Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


The Department of Conservation (DOC) reminds visitors exploring Gisborne Whakatane public conservation areas to be well prepared for the weather conditions and higher fire risk in summer.

Date:  23 December 2010

The Department of Conservation (DOC) reminds visitors exploring Gisborne Whakatane public conservation areas to be well prepared for the weather conditions and higher fire risk in summer.

This region has a variety of walks and tracks from gentle bush walks to challenging tramps into the remote wilderness. There are a number of camping areas to stay at and other recreational opportunities. We want visitors to enjoy their experience and return home safely but ask that they follow a few basic rules says Programme Manager, Visitor Assets John Ballantyne.

“If you are heading outdoors it is important to follow the environmental care code and camping care code; be a careful camper and practice ‘no trace’ camping. Protect native plants and animals. If you head out on longer day walks or rides, remember to be well prepared with gear for all weather and conditions. Safety is your responsibility."

“The rain in the last week shows how changeable the weather can be. While the rain has significantly reduced the fire danger, several days of sun and wind can rapidly send it soaring again. Fire permits are required for fires on or within 1km of all public conservation land in the East Coast and Bay of Plenty regions.”

“We hope that visitors will observe a few basic rules for their own safety, protection of the environment and wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer” says Mr Ballantyne.

Full details on walkways and campsites are available at the local DOC office. Two DOC booklets “Conservation Campsites” and “Go Camping” also contain worthwhile information for campers.

Background information

Walkways: For families looking for activities popular East Coast walkways at Anaura Bay, Cooks Cove, Te Kuri and Otoko are open. Most walkways cross private land and access is only available due to the generosity of landowners. Visitors are asked to behave considerately and remember that dogs and mountain bikes are not permitted on walkways.

Hikurangi walkway will be open apart from a closed period from mid-day on Friday, 31 December 2010 to mid-day Saturday 1 January 2011 for a planned cultural activity. Contact Te Runanga O Ngati Porou for further information.

Camping areas: Anaura Bay (85km north of Gisborne), Manganuku (in the Waioeka Gorge), Omahuru (Ogilvies) and Te Pakau (Eight Acre) 45 minutes from Whakatane and Opotiki have undergone recent upgrades, Matata (off SH 2 in Matata township – near Whakatane), Boulders at Te Waiti off Otara Road in Opotiki and Whitikau on Takaputahi Road off the historic Old Motu Road are all options worth considering.

Waioeka Journey: Drivers can take a break from driving through the Waioeka Gorge and view the Waioeka Journey (Te Awa a Tamatea) with information panels at seven rest areas.

Marine Reserves: (Look but “no take”) Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve 16 kilometres north of Gisborne now includes a new carpark area providing improved public access. Te Paepae o Aotea (Volkner Rocks) Marine Reserve is located 55 kilometres offshore from Whakatane. For many people the most convenient and ready access is by charter boat. Diving or sightseeing can be arranged through a number of operators. Fishermen are reminded to observe the boundaries of the marine reserve. Brochures containing full co-ordinates and maps can be obtained from Whakatane Coastguard, Whakatane Information Centre or downloaded from

Otipi Road: is open for those looking for something different to do this summer. Weather dependent. The Otipi Road starts at the Whitikau campsite off Takaputahi Road and travels 20 kilometres into the Raukumara to the Motu river over an old road established for hydro exploration in the 1960’s. The road provides unique recreational opportunities for visitors including hunting, camping and mountain biking in a scenic and challenging wilderness part of the country.

Didymo: Be aware of the threat of didymo. People moving between waterways should always check, clean and dry all gear, clothing, boats and vehicles that could contaminate other streams, rivers or lakes. Didymo advocate, Charlotte Tietjen will be in the East Coast over the summer months.



For fire emergencies dial 111

Conservation emergencies such as whale strandings or to report any safety hazards phone DOCHotline (0800 362 468)

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