Papaitonga Scenic Reserve


Papaitonga Scenic Reserve is a 135 ha area of forest and wetland which provides a refuge for many wetland birds. At the heart of the reserve is Lake Waiwiri which has a rich Maori history and was once the home of the Muaūpoko iwi, who lived in several villages around the lake and harvested longfin and shortfin eels.

While exploring the reserve there are two lookouts you can check out along the walk.
Papaitonga Lookout – 10min walk.
Otomuri Lookout – 30min walk.
We decided to do the full walk and check out both, the first lookout was definitely just a short 10min walk. You walk through some pretty cool almost tropical like bush along well maintained boardwalks, there was a lot of tree root covered paths to cross as well.


This would be a good short walk to do with young kids to help get them used to walking over tree roots.
Wee carried along to find the Kiwi Guardian post and on to the second look out.
Keep an eye out for cool punga faces along the way.
The bush was just incredible !!!! Ferns, Pungas and Nikau Palms i just loved it !!!
We made it to the second look out in only 15min, I would say with younger kids it would take a bit longer.
All along the way we kept a keen eye out for any Australian Water Dragons, although it would have been cool to see one, they are not native but have been spotted in the area and need to be reported if you do see one.
Much to the kids disappointment we did not see one.
We had a really awesome clear view of Lake Waiwiri and the wetlands around it. We definitely picked a great day to check it out.


After checking out the views we headed back to the car, the whole trip only took us 35min return.
The track was well marked and even though we could tell there had been a lot of wind recently it was very clear and easy to see where to go.

You would not be able to take bikes or prams on this track, but I think young kids would still enjoy it. It would definitely be a a bit more of a challenge for some young ones but you could keep them engaged and excited by getting to keep an eye out for any dragons.

This was a beautiful bit of bush that had a real tropical vibe to it, I really enjoyed the walk and it makes for a good easy wee leg stretch that will not take up to much time.


Munchkin Review 

"the views were awesome, i really wanted to see a water dragon" Meika O'Donnell aged 7


Kiwi Guardian Link

Adventure Notes


What to Bring

Walking shoes and water bottle

Time and Distance

2km, 30-45min return trip

Munchkin Info

- Not pram friendly


- Free

Other Info


Helpful Links