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Te Waiti Track, Bay of Plenty

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Te Waiti TrackBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by jim robinson

Info Info
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Trail Information





Bay of Plenty


Back country - remote

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush

Beginner - Intermediate

2:00 (Slow)
1:30 (Moderate)
1:00 (Fast)



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Te Waiti is the next valley system over from the Pakihi. Whereas the Pakihi Track has been brought up to Great Ride cycling standard, Te Waiti is still less polished. Much of it is a good wide track, but there are sections that are pretty narrow, or you drop down to cross small, rocky creeks. Awesome running!
Te Waiti track is all in bush. You're following the river valley, above the true left bank. Sometimes you rise about 50 vertical metres above the stream, there's nothing too strenuous but it is not flat. The drop to the river is steep.
After the DOC hut, you can carry on up the valley, but the route becomes increasingly broken. There is also a high tramping route across to the Pakihi hut, but you must have good navigation skills for this.
Te Waiti track to the hut and back is about 14km. A good option to extend the distance is to start from Boulders campsite. Or, if the water level is low, you can run up the track and back down the river. It's great riverbed training. 

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Features of interest

Te Waiti track is best known for the magnificent nikau palms. They're not quite as big as on Whakaumu Track, but they're more prolific here.
A century ago, this was part of the same farm as the lower Pakihi track. The farmed land went far up the Te Waiti valley.
After about 6km you must cross the Te Waiti stream. There is no bridge. Often the water is shin deep but this crossing is not possible in high water: treat it with real respect.
There is a basic DOC hut soon after the crossing.
If you know where to look, just off the track at halfway there is a 500 year old kahikatea (white pine). Stay at Bushaven and get the location from John. It's very impressive.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 0%

Moderate Single Track: 25%

Easy Single Track: 75%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 0%

Sealed Road: 0%

Route Data


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  • Access

    From Opotoki, drive south on SH2 to the outskirts of town, then turn left onto Otara road. There is a sign to Bushaven, that's where you're heading. Otara road veers left initially, then heads south, straight for several kilometres. It starts to wiggle, you pass the Tutaetoko valley on the right (east), then Otara East road on the left (west), then the seal ends. Turn on your lights, keep speed down, and be please courteous to cyclists and other drivers. After a couple of km of gravel road, the road forks. If you turn left, over the Te Waiti bridge, you are heading to the Pakihi (also listed on this site). Instead, take the right fork (going straight on up the valley, basically). Please note, from here, the road is very narrow, there are fords that are impassable after heavy rain. The road is NOT suited to motorhomes or drivers who get vertigo. It's an amazing, historic road, though! After a couple of km you pass Boulders campsite, a sublime, free DOC site (no booking required) though with very steep access best suiting a 4WD. Another km or so and you are at Bushaven. The track start is 20km from Opotiki, about a half hour drive. If you contact John or Virginia at Bushaven beforehand, you can park there for a modest charge, plus Bushaven has very affordable accommodation suitable for groups, and camping. Te Waiti track entrance is just before you drop down to Bushaven, or if you are staying/parking at Bushaven there's a connecting sidetrack.

    Groups staying at Bushaven may be able to arrange shuttle Transport with Motu Trails Hire & Shuttle (also run by John of Bushaven). There is no public transport.

    19 km

    25 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    The track is easy to follow. The only place to really be alert is the river crossing, marked by orange triangles. If you go up past the hut, things are not so clear.


    Lightweight fleece top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map.

    Best not to drink from the main stream. Drink from the plentiful side creeks, many of which are waterfalls.

    The track never really gets busy. In winter you may well see no one else. Treat it with respect, as while it's not particularly difficult, it is genuine backcountry. It gets cold in winter, mostly losing sun early in the day.

    In heavy rain, you should not attempt to cross the stream, and Te Waiti road will likely be impassable.

  • Post run indulgence

    Bushaven/Motu Trails Hire & Shuttle
    track start
    http://www.motutrails.co.nz - under service providers
    Accommodation in, yep, a bush haven. It's wonderful. Hear weka and, sometimes, wild kiwi. Swim. Chill out. Meals can be arranged, or self cater. Bushaven/Motu Trails Hire & Shuttle are official partners to the Motu Trails. That support helps in the governance of the trails, so by staying there, you are helping keep local trails active.

    Weka Wilds
    Entrance to Pakihi Track, 10km from Te Waiti
    http://www.motutrails.co.nz - under service providers
    Weka Wilds is at the end of the Pakihi Track, so about 10km from Te Waiti and Bushaven. There's awesome accommodation here too, notably in the historic A-frame hut of famed bushman-author Barry Crump. As well as offering neat accommodation, Christian and Kelly cook a masterful pizza in a wood-fired oven. If you're in the area, you haven't lived until you've tasted this! Weka Wilds are, naturally, official partners to Motu Trails.

    Opotiki i-SITE
    70 Bridge St, Opotiki, ph 07 315 3031
    http://www.motutrails.co.nz - under service providers
    The folks at Opotiki i-SITE can give you info and ideas, a Motu Trails map marking Te Waiti, and make accommodation and other bookings. They're official partners too.

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