Submitted by Anthony Sowerby
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Go over the stile from the carpark and take the left trail. Run for approx 990 metres and you'll have the option of veering left or turning right. Take the right option and continue for another 300m where you'll have another left/right option. Take the right option again which heads back towards the carpark.
At approximately 2km mark you should reach a doc sign pointing to right which is the short loop option. Take this until it spits you out at a T-junction. Head left here as the other direction is less than 5 mins back to the carpark. This is a straight 4WD type track and you'll run past a couple of options to see hunters' viewing platforms. These short detours are worth a look before returning to main route and continuing same way.
Eventually you'll reach a gate which you can go through and turn left to run alongside the Kaituna River. After about 1.5km running you should spot an unmarked turnover down a short steepish bank. Head down here and you'll eventually end up back at the straight stretch of trail you first started on. Continue down this trail to get back to the carpark.
Features of interest
The Kaituna wetlands are the biggest area of original wetlands that remain in the Bay of Plenty. There is plenty of birdlife including the fernbird/mātātā, spotless crake/pūweto and Australasian bittern/matuku as well as the more common pūkeko, ducks, shags and pied stilts/poaka.
Make Up of Run
Easy Single Track: 85%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 15%
You start at the intersection of Kaituna Road and Pah Road at the entrance to the Kaituna Wetland walks.
There is a carpark at the entrance with plenty of room.
Even though this is a small area I find it easy to get disorientated. If you give yourself plenty of time it should never be a problem as you can always retrace your steps. Easiest thing to do is probably download the GPX.
Short-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Bring your own.
Duck hunting season brings out the hunters so avoid from first weekend in May to end of June. Beware the mozzies at dusk.
There is plenty of water around but if you stick to the tracks you should be fine.
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