Two DOC-managed destinations, located beside SH2 and about 20 minutes’ drive north of Napier, are White Pine Bush Scenic Reserve (30 kms) and Tangoio Falls Scenic Reserve (27 kms). Both places are well worth a visit.
White Pine Bush is a great place for a family outing or school trip. No surprise to find out that kahikatea (white pine) trees are the predominant arboreal feature in the 19 hectares of bush, while a stand of nikau palms provides their own unique natural beauty.
There are two easy walking tracks; the shorter 800m path is lightly-sealed and wheelchair-friendly. It takes about 30 minutes to circumnavigate and is best completed in an anti-clockwise direction. Pack a picnic, as about half-way round there is a pleasant clearing with a bench table where you can relax, take time out and listen to an abundance of native birdsong.
The longer loop, which is around 1.6 kms, isn’t suitable for wheelchairs but offers great views over parts of the reserve and you will be able to see some large kahikatea trees on the way. During both walks, keep an eye out for tui, kereru, fantails, bellbirds, silver-eyes and grey warblers, along with tawa and pukatea trees.
A picturesque stream and mini waterfall are both visible from the track and, sometimes, small fish, eels and koura (freshwater crayfish) can be seen.
At Tangoio, there are various scenic walks to suit different ages and fitness levels. The 2 km walk to the picturesque 20m-high Te Ana Falls takes around 40 minutes return, while a round trip to the larger falls, along the 4 km Tangoio Falls track, following the Kareaara Stream takes just under an hour.
The Tangoio Walkway, which links the two reserves, is a more ambitious 4.4 km tramp, taking 1.5 – 2 hours and is an easier walk starting at White Pine Bush, heading south and downhill. The track is steep in places and a stream crossing requires care after rain.