Nearest town: Tolaga Bay
Type of track: loop
Official distance: 4.5 km
Official time: 2 hours
Jenny’s time: about 3.5 hours
Tips: You may have to wade through the stream if it’s been raining a lot recently. Parts were a bit muddy and slippery even when it hadn’t been raining, so be careful
The trees towered above me, their ramrod-straight bodies reaching to the sky high over my head. In between the trunks the green undergrowth shimmered in the dappled sunlight and I wandered slowly between broken stumps and huge ponga ferns.
I was on the Anaura Bay Walkway: an easy two hour walk if you’re not me. If you are me you’ll take twice that long, spending an eternity trying to get a photo of the moss hanging from trees like a damp green beard, or of that perfect green leaf.
The track begins quite steeply, winding its way up through a damp forest for a couple hundred metres before emerging into an open grassy area.
But the climb is just beginning, and here I had to stop for a minute to contemplate the steep hill before me. It’s not long though, and soon you’ll find yourself on top of a grassy ridge with a great view out to the ocean. You can walk along the ridge for a short distance in either direction to find the best view to take a break with.
The path then winds back down the hill at a much less steep gradient and into that forest of tall straight trees, where in the winter the only sound other than your footsteps is the wind in the trees and the occasional chirp of a happy bird.
Soon the path turns again, crossing the Waipare Stream and then following it for the rest of the track. It’s narrow in places, and at one point I startled some cows, who took off up a side track away from me.
There are several stream crossings along the way, and while I did not get wet feet, be aware that if there has been a lot of rain recently you might have to wade across.
Closer to the road the stream emerges from the forest into farmland studded with spindly dead trees (perhaps in the summer they don’t look so dead) for a flat easy walk back to the road.
Most of this walk is in the shade and if you’re looking for stunning views, well, apart from the first one atop the ridge, there aren’t any. But there is gorgeous pine forest, a wide variety of lush greenery, and serene solitude.
So if you’re on New Zealand’s East Cape, make sure to stop at the Anaura Bay Walkway!
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