Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Orahau To Kinloch

Taupo, Waikato

Submitted by Melissa Franklin

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 19

Gnarl Factor: 43








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Point to Point (one way)

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush


Run Makeup


Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +6.8%

Average Downhill Gradient: -7.4%


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Estimated Times to Run







At the Orakau carpark, you will find a shelter with a map, information board and a toilet. From here, the trail follows the beautifully clear Orakau Stream through regenerating native bush and past Harakakeke (native flax) wetlands down towards Kawakawa Bay. You will run across boardwalks, past waterfalls and over ravines as the trail makes its way down towards the lake shore.

As you near the beach at Kawakawa Bay you will cross two bridges that span some really deep ravines. It's worth stopping and peering over the sides as the ravines are quite spectacular. After 10.25 km you will emerge onto the beach at the stunning Kawakawa Bay. There are views across the lake to the mountains of Tongariro National Park, and during summer this is the perfect place for a swim in the clear blue waters of Lake Taupo.

A shelter and campsite lies in a clearing at Kawakawa Bay, and you will often see rock climbers here. There is a long drop toilet available.

From Kawakawa Bay, a 3km switchback climb will take you up onto the Te Kauwae headland before you begin the descent down to the village of Kinloch. Your climbing efforts will be rewarded by magnificent, sweeping views from the top of the hill up towards the western bays. Once down the other side, the trail emerges on the lake front in Kinloch where it continues along the lake shore on a grassy path before reaching the carpark opposite the Kinloch Domain.

You could either arrange to have someone to pick you up at Kinloch or turn around and run back making the run about 34km.

Carpark available at start of trail

34 km

29 minutes




Very little chance of getting lost as there is no other way to go!


Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.

Drinking from the lake is possible once getting to Kawakawa bay if you're keen! I wouldn't drink from the streams as this runs off from farm lands.

Tracks can get quite muddy in rain

Watch from mountain bikers

Trail Legend

Alex Slack

Alex Slack

has completed Orahau To Kinloch twice in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Great surface and mostly down hill great to do as part o fb the Kawakawa loop

Ruth Steeghs

January 20

Great run lovely views. Did as part to Taupo 50km

Philip Sale

October 16, 2018

Nice run with beautiful sections either side of Kawakawa. Nice short grunt up the hill from Kawakawa bay!

Jon Peter Hart

January 19, 2018

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