Despite the name, this is a magnificent example of easily accessible New Zealand forest land and includes a relatively flat 40 minute walks through well established forest which is excellent for families.
Our next stop was about at the Mangatutu Hot Springs. It was pretty grunty – we travelled along a gravel road and across a stream, so we recommend a 4×4 to get across this ford (the DOC staff said it is okay for cars however (yeah right), depending on the height of the river).
There was a short, sharp walk up to the hot springs, but when you get there you are rewarded with a wicked little pool – that’s halfway down a mountainside overlooking the Mohaka River. Mint.
Awesome day trip, and great for an (older) family jaunt/picnic.
But the absolute highlight – a 40 – 50 minutes into the Kawekas to take part in a kiwi hunt!! DOC staff reckon there’s a 50/50 chance of spotting a kiwi. We were on the track for about 20 minutes when a device the DOC guys carry indicated a kiwi was nearby. Five minutes later they found the kiwi in a hole just off the track.
We each got to hold the kiwi and had photos taken. We were with the kiwi for about 10 minutes then put returned it to its home. It was AMAZING.
Hawke’s Bay has some fantastic places to visit which are a little off the beaten track but offer a fantastic experience and best of all, they are free. In winter you need warm clothing and very good footwear and food and water is required at all times.