Image of the December 2015 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
December 2015 Issue
Home / Articles / Wild Trips

Lonely remains of lowland coastal forest

The Wairoa Coast from Kinikini Road, Mahia Peninsula. Photo: Petra Dawson

Mahia Peninsula Track, Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve, Hawke’s Bay

My half-day trip to Mahia Peninsula was in fact an unplanned escape from stormy weather. Gales had struck the mountains of Te Urewera where I was spending one of my getaway weekends and the decision to explore the peninsula made an exhilarating change.

The jagged seashore surrounded by white cliffs, so typical of Mahia, is well defined behind Wairoa town. Not long after I passed through a small local service centre at Waikokopu, I spent a while wandering on the beach – entirely covered by bone-coloured pieces of wood shaped and washed up by the tide.

I hit winding and stony Kinikini Road and headed up to my target – the Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve. Situated near the heart of the peninsula, this reserve represents one of the last pieces of lowland coastal forest remaining on the east coast. Its origin is connected to the Gisborne Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society which laid down its cornerstone in 1981.

Nowadays hikers are taken through the reserve via the 3.5km loop track, generally completing it in a couple of hours. The starting point can easily be found alongside Kinikini Road.

If you decide to walk the easier, anticlockwise route, the initial steep section leads straight up to the lookout that affords an impressive overview of the land stretching to Hawke’s Bay. The brown tones of the undulating countryside contrasts with the opal coloured sea; the depths of which hide more than 20 shipwrecks.

From the lookout the trail winds into the valley and is hidden by the lush dense bush composed of a large variety of plants including an abundance of rewarewa, kohekohe, tawa,  rimu and matai. My favourite bush trees, karaka, cabbage tree and lancewood, are also plentiful and full-grown.

Gradually descending, I reached the bottom of the valley where I had to make multiple crossings of the meandering stream. This is the only tricky part of an otherwise well arranged track.

Approximately two thirds of the way along the track there’s a clearing with a picnic table surrounded by a rich nikau stand. It’s a peaceful spot to relax before commencing the final ascent back to the gate.

After leaving the reserve, consider staying on Kinikini Road and continuing towards Long Point, formerly known for its nearby whaling station. The road offers numerous outlooks over the dramatic slopes descending to the sea.

– Petra Dawson

Wild File

Access Kinikini Road, 7km south of Mahia Beach

Grade Easy

Time 1.5-2.5hr

Distance 3.62km

Total ascent 236m

Map BJ43

 

 

Support Wilderness

Since 1991, Wilderness has had one simple goal: to help Kiwis ‘See more, do more, live more’ of New Zealand.

If you value our mission, please consider subscribing. As a loyal supporter, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • New Zealand’s best outdoor journalism We’ve won multiple awards for our journalism and magazine production.
  • NZ’s best trips. Browse more than 610 trips with downloadable maps and route notes.
  • Trustworthy gear reviews. Each month we review gear we’ve been bashing and thrashing for months so you can determine if its worth your money.
  • Member benefits. Our WildCard provides discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.
  • Your support goes a long way. Your subscription will help us fund NZ’s best outdoor journalists and writers and ensure Wilderness will be there to inspire the next generation of outdoor Kiwis.

A subscription costs as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.