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Eastern Okataina Walkway to Tarawera Falls, Bay of Plenty

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Eastern Okataina Walkway to Tarawera FallsBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Mike Tennent

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Trail Information





Bay of Plenty


Front country - easily accessible

Point to Point (one way)

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Plantation/exotic forest

Beginner - Intermediate

5:00 (Slow)
3:45 (Moderate)
2:45 (Fast)



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Pretty simple for the most part, once you have found the start of the trail then away you go. Early on there is a short trail to the right to the Maori Pa site and to the lakefront, this is not on the route but well worth the extra time if you have it. After that stick to the main trail. There is the occasional minor trail off to the right to the lake front but it is pretty obvious where you are going for the first 10km to Humphries Bay.

On reaching Humphries Bay, which is just over the saddle from Lake Okataina to Lake Tarawera, you have to start taking a bit more care with the trail. There are the usual orange triangles although occasionally you may need to take a second to spot the next one. Largely you run next to Lake Tarawera other than one largish climb inland and then back down to the lake. At about 17 to 18km you will reach firstly the wharf and then the footbridge over to the Outlet Campground. Unless you want to explore, you should carry on straight and follow the signs and trail to Tarawera Falls.

After about another 4 to 5km you will come to a trail split, take the right hand route to the Cascades and prepare for the slowest part of the day... not because of the trail difficulty, but the amazing whitewater through here will have you entranced... and there is so much of it... culminating in the Tarawera Falls themselves. After the Falls another 1.5km and you will pop out into the carpark where hopefully your ride home awaits.

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Features of interest

The amazing Tarawera Falls where the Tarawera River goes underground and then erupts from the side of a cliff. On top of that there are 2 lakes, lots of birdlife, an old Pa site and some of the best trail you can get.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 2%

Technical Single Track: 30%

Moderate Single Track: 38%

Easy Single Track: 30%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 0%

Gravel Road: 0%

Sealed Road: 0%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each


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  • Access

    On the road between Rotorua and Whakatane via Lake Rotoiti. Watch out for the Lake Okataina signs just afetr you reach Lake Rotoiti. Turn right and follow the road to the lakefront (do not turn right to the Education Centre). At the lake turn into the carpark to the left of the boat ramp and you will see the start of the trail.

    Quite a lot of parking available. 

    37 km

    36 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Between Humphries Bay and the outlet there are a couple of patches where the trail is not really defined at all, just lots of tree roots and/or leaves. Take your time and look for that next orange marker.


    Waterproof leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.

    Mostly you have bloody big lakes next to you, although occasionally you can't get to them.

    Pretty good all year round

    The technical parts are largely rocks and tree roots, very easy to slip or roll an ankle.

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