Introduction

Pushing its way into the southern end of Lake Taupō, the Tongariro River is continually depositing alluvial material to create a wonderland of wet and swampy areas.

The delta is part of the wider Te Mātāpuna/South Taupō Wetland stretching from Motuoapa round to Waihi. It is home to at least 48 species of birds including 36 native species, 16 of which are endemic to New Zealand.

Tokaanu Bay and the Tongariro River delta is a wonderful area for kayaking, boating, fishing and bird watching.

From a boat or from the shoreline, the Tongariro River delta is a good place to fish for trout (a Taupō fishing licence is required). Kayaks can also be launched at the Tongariro River bridge (access is from State Highway 1).

Launch your boat or kayak at the Tokaanu tailrace boat ramp and head into the bay towards the Tongariro River delta, where hundreds of swans and other waterfowl gather.

A kayak will allow you to explore the quieter waters of the river channels and lagoons, with a good chance of seeing dabchicks/weweia, pied stilts/poaka, shags and, on occasion, bittern/matuku. 

Discover a wide variety of plants such as kānuka, mānuka, kōwhai and lancewood/horoeka. Further from the river, where the area is less well drained you will find flax/harakeke, toetoe, raupō, oioi, rushes and sedges.

The Waimarino Recreation Reserve in the north of Te Mātāpuna is currently undergoing restoration work led by community group Project Tongariro.

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