“Breathtaking native bush, pohutukawa, lake views, and birdlife can be found on this great trail.”
— Dafydd Malcolm
Birding · Lake · Swimming · Views · Wildlife
The trail is cleared for the Tarawera Ultra Marathon in January to March each year. At other times the hidden tree roots can make potions of the trail trippy under foot, particularly in dappled light. The lake water at Okataina or Tarawera is not classified as potable, so filter before you drink, or sip at your own risk. Sections of the track traverse steep banks and runners have been known to fall off when not using appropriate caution.
The Eastern Okataina Walkway begins from the Lake Okataina Carpark (Tauranganui Bay) and leading to Humphries Bay (Lake Tarawera).
At the Trailhead at Tauranganui Bay near the Lake Okataina Lodge and Boat Ramp there is a carpark, picnic area, and good swimming beach.
The track itself can be quite strenuous, and you'll want to set aside plenty of time to complete the route and take in the incredible views. Though you'll be traveling along the water's edge for most of the way, the terrain is quite hilly. You'll have at least four steep ascents, and accompanying descents before reaching your journey's end.
At Humphries Bay on your arrival at Lake Tarawera there is a newer long-drop toilet and small area suitable for camping (occasionally full at the height of summer). There is also some good swimming to be had after a little bit of a wade out into deeper waters. The wade is worth it, as there are great views of Mount Tarawera from the water. The trail continues with a moderate-steep climb up the Northern Tarawera Track to the Tarawera Outlet.
The track is one of a group of tracts accessed from Okataina Road which turns off SH 30 (Rotorua/Whakatane highway) at Ruato, 22 km from Rotorua.
Flora & Fauna
Lake Okataina Scenic Reserve contains rimu, totara, rata and kahikatea. There are stands of Pohutukawa along the lake shores which are spectacular red in flowering season and the reserve is also filled with birdlife.