Hatea Loop Whangarei
The Hatea Loop Walkway – Huarahi o te Whai, this fully accessible walkway is just fantastic for all users including wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
My starting point is the Riverside Marina on Riverside Drive. The Hatea Loop walkway runs in a full loop of 4.2 k along both sides of the Hatea river, the Riverside Drive side passes by the Riverside Drive boat sheds and back onto the walkway alongside the river and then tracks pass the marina where the boats lay at anchor, then its left across the canopy bridge and follow the path towards Te Kakano
(The Seed) an architectural sculpture in the shape of a koru using all the elements of Hundertwasser’s style. A beautiful and intriguing structure that has been created to give the builders and artists the opportunity to adapt their skills for the proposed construction of the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Maori Art Gallery. The HAC will be 100 times the size of Te Kākano and building is planned to commence in 2017 when all necessary funds are raised.
It is now June 2017 the Hundertwasser has its funding construction is hoped to start in December this year.
Now you have reached The Hub and Town Basin a welcoming combination of international yachting marina with restaurants, cafes. Art and craft galleries that feature beautiful works by Northland artists, Artisan fairs are often open on the weekends on the canopy bridge enjoy the vibrant atmosphere created by this gathering of artists, buskers and food stalls. Fishing boats, small pleasure craft, yachts and launches use this area creating an ever-changing vista, fish and ducks can be seen around the moored boats. At The Hub you will find the clock museum and beside the museum you will find the super childrens’ playground and liberty swing (a wheelchair accessible swing) and petanque court add to the range of facilities for people of all ages and abilities.
You may want to visit the Whangarei Art Museum home to the city’s art collection that embraces both heritage and contemporary works, and offers a captivating insight into the District’s history. this is hidden on the road side of The Hub, great accessibility here so dont miss it if you have time, across the carpark you will find Reyburn House, home of the Northland Society of Arts, and Whangarei’s oldest house, built in the 1870s and surrounded by lovely gardens
The Hatea loop continues as you leave The Hub back along the city side of the river, the walkway continues along the river some public exercise equipment can be found here to complement the lovely walkway and soon you will pass the dramatic Waka and Wave stone sculpture at Hihiaua Point of a Maori waka (canoe) breaking through a towering wave, marking the entrance to the Whangarei Town Basin. Enjoy the Sculptures created by local artists.
The Hatea Loop walkway has Heritage Panels where you can read the fascinating history of the area on including legends of how Whangarei got its name and information about the tribes of Whangarei, Te Tangata Whenua – the people of the land, descended from their ancestors who migrated from the Pacific.
After leaving the weka and wave walk across the elegant footbridge, ‘Kotuitui Whitinga’ you can now turn right into a new pocket park which is a lovely spot to rest at this point on the walkway, you now also have access to the okara shopping complex or if you want to stay on the Hatea Loop after crossing the footbridge just continue to the left along the riverside the walkway goes along the riverfront passing a new small wharf where you can stop and take in the river views continue onwards to a rest area with public toilets and parking facilities which includes a set area for freedom campers, continue along the walkway and cross and the international award-winning ‘Te Matau a Pohe’ bascule (opening) bridge. Once across the bridge the walkway goes of in two directions, to complete the loop cross the bridge and follow the path to the left for a walk alongside the river back to the starting point at Riverside Marina.
Alternatively you could also follow the path going to the right after crossing the bridge this is a relaxing walk towards the dog agility area and continues along the harbourside to Onerahi and Bosswell track, this diversion is not part of the Loop but an extension to the walkway and is also suited to wheelchairs and mobility scooters
Dogs must be on a leash at all times in the Town Basin and Hatea Loop areas but take a short detour to the Dog Exercise Park at William Fraser Memorial Park on Pohe Island where they can be let off the leash.
The entire walkway is accessible for walking, jogging, pushbikes, all sorts of mobility aids and scooters, and is also suitable for pushchairs.
Take some time to enjoy the Town Basin and the Hatea Loop – Huarahi o te Whai (Pathway of Opportunity)