ESTIMATED TIME: Cycling 1.5 hours | Walking 3 hours
Note: we have described the Great Lake Trail here as if it is being ridden in a west – east direction. It can, however, be ridden in the opposite direction
DESCRIPTION: An upgraded old tramping track, it used to be tough going but now everything that was too steep has been re-routed. Kawakawa Bay is a popular area for rock climbing and for boaties during the summer. Sit on the nice fine stoney beach, enjoy the crysttal clear waters, listen to the breeze in the Kawakawa trees along with the Tui birds, Tomtits, Fantails, and other native birds. Look out over our beautiful lake and ponder how it all came to be.
Trail: Kawakawa Bay the trail climbs up through native bush to the Te Kauwae headland. The highest elevation of the trail is reached at about 3km where there is a rock lookout over a stunning view of Kawakawa bay. There is no mistaking how this bay got it’s name with all the Kawakawa trees below. On the left of the panoramic view some cliffs can be seen that are often used by rock climbers. The far west bays of Waihaha and Waihora can also been seen. If you are riding on one of our expeditions it is also interesting to note that Mt. Pureora (of the Pureora Timber Trail) can be seen on the western horizon if it is a clear day. This lookout rock is the most photographed point on the whole Great Lake Trail.
Now the descent begins! It’s a long, flowing, fun, and exhilarating ride down to the Otaketake Stream bridge, then onwards over a small bridge that crosses the Whangamata Stream. (This point is the junction of the Whangamata Stream Trail that goes up to Whangamata Rd). The final section heads east on a grassy path just a few metres up from the sandy beach, then merges onto the lake front opposite the Kinloch Store.
Gradients are not too steep and the track is not very technical, however the first climb on this ride does take some effort as it’s a zig-zag climb up to the top of the hill. The trail surface is well graded, maintained and is a nice mixture of packed soil and packed pumice in some parts much like the W2K section.
ACCESS POINTS: Kinloch, boat access at Kawakawa Bay or from Orakau trial.
Note: There is a campsite at Kawakawa Bay with toilets.