Earlier in the year I walked the 18 km Pipiwharauroa Trail in Raglan, New Zealand. It is relatively new trail that was opened in August 2011 and is suitable for cycling or walking. The track winds through farmland and sits alongside a wind turbine farm. The 137m high turbines are pretty damn close and provide an interesting element to this walk. At the highest point on the trail there are 360 degree views across the greater Waikato including out to Raglan, Kawhia and Aotea Harbours. On a clear day, Mt Taranaki can allegedly be seen in the distance.
It took us approximately 3.5 hours to walk the return trip and the trail can be cycled in approximately 2 hours. Pipiwharauroa trail has a steady, gradual incline up to the wind farm but it’s nothing too strenuous! For the first 9km or so the trail is a wide, gravel trail but as it gets closer to the halfway point the trail changes to a grassy, narrower path. There is a small stream alongside the path for some of the trail and pretty views of the surrounding countryside.
At the end of the trail there is a historic, sacred site treasured by the local iwi known as Te Tiho o Tonganui. The site pays tribute to three ancestors, Tonganui the warrior, Mahanga the eponymous namesake of the tribe and Hone Waitere, the last Maori owner of the land. This is a good spot for a picnic to celebrate being halfway and it’s kind of fun to lie on your back and look up while underneath the huge, slightly intimidating turbines.
At the end of the walk the best place to go for a much deserved pint and meal is the Raglan Harbour View Hotel. A local historic pub with a great verandah bar, a garden bar and deep-rooted local flavour.
• From State Highway 23 turn off onto Te Mata Road and the follow the signs towards Wairenga Bridal Veil Falls. Continue past the Falls to a quarry and just past this is the signposted access to the Pipiwharauroa Trail. There is a large carpark where you can leave your car while on the trail.
Other important notes:
• Those sections of the trail on farmland are closed for lambing during August, September and October.
• Pipiwharauroa Trail was opened to the public in August 2011 and is a joint initiative between Waikato District Council, Meridian Energy and private landowners.
• We stayed the night in some unique accommodation that had some amazing views of Raglan Harbour from high on the headland. Solscape offers a choice in accommodation types and is a relaxed, chilled place with healthy, organic food and yoga classes. We stayed in a small cabin that had been upcycled from an authentic New Zealand railway carriage and was nestled amongst a mature garden. Although it was simple it was full of character and charm. Totally recommend it!