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Remarkable Walks Near Matamata
Families, couples and friends who enjoy hiking adventures and scenic walks are spoilt for choice in Matamata, which has plenty of remarkable routes in its backyard.
Maea Fields is a new subdivision ideally located on the south-eastern side of Matamata. It offers a relaxed yet exciting lifestyle with its central location near some of New Zealand’s most prized landmarks, including the wonderful Wairere Falls and breath-taking Blue Spring.
Here are some of the adventures that await in and around the Matamata-Piako District.
Where: 15-20 minutes from Matamata. Starts at Goodwin Rd, off Old Te Aroha Rd, Okauia.
Time needed: 1.5 to 4 hours return.
The Wairere Falls Track near Matamata is one of the top walks in the area, offering spectacular views of the countryside and the North Island’s tallest waterfall.
Visitors can enjoy views of the whole waterfall from the road near the track, watching the water cascade 153 metres over the rocks. But walkers who commit to the 2-hour hike to the waterfall’s summit will be rewarded with vistas over the valley and beyond.
Good footwear is recommended for the minor climbing and steady incline to the lower lookout point. It takes about 45 minutes to arrive at the waterfall viewing platform, which DOC rates as an ‘easy’ walk.
The scenic hike passes native New Zealand trees and moss-lined rocks, with the serene sounds of singing birds and flowing water making walkers feel immersed in nature.
Many hikers follow the track back down to the carpark after soaking up the views from the lower lookout. The more intrepid continue another hour or so up the track to the top platform.
With stairs and steep inclines to climb and rocks and large tree roots to clamber over, conquering the next part of the track is not for the fainthearted.
The upper section of the track takes walkers through native forest with ferns and totara trees.
The ‘difficult’ rated track may take a walker’s breath away, but so will the beautiful views. The top of the waterfall provides fantastic views of the Waikato plains.
Rapurapu Kauri Track
Where: 15 minutes from Matamata. Follow Tauranga Rd towards the Kaimai Ranges. Continue onto SH29 (signs for Tauranga) for about 3km to a gravel road on the right (not signposted).
Time needed: 2.5 hours return.
The beautiful rolling hills of the Kaimai Ranges act as a backdrop for Matamata and the Maea Fields subdivision, and there are plenty of tracks to explore in the forest park.
Rapurapu Kauri Track is one of the many stunning walks in the Kaimai-Mamaku Conservation Park. It winds through pine forest and native bush and passes three huge Kauri trees, estimated to be about 600 years old.
The first 20 minutes of the walk are easy, then the track becomes advanced grade as it descends to the Rapurapu Stream. The most challenging part of the 5km return walk is the eight stream crossings before reaching the kauri grove, which may not be possible after heavy rain.
Another short walk worth doing is the nearby Kaimai Summit, which is about a further 4km drive up the Kaimai Ranges. The 20-minute loop follows a small freshwater stream and looks out over the Waikato plains.
Where: About a half an hour drive from Matamata. The walk begins at the Whites Rd carpark, which links SH1 and SH5 near Putaruru. It is a short 10-minute walk to the spring from the Leslie Rd carpark.
Time needed: 3 hours return from the Whites Rd carpark, or 20 minutes return from the Leslie Rd carpark.
With some of the most crystal-clear water in New Zealand, a visit to the Blue Spring at Te Waihou Walkway is one to remember.
Once one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets, the enchanting colours of the blue water and green vegetation now draw a steady flow of visitors.
The famous Blue Spring near Putaruru is one of the purest water sources in the world, supplying about 70 per cent of New Zealand’s bottled water.
Te Waihou Walkway is an easy flat walk with just a few steep steps. The 4.7km long walkway travels alongside the Waihou River, winding through wetlands, native forest and past small waterfalls.
The spring is a constant 11°C throughout the year. But don’t be tempted to cool off, because swimming is not allowed at the Blue Spring to help maintain the natural wonder.
These spectacular walks are just a few of the many adventures on offer in and around the Matamata area. The district features walks for all – from short hikes to multi-day tramps, from easy to expert level.
Matamata has some nice short walks of its own, including those near Pohlen Park, the Firth Tower and at Centennial Drive’s botanical park.
Be sure to check the DOC website for up-to-date safety information and advice before venturing out on a hike.