Kohi Point Walkway

Ohope beach to Whakatane

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approx 8 km one-way | 3 hours one-way

Kohi Point walkway winds its way around the steep terrain that forms the headlands between Ohope Beach and Whakatane.

This is a 2-hour walk from Ohope to Whakatane. In the first part of the track you get amazing views of Ohope Beach, then Otarawairere Bay. Average fitness is required as there are some extended inclines. One section of the walkway is blocked by high tide. Please check with the Whakatane Information Centre (0800 942 528) for the latest tide information.

Photos

Maps

Timing

The rocks at the northern end of Otarawairere Bay are not negotiable around high-tide. Check at the Whakatane information centre before attempting the walk.

Access

From the information centre in Whakatane, follow the path to the left of the Council offices. Turn left into Commerce Street and then immediately right into Canning Place. Approximately 50 metres further on are a set of steeply climbing concrete steps, which start from behind Pohaturoa Rock (the rock with the hole in it).

Kapu-te-rangi pa and the trig station at the summit can also be reached from a parking area at the end of Kohi Point Lookout Road. Turn left into Otarawairere Road from Ohope Road and Kohi Point Lookout Road (unsealed) is on the left.

Access to Otarawairere Bay is also from a 45-minute-return track that drops steeply from Otarawairere Bay Road. This is 1.3km from the junction with West End Road in Ohope and 3.8km from the start of Hillcrest Road in Whakatane.

The walk finishes at Ohope West End. Turn into West End Road at the entrance to Ohope and follow it to the end, where there are toilets.

Track

Continue up Hillcrest Road on the footpath for 100 metres. There is a worthwhile 10-minute-return detour to Papaka Redoubt Historic Reserve. This well-formed grass track leads to a lookout with panoramic views over Mount Tarawera, Whakatane, White Island and the Rangitaiki Plains to Mount Edgecumbe.

To access Kohi Point Walkway, turn left opposite Papaka Redoubt Historic Reserve along Seaview Road. There is a parking bay with a bench and a 5-minute-return detour along a well-formed track with a handrail to another lookout with ocean views. Follow Seaview Road another 200 metres and turn left at the signpost marking the start of the Kohi Point Walkway.

After 5 minutes the track reaches a wooden footbridge. To the left is lookout at the top of the Wairere Falls.

After a 15-minute climb along a steep but well-formed track, there is a 5-minute-return side-track to Kapu-te-Rangi Pa, also known as Toi’s pa.

Shortly after, the track runs through the Taumata Kahawai Pa. The defensive ditch is on the left and the bank where the palisade fence would have been is on the right. Look also for the kumara pits near the side of the track.

The track then weaves through coastal forest and scrub. Views from Whale Island to White Island and Cape Runaway extend in a vast panorama.

After approximately 2¼ hours, the track drops into Otarawairere Bay. The track continues to the carpark at West End Road in Ohope.

The rocks at the northern end of Otarawairere Bay are not negotiable around high-tide. Check at the Whakatane information centre before attempting the walk.

Either return via the same track or follow signs of Nga Tapuwae o Toi to return to Whakatane.

Geology

Otarawairere Bay is a secluded cove which shelves gently and is generally safe for swimming. Its isolation brings tranquillity and you can enjoy lunch from the shade of a pohutukawa tree.

Polynesian History

Toi was thought to have arrived in New Zealand around 1150A.D, searching for his lost grandson, Whatonga, whose canoe was blown off course during a regatta in Polynesia. It is said Toi lived at Kapu-te-rangi pa, a commanding position above the entrance to the Whakatane River.

Toi was the eponymous ancestor and progenitor of many subtribes which collectively became known as Te Tini o Toi (the multitude of Toi).

Kapu-te-rangi (Kapu means ‘reaching up to space’ and Terangi means ‘heavens’) is said to have been occupied by Toi-te-huatahi, a notable chief from who many New Zealand tribes are descended. After visits to Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula and Tuhua (Mayor Island), he eventually settled in Whakatane. It is said he lived here with his grandson Whatonga.

Two distinct parts are evident in the site, probably associated with different periods of occupation. The main area of the pa was probably occupied during the late 1700s. Defensive ditches and banks were constructed to repel invaders.

Oven stones were found on the terraces of the lower sections of the site indicating human occupation, probably prior to 1350AD. The pa may have been deserted several times during its history.

Taumata Kahawai Pa was the largest of the pa on Kohi Point and the defensive ditch is over 250-metres-long. On the highest points, houses and open meeting spaces were probably constructed. Cooking would have taken place on the lower terraces. The defences of the pa were virtually impregnable. The steep slopes of the headland, unencumbered views and large defensive ditch across the boundary of the pa, allowed retreat to a central high point if needed. Next to the track you can still see the kumara pits.

European History

Papaka Redoubt is the site of an Armed Constabulary base, constructed to help the town weather the raids of Te Kooti in 1869.

3 reviews with the most recent first

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Jennifer Nguyen's avatar

Jennifer Nguyen

United States

Ranking: 10/10

How amazing is it that this walkway is essentially Whakatane's backyard? It is impressive how in about six hours, you can walk through forest life, Otarawaierere Bay, Mokoroa Gorge, historic reserves with Maori significance and be gifted with views of the beach and forest from the tops of the hills and ridges.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

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Yvonne German's avatar

Yvonne German

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Amazing views - passes by a great beach (check tide times) do one way and take bus home.

Reviewed over 8 years ago and experienced in January 2010

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Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.

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John B's avatar

John B

New Zealand

Ranking: 9/10

A superb experience, the views are great and the quality of the track is good.

Reviewed over 8 years ago and experienced in November 2008

3 reviews with the most recent first

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Jennifer Nguyen's avatar

Jennifer Nguyen

United States

Ranking: 10/10

How amazing is it that this walkway is essentially Whakatane's backyard? It is impressive how in about six hours, you can walk through forest life, Otarawaierere Bay, Mokoroa Gorge, historic reserves with Maori significance and be gifted with views of the beach and forest from the tops of the hills and ridges.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

Conservation Campsite Pass

Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 93 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.

Get the Pass

Yvonne German's avatar

Yvonne German

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Amazing views - passes by a great beach (check tide times) do one way and take bus home.

Reviewed over 8 years ago and experienced in January 2010

Top Ranked NZ Deals Pass

Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.

Get deals pass

John B's avatar

John B

New Zealand

Ranking: 9/10

A superb experience, the views are great and the quality of the track is good.

Reviewed over 8 years ago and experienced in November 2008