The Other Okataina TrailsBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Mike Tennent
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Front country - easily accessible
Undulating, some big hills
Native bushPlantation/exotic forestLakesideOpen tussock/grasslands
Beginner - Intermediate
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Many runners know of Western Okataina Trail... if asked they will probably tell you it runs from Millar Road (near Lake Okareka) to Lake Okataina... in actual fact it runs past the Okataina Education Centre and all the way out to Lake Rotoiti... which is where this run starts.
You will get warmed up quickly as the trail - which is 4WD track for the first 750m - climbs 100m vert in the first 500m. About that point there is a split in the trail - take the left turn towards the power pylons. About 250m on the right is the entrance to the single trail. and away you go... from there on the trail is pretty good. There are signs and orange triangles at intersections - always take the trail to the Education Centre.
After nearly 6km you will come to a sign on your right to Te Auheke Track. Take this trail and after about 600m you will come to a 3-way intersection - head right to the Cascades. Enjoy the lovely falls and then head back and take the other trail which will spit you out by the Education Centre. At the Education Centre head right and follow the edge of the bushline past the water tank and to the shelter/trail-head. Here you turn left and follow the gravel road about 200m until it reaches the sealed road. Right opposite you will see the entrance to Ngahopua Track - head in there and follow this trail for 3.6km, past the two lakes.
After 1.5km you will come to a sign, head onto Anaha Track and follow that through to the sealed road again. Once more you head over the road and on to the trail opposite and follow this to the Education Centre... past the sign to the Lake and past the sign to the trig. Once back at the Education Centre retrace your steps past the water tank again, but pass the trail you exited earlier and follow the small walkway fence to the next trail. About 200m in you will cross the earlier Te Auheke intersection, then retrace your steps to the start!
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Features of interest
Cascade Falls (Glow-worms at night if you are there), a small lake and a smaller lake and lots of wonderful runnable trail.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 10%
Moderate Single Track: 20%
Easy Single Track: 50%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 15%
Gravel Road: 5%
Sealed Road: 0%
About 1 km past Hauparu Bay (from Rotorua end) you will see a quite large DOC sign on the right hand side. If you get to the Okataina turn-off at Te Ruato Bay then you have gone too far.
There is a small area to park in... but it is an underused trail so you shouldn't have any problems.
Just stop at intersections if you are not sure... take a look around... maybe take a printout of this guide or pdf on your phone (there is no mobile coverage)
Waterproof leggings, Thermal 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.
Water at the Cascades Stream and the Education Centre.
A couple of muddy spots but pretty good all year round.
Some tripping hazards, but overall pretty safe.
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See other runs nearby:
Tokorangi Pa Track
Tarawera Trail Route Recce
Valley of the Killer Zombie Wallabies
Blue and Green Lake Loops
Whakarewarea Circuit - the Black Track
Yellow Plus Cardiac
Fat Man's Run
Okataina...Eastern & Western
3 of the Best
RTRC Club Track Loop
A Roundabout Way to the Lost Tank
Whirinaki Long Loop
Lake Okareka Walkway
As You Do Loop
Not Your Usual Rangitoto