Nga Tapuwae o Toi TrailIntermediate
Submitted by jim robinson
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Front country - easily accessible
Undulating, some big hills
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This route is part of the T8 Three+ Collection
The following description assumes you start from Rex Morpeth Park and run in a clockwise direction.
From the park, head down Commerce Street for 1km, turn right onto Canning Place and after another 75m go up the steps to Hillcrest road. Promptly cross the road to Seaview road, and after 100m the track heads off on the left. You now have a grunt of a climb on the Kohi Point track. At the top, take the 100m detour to check out Kapu-te-Rangi - see if you can spot Whakaari (White Island), Putauaki (Mt Edgecumbe), and Mt Tarawera.
The track now heads around the point to Otarawairere Beach and Ohope. It's up and down the whole way, with some steep steps and stunning coastal views. Otarawairere is easy at low tide, but high tide forces you higher on the rocks so is more technical. More steps, then you're at Ohope Beach's west End - half way!
Run on the beach for 1km, cut up at the surf club, and cross the main road (Pohutukawa Ave/Ohope road) onto the Fairbrother loop walk. The track forks after about 100m, both options are pretty climbs, though the left fork is a bit less steep and has some mighty pohutukawa. The two tracks rejoin at the top of the hill. You now run a heavily forested ridge, crossing historic Burma road on the way. It's again up and down all the way.
Midway back to Whakatane you cross briefly over forestry road, follow the Tois marker discs and you're soon back into forest. After a steep descent there's another track fork, if you're knackered, turn right for a shortcut to White Horse Drive and Gorge Road. Otherwise, to complete the full loop, take a sharp turn left.
There's another solid climb, a long descent, then the track pops out of the forest at the bottom of Gorge Road. Run roadside for 100m then take the track under the road bridge to get back to Rex Morpeth Park. The road from Whakatane to Ohope is only 6km with a good roadside path all the way, so if you wish, it's easy to break Nga Tapuwae o Toi into shorter loops, still returning to your start point. For more distance, add a full circuit of the Fairbrother loop in Ohope, or even add in Burma Road and Maraetotara Road, which takes your full effort to about 25km.
The Nga Tapuwae o Toi circuit is used in the annual Toi's Challenge, with a race record (1996, Aaron Strong) of 1hr 20min. Anything faster than 1hr 30min is very fast indeed.
Features of interest
On the hilltop above Whakatane, make sure you pause at Kapu-te-Rangi, pa of gentle breezes. It's a 100m detour from the main Kohi Point scenic reserve track, but the site has real historical significance and you get a sensational view. This was once the stronghold of Toi, paramount chief of the region.
Otarawairere Beach gives you a kilometre of untracked beach running; go high on the rocks for some technical fun (at low tide you can run all the coastal rocks from Otarawairere-Ohope).
Between West End and Ohope village, run on the sand, it's a perfect firm surface.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 5%
Moderate Single Track: 90%
Sealed Road: 5%
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Nga Tapuwae o Toi (footprints of Toi) is a stunning collection of tracks that take you on a 17km loop from Whakatane to Ohope and back. One half of the loop is near or on the coast and the other half is further inland. You can run in either direction. There are many possible start points, but the best options are from West End, Ohope; and from Rex Morpeth Park, Whakatane (marked on map here). Both these points have toilets, water, ample parking, and stuff for other family members to do while you run.
Car parking at both of the above points is urban and safe. The only local bus service is Bay Hopper, http://www.baybus.co.nz/eastern-bay/whakatane/ You can fly to Whakatane on Air Chathams, http://www.airchathams.co.nz/
Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .
The tracks are all very well formed (other than the beach). The entrance points are signed but not hugely well, so if in doubt, take your time, look round. The whole loop is known as Nga Tapuwae o Toi track, or just Toi's track, but you're going on Kohi Point scenic reserve track, the Fairbrother loop track, and Ohope scenic reserve track.
Lightweight fleece top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
You'll find drinking fountains at the Rex Morpeth Park play area, at Whakatane Visitor Information Centre, and at the Ohope Beach village play area. There are toilets at all these points plus at West End road-end. Don't drink from the streams.
Nga Tapuwae o Toi is open year-round. It never gets too busy, though usually you'll see at least a few other walkers and runners. The eastern Bay of Plenty climate is mild. Even in winter, most days will reach about 10-15 degrees C. In summer, if you're not carrying water, you'll want the drinking fountains.
When there has been heavy rain, the West End-Otarawairere Beach section may be closed. Otarawairere Beach may also be impassable in a high tide and heavy swell. This section can be bypassed by going over Kohi Point Lookout road. The whole Nga Tapuwae o Toi loop has many uneven steps and roots, so watch your footing. Don't under-estimate the track either: you are close to town but still surprisingly isolated.
Post run indulgence
Fisherman's Wharf Café
Ohope Beach 340 harbour rd
Good honest food, primo location.
L'Epicerie French Deli
Whakatane, 73 the Strand
great coffee, pastries etc
19 Pohutukawa ave Ohope
Mexican energy in Ohope.
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See other runs nearby:
Latham's Hill Track
Onepu Mountain Bike Park