Tag Archives: Te Mata Park

Te Mata Park’s Big Redwoods Track

The Big Redwoods Track in Te Mata Park is 2.7km long and takes about an hour to walk. At the beginning it follows a similar route to the Karaka Wander. At the end it follows a route similar to Giant Circuit. In this post I haven’t included pics of a lot of things that are shared with tracks I’ve shown you in previous posts, but this track’s scenery is as epic as any in the park, and takes in both large redwood groves.

Limestone caves - Big Redwoods Track
Limestone caves

Te Mata Park’s mountain bike tracks really look like a lot of fun.

Mountain bike track and limestone cliffs
Mountain bike track and limestone cliffs

The Big Redwoods is a peaceful place with lots of space and lots of shade. A covered picnic area invites you to take a break, and stay for lunch.

Big Redwoods Grove
Big Redwoods Grove

These are the tallest and oldest redwoods in Te Mata Park.

The Big Redwoods
The Big Redwoods

There are the usual limestone cliffs, and other photogenic landscape.

Te Mata Park - Big Redwoods Track
Te Mata Park

Lemon-scented eucalyptus are beautiful trees and I’m glad I finally know them by name. These look like they’ve survived a fire.

Lemon-scented eucalyptus
Lemon-scented eucalyptus

Once the track joins with Giant Circuit it eventually passes one end of the other redwood grove, planted in 1974 by the Hastings Rotary Club.

Rotary Redwood grove
Rotary Redwood grove

I’ve returned often enough that every walk in Te Mata Park takes me to parts of the park that I’ve seen before, but they’re well worth revisiting. Every walk also shows me something new. This post doesn’t really do justice to Big Redwoods Track.

Limestone half-dome
Limestone half-dome

Near the end of Big Redwoods Track is that great lookout point over the Heretaunga Plains, worth posting again.

Lookout over the Heretaunga Plains
Lookout over the Heretaunga Plains

Please enjoy the full gallery of 8 pictures below.

My visits with redwood trees in Hawkes Bay made me nostalgic for the giant redwoods of California. The internet turned up this great page that contains some epic photos, the best of which I’m sharing with you below.

The President, 247 feet tall
The President, 247 feet tall
General Sherman, at 275 ft, a diameter of 25 ft, an estimated bole volume of 52,513 cu ft, and an estimated age of 2,300–2,700 years, is among the tallest, widest and longest-lived of all trees on the planet.
General Sherman, at 275 ft, a diameter of 25 ft, an estimated bole volume of 52,513 cu ft, and an estimated age of 2,300–2,700 years, is among the tallest, widest and longest-lived of all trees on the planet.
300 ft, 1,500 year old redwood
300 ft, 1,500 year old redwood

Te Mata Park’s Karaka Wander

Like all of the top 5 walking tracks in Te Mata Park, other than Giant Circuit, walking Karaka Wander in a clockwise direction is recommended. The track starts left of the signboard at the Main Gates Car Park. It is estimated to take 1 hour 15 minutes.

Near the start of Karaka Wander
Near the start of Karaka Wander

I would soon be amongst those great limestone cliffs. Glimpses appear early, but this trail starts in the bush.

Karaka Wander
Karaka Wander

This walk is named for a grove of ~200 year old karaka trees along the way. Unfortunately I don’t recognize that tree well enough to know when I passed through that grove.  I suspect it was early on.

Karaka Wander
Karaka Wander

Like the rest of Te Mata Park, this landscape looks best in panoramas.

Karaka Wander
Karaka Wander

A lot of the walk follows the same long valley, between the same two ridges.

Karaka Wander
Karaka Wander

The track emerges from the right side of the valley pictured below, and continues on the left side.  The track in the middle is for mountain bikes.  It looks like a lot of fun.

Karaka Wander
Karaka Wander

I crossed the road for a look at the now-familiar view over the Tukituki River from Saddle Lookout.

View from Saddle Lookout
View from Saddle Lookout

There aren’t many trees on this side of the valley, so there are lots of great views.

Karaka Wander
Karaka Wander

For me the highlight of this walk is the cliffs.

Karaka Wander
Karaka Wander
Karaka Wander
Karaka Wander

The last part of the track is back in the trees.  If I recall correctly, the track shown below is another mountain bike track.

Mountain bike track?
Mountain bike track?

These days it seems that there is always a painted rock.

Painted rock
Painted rock

Te Mata Park has a great landscape.  I’ve enjoyed every walk in the park so far.  Considering how easy it is to get there I predict that it won’t take long for me to do all of the named walks.  This park is also a big reminder that I need a mountain bike.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 17 pictures below.  To view on imgur click here.

Te Mata Park’s Giant Circuit

We both had the weekend off after arriving in southern Hawkes Bay, and it was a nice one.  We returned to Te Mata Park and walked the Giant Circuit.

We followed the park website‘s recommendation that we walk the Giant Circuit in a counter-clockwise direction, unlike all of the other signposted walks in the park.

Very near the car park there is a platform with a great view to the north and east toward Hastings and Napier and the bay.

Giant Circuit, near the Main Gates Car Park
Giant Circuit, near the Main Gates Car Park

Te Mata Park is very accessible.  It’s a large 99 hectare (about 245 acres) park with 5 well marked walks.  It has an epic landscape, with forests and cliffs and great views of southern Hawkes Bay.  The best views are from Te Mata Peak, the highest point in the park at 399 meters (about 436 yards)).  The landscape demands that I shoot lots of panoramas, both horizontal and vertical.

Redwood Grove, planted 1974, Giant Circuit
Redwood Grove, planted 1974, Giant Circuit

I knew that we’d pass a grove of giant redwoods, and I thought we’d arrived when we reached the grove shown above.  A plaque informed us that this grove was planted in 1974.  The Giant Redwoods grove was planted in the 1930s.  As I’ve come to realize, past residents of southern Hawkes Bay loved planting redwood trees.

Giant Circuit climbs steeply out of grove and valley to the top of the surrounding cliffs.

Giant Circuit
Giant Circuit

The track then follows the ridge along the western border of the park.

Giant Circuit
Giant Circuit

The redwoods in the Big Redwoods grove are a lot larger than the ones we saw earlier.  The grove itself is larger too. There’s a 3rd redwood planting somewhere in Te Mata Park.

Big Redwoods grove
Big Redwoods grove

The track continues through a beautiful valley below some picturesque cliffs. This valley extends along most of the southern end of Te Mata Park. On the left, in the pic below, is one end of the ‘Hogs Back’ ridge whose opposite end is Te Mata Peak. The Rongakako Trail follows the top of this ridge.

Giant Circuit
Giant Circuit

The cliffs of Te Mata Park are composed of erosion-resistant limestone. Originally deposited in horizontal layers on the seabed, they were “tilted and bowed upward by the geological forces of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. The features of Te Mata Park are a result of the earthquake fault which runs from Wellington in the south, through the Ruahine ranges to Hawke’s Bay”.

Te Mata Park's southern valley
Te Mata Park’s southern valley
Southern Te Mata Park
Southern Te Mata Park

At the end of the ridge above a view opens up of the farmland of the Tuki Tuki region south of the park.

Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Park
Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Park

The ‘Snakes & Ladders’ section of track is fairly new, and very steep.  It was already in shadow on this winter late afternoon.

Bottom of the ‘Snakes & Ladders’ section of track
Bottom of the ‘Snakes & Ladders’ section of track

We took it slow, and enjoyed the improving view as we climbed.

Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Park
Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Park

The pic below is a comfortable walk away from the Te Mata Peak car park, still looking over Tuki Tuki.

Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Peak
Tuki Tuki region from Te Mata Peak
Approaching Te Mata Peak
Approaching Te Mata Peak

There are many more pictures from the top of Te Mata Peak in my blog post on my first visit.

Looking southeast from Te Mata Peak
Looking southeast from Te Mata Peak

Walking the landscape between Te Mata Peak and the Saddle Lookout provides new angles on familiar landscapes.

Looking northeast toward the Tukituki River and Hawkes Bay
Looking northeast toward the Tukituki River and Hawkes Bay

This dog made me a bit nervous, coming up beside me as I stood near the edge shooting this panorama.  He ignored me, and took in the view before continuing on his way.

Looking northeast toward the Tukituki River and Hawkes Bay
Looking northeast toward the Tukituki River and Hawkes Bay

A last stretch of forest took us away from the road.

Last stretch of bush
Last stretch of bush

When we emerged from the trees everything was painting in the golden light of early evening.

Palms in golden light
Palms in golden light

From there it’s a short walk back to the Main Games Car Park.

Fall colors
Fall colors

Te Mata Park is an impressive place.  I look forward to exploring more of it.  I think I need to get a mountain bike so that I can explore the many trails dedicated to bikes.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 31 pictures below.  To view on imgur click here.

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