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The Orakau Trail is a nice gradual downhill which takes you through stunning native wetlands before dropping you into the secluded Kawakawa Bay.
At the Orakau carpark (20-minute drive from Kinloch), you will find a shelter with a map, information board and a toilet. From here, the trail follows the beautifully clear Orakau Stream thorugh regenerating native bush and past Harakakeke (native flax) wetlands down towards Kawakawa Bay. You will ride across boardwalks, past waterfalls and over ravines as the trail makes its way down towards the lake shore.
This trail is a dream to ride with the generally downhill profile of the first half lending itself to beautifully laid out corners and berms, giving it incredible flow. The trail boasts some stunning scenery and native birdlife – tuis and bellbirds in particular – and there are seats along the way at the best vantage points, so you can rest your legs while taking in the view.
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 Taupō.
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 but no cooking facilities on site. Please bring your own tent and light no fires.
During summer, Kawakawa Bay is also frequented by boaties and walkers who have come over from Kinloch, so please remember this is a two way track if you are riding over to Kinloch.
|Time||1-1.5 hours cycling | 3 hours walking|
|Direction||The trail can be ridden in both directions, however we recommend riding west to east, starting with a ground shuttle and finishing in Kinloch.|
|Access, transport & guides||Park your vehicle in Kinloch and arrange for your shuttle to drop you off at the start of the Orakau Trail (Orakau carpark, Whangamata Road) - just 20 minutes from Kinloch.|
|Water taxi||A pre-booked boat transfer is available from Kawakawa Bay to Kinloch. A great option for those with low fitness levels or for children. Bookings are essential.|
|Dog access||Yes, dogs allowed|
|Trails nearby||K2K Trail and Otaketake Trail, part of the Great Lake Trails|
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