The Ōpunakē Loop Trail is the longest of the formal South Taranaki walks and takes you through beautiful lake and beach scenery. It travels around Ōpunakē Lake (popular for boating, swimming and water skiing) and across Ōpunakē Walkway heads, providing views of Te Namu Pā, Taranaki Maunga and the coastline.
The walk can be accessed from multiple starting points, but if you wish to complete the whole walk, the best place to begin is by the boat ramp by Ōpunakē Lake on Layard Street.
Along the walk are many points of great historic and environmental interest, including:
- Ōpunakē Lake is now used to provide hydroelectricity, but was once a vegetable garden supplying the Armed Constabulary and early settlers. There are public toilets here.
- The Armed Constabulary Cemetery is located on the headland that juts into the lake. It has four historic headstones. The perimeters of the cemetery are unknown, but some cairns help estimate the cemetery boundaries.
- The Orimupiko Cemetery is adjacent to the entrance to the Armed Constabulary Cemetery. It is located on a former pā.
- Waiaua River Mouth is a must-stop location offering extraordinary views of Taranaki’s dynamic coastline.
- The Cottage Hospital was the birthplace of many famous New Zealanders, including runner Peter Snell.
- Ōpunakē Beach is an outstanding natural surf attraction that draws visitors and surfers from all over the world. A playground, barbecues, and picnic sites make for a family-friendly day out. Visitors can stay at the beach-front holiday park.
- The Lion’s Lookout is located next to the ramp by the old wharf and offers clear views of the Taranaki Bight.
- Middleton Bay has a boat ramp for easy launching, though it is not a safe swimming beach.
- Te Namu Pā is visible from the northern end of the walkway and is an extremely important site in Taranaki. It was the location of a famous battle where Wiremu Kingi Matakatea repelled 800 Waikato Māori and successfully withstood a month-long siege armed with a single rifle. The best access to the site is via Ōpunake Cemetery and then over the Otahi Stream. Te Namu Pā is on private property. The owners and the Historic Places Trust ask that the area be treated with care and respect. There are open food storage pits and tunnels on the site, which can be dangerous.
There are comprehensive maps for your information at either end of the walk.
For further information contact New Plymouth, Stratford or South Taranaki i-SITE Visitor Centre, or view the downloadable brochures from our website.
Physical AddressLayard Street, Ōpunakē