The Whakatane River walk is a very easy 9k walk on an excellent concrete walkway that will take you around 3 hours and 30 mins to complete.

The Whakatane River starts its 95 kilometres journey in the popular hunting and tramping Urewera National Park in the Bay of Plenty Region. The Whakatane River starts the journey at the village of Ruatahuna and finishes at the east coast town of Whakatane.

Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: North Island NZ
  • Distance: 9 km
  • Time needed: 3 Hour 30 Minutes
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
  • Wheelchair Access: Yes
  • Route: Round Trip
  • Elevation: 2m
  • Wet Feet: No
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Dogs: Leash only
  • Mobile Coverage: Yes
  • Last Updated: November, 2019

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Summary points about this walk

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Points of interest along the walk​

Whakatane Heads

Driving to Whakatane Heads can be a bit of a challenge. If you drive down the main shopping centre of Whakatane to the roundabout then turn to the right and follow the road around to the left and don’t stop till you are at the Heads car park. All you do now is walk to the water’s edge and on to the concrete walkway, turn to the left and start walking for the next hour and a half. Five minutes into the walk is the first toilets and the kids playground, this is a great place to stop and let the kids out for a burn out if you are just pulling in to Whakatane for a rest stop. When you arrive at the wharf and you are really hungry and cannot wait till you arrive in town stop here for fish and chips or at one of two Restaurants. You will arrive at the information centre at the bottom of Whakatane shopping centre in five minutes, this is where the best cafes are or the pub? Back on the walk and another five minutes will bring you to New World supermarket. This is a good place to pick up lunch, to go. And sit on a bench seat and enjoy the river views.

Whakatane Bridge

After eating our lunch in the sun, the long walk was about to start. The last public toilet is next to the skate board park and just before the mini train park. This last section we saw a couple of local people fishing. We walked past the caravan park and checked out the big, small and very old camper vans and the array of small tents the tourist were trying to sleep in, not for me. When you arrive at the Whakatane Bridge and double back you can come back to this toilet. If you decide to walk back along the main road the next toilet is at the petrol station, about fifteen-minute walk from the Whakatane Bridge, then you will have to wait till you are back in town, about forty minutes, that is if you can refrain from a little window shopping. Again, double back down the river and look at the Whakatane river from a different view or walk back along the main road and look at the motels, petrol station, houses, retail shops and busy people zooming around in their cars. We had to stop at a café just to rest our legs for ten minutes and to re-hydrate, as you do after a long walk in the sun.

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