Redwoods Grove, but it is pretty big.
This grove was planted in 1974 by the Hastings Rotary Club with trees propagated by Don Wilson Nurseryman of Hastings using seeds imported from California. Redwoods seem to do well in New Zealand, and past residents of Hawkes Bay seem to have loved them.
This short loop track was given the Maori name for the fantails seen along the way. These curious little birds like to come up and say hello.
Lemon-scented eucalyptus are striking trees that always stand out from their surroundings. The essential oil of the tree is about 80% citronellal. Unrefined oil is used in perfume, and a refined form is used in insect repellents, especially against mosquitoes.
The last part of the loop passes through the same landscapes as the beginning of Giant Circuit, and the end of some of the other walks in Te Mata Park.
Familiar sights include the view from the lookout near the Main Gates Car Park.
As I walk the tracks in Te Mata Park I get to know the park better as a whole while appreciating different areas and features. It’s nice to have a short walk like Piwakawaka Loop available, and its character makes it a unique Te Mata Park experience.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 8 pictures below.
Pakowhai Regional Park is referred to as a country-style park. It is located near Hastings on either side of Raupare Stream. Ngaruroro River flows along its northern border. There are about 2km of easy walking tracks, open grassy areas, and a lot of interesting trees.
The park was built in the bed where Ngaruroro River once flowed. The river was moved in 1969 as part of a flood control plan. Flood control features are easily recognized, such as the high banks. In places willow trees were planted to reinforce the banks.
From the car park the tracks follows Raupare Stream at varying distances.
Soon you have to cross Raupare Stream in order to continue west.
The park continues some distance to the west. A track along the river continues much further. I turned east instead. In the picture below you can see the Ngaruroro River and a track along the top of a stop bank.
The park ends at the Pakowhai Road bridge over the Ngaruroro River. I was drawn to the graffiti and burned out car beneath the bridge.
The track continues a great distance to the east as well. I have a half-baked plan to follow this path to the pacific coast, and then to Napier.
This park is known to locals as The Dog Park, and it’s obvious that dog walking is a very popular use for the park.
In the picture below you can see the long narrow island in the middle of Raupare Stream. There are bridges to the island and a track along much of its length.
Pakowhai Regional Park is a good place for a picnic or a short walk, especially if you have a dog.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 18 pictures below.
Cornwall Park is a pleasant 8 hectare park in Hastings with a variety of attractive features. The city’s oldest park has a wide array of beautiful plant life, big old trees, playgrounds, cricket grounds, an aviary and a Chinese garden.
Osmanthus Gardens was established in 1996 to commemorate 15 years of Hastings’ sister city relationship with Guilin in China.
The gardens feature an array of plants from the Osmanthus plant family, bamboo, and other Chinese and New Zealand plants.
The gardens are lit with Chinese lanterns every year in April in celebration of the sister city relationship. Auckland’s Lantern Festival has long been a favorite of mine, and I look forward to seeing Hastings’ version.
The John Holt Memorial Display House is a small heated glass house that keeps its plants flowering throughout the winter.
The southwestern end of the park contains the Chinese Gardens, display house, and many of the big old trees, such as the sequoia tree in the picture below.
Past residents of southern Hawkes Bay planted a lot of redwood and sequoia trees. I’ve seen a plaque just like the one pictured below in another Hastings park. For some reason it identifies (describes?) the tree as a “Californian Big Tree”.
There are always a lot of people enjoying the duck pond.
The aviary has shaded by thick vines growing over an arbor.
This was the friendliest bird by far. He climbed around the wire mesh with claws and beak to be as close as possible, making noise the whole time. I’m not sure what kind of bird he is, maybe a kind of cockatoo. None of the birds would speak, not even the sulfur-crested cockatoo .
The rainbow lorikeet were curious.
There is a wide variety of colorful birds here.
I still enjoy a good painted rock. The local kids seem to as well.
Cornwall Park is a nice little city park, with more to see than I expected. I’ve been back several times and will be again.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 21 pictures below. To view on imgur click here.
Te Mata Park is a 99 hectare recreational reserve with a variety of hiking and mountain biking tracks, a fair number of which seem to converge on the peak. Other trails lead through forest and along limestone valleys.
The landscape of the park itself is the most beautiful part of the view in every direction.
Many centuries ago the people living in pa (fortified villages) on the Heretaunga Plains were under constant threat of war from the coastal tribes of Waimarama. At a gathering in Pakipaki (near Hastings), a wise old woman (kuia) suggested that the leader of the Waimarama tribes, a giant named Te Mata, could be made to fall in love with Hinerakau – the daughter of a Pakipaki chief – and turn his thoughts from war to peace. This mission was quickly accomplished, and Te Mata fell under the spell of the beautifully Hinerakau.
However the people of Heretaunga had not forgotten the past and wanted revenge. They demanded that Hinerakau make Te Mata prove his devotion by accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks. His last task was to bite through the hills between the coast and the plains, so that people could come and go with greater ease.
Te Mata died while eating his way through the hills. His half-accomplished work can be seen in what is known as The Gap or Pari Karangaranga (echoing cliffs) and his prostrate body forms Te Mata Peak.
Te Mata Peak is a place that must be visited when in the Hawkes Bay Area. I’ll return for the views, and also to explore the trails.
You can view the full gallery of 16 pictures below. Be sure to check out the panoramas! To view on imgur click here. The gallery below uses the Photo Gallery plugin, and offers a nice slideshow feature. Let me know how you like it!
I had only spent a short time in Hawkes Bay about ten years ago, and I had never been to Lake Tutira. On a sunny Saturday we headed south and west for Hastings, about a 5.5 hour drive from Auckland, spending a few hours in Rotorua looking at the usual steaming geothermals and lake scenery. In the mountains further to the southwest it began to rain hard, and continued through the early evening, clearing by the next morning. The weather was good for the next ten days.
A couple of days after arriving, on the last day of October, I needed to take advantage of an expiring AA fuel discount, so it was prime time for an outing that would empty my tank. We headed north from Hastings toward Napier.
We enjoyed the views of Hawkes Bay, but kept driving. We stopped on the way back for the pictures above and below.
The highway turns away from the coast, and climbs into the mountains. Lake Tutira looked like a nice place to stop.
Near the carpark atop a small hill is a small shelter in a Maori style.
On the other side of the road in is the smaller Lake Waikopiro.
Can you identify this bird? I’m going with: Grey Heron.
The many ducks in Lake Tutira gave every impression of expecting food.
The black swan population didn’t seem to fear us, but they didn’t come as close as the ducks.
Various tracks offer walks into the surrounding hills and mountains.
But we stuck to easier tracks, with nice views of the high ground.
On the west side of the lake, past the campgrounds, we saw a flock of wild turkeys, and heard them gobble excitedly when a ‘Kahu’, or New Zealand hawk flew overhead. We also frightened some large wild hares.
After a rest on the pa, we went back the way we had come.
Lake Tutira and the surrounding area are beautiful. I’ll visit again when I’m next in Hawkes Bay, and walk the whole 5 hour Tutira Walkway. Signs around the lake suggest that there are more tracks than are mentioned on this DOC page.
You can view the full gallery of 19 pictures here. To view on imgur, click here.
Steppin' the miles, enjoying the view, bringing it all to you.