Opepe Scenic and Historic Reserve

Wander among ancient towering trees and discover relics of the area's fascinating pioneering history, only a short drive from Taupō.

Choose from two walking tracks within the reserve. The Northern walking track, with its enormous trees, is ideal for a short visit with younger children, while the Southern walking track offers a slightly longer exploration of the area's history.


Northern walking track

An undulating trail quickly whisks visitors away from the busy highway into a lush podocarp forest filled with mature native trees, creating a weather-beaten canopy laden with epiphytes and noisy native birds – bring binoculars! Among these giants, marvel at a nearly 30-metre-high rimu with a girth of 660 centimetres and let brave kids loose exploring hollowed tree trunks.


Southern walking track 

This trail on the south side of SH5 offers two options from the car park: a 20-minute return walk to the saw pit or continuing on the 3-kilometre-long loop. The loop meanders through the regenerating forest, recovering from past human settlement. Discover remnants like tōtara fencing, a bullock watering site and a water well beside the trail. The track leads to the old township and redoubt site, crossing the original Napier Taupō Road.



In its heyday, the Ōpepe township boasted a hotel, a store, homes for about 120 residents and an Armed Constabulary stockade on the western edge. It was also the scene of a one-sided skirmish between European militia and Māori in June 1869. Nine Bay of Plenty Cavalry members died when a band of warriors led by Māori leader and guerrilla fighter Te Kooti attacked their camp. Trooper George Crosswell, who had been drying his rain-drenched uniform, managed to escape and travel naked across 64 kilometres of rough country to report the attack. A five-minute-long detour from the Northern walking track leads to the cemetery of the nine soldiers.

Distance:  Northern walk 1.5 km return | Southern walk 3 km return
Grade: Easy: Well-graded dirt paths
Accessibility:  Suitable for walking only 
Walking:  Northern loop 30 to 45 min return | Southern loop 1 hour to 90 min return
Biking:  Not suitable for biking 
Direction:  Both options are loops
Facilities: A toilet is available beside the south-side car park.
Getting there: Follow the Napier Taupō Highway (SH5) 17 km from Taupō. The highway bisects Ōpepe Scenic and Historic Reserve, with car parks on both sides of the road.
Dog access: Dogs are allowed on leads. 
Latest trail updates: Plan My Walk 


Physical address:
Napier Taupō Road
New Zealand
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