The Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park, on the spectacular headland between the Ōhiwa Harbour and Bryans Beach, was opened by the Upokorehe hapū and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council in 2010.
The park incorporates the dense coastal forest of the adjacent Ōhiwa Domain, owned by Ōpōtiki District Council. The park is valued for its rich Māori history, spectacular views, native bird and plant life. In the past it was a populous stronghold with six pā. There are still many significant archaeological features clearly visible in the landscape.
On a clear day you’ll be rewarded with a panorama of Ōhiwa harbour, views west to the Mount, east to Te Kaha and the Raukūmara Ranges and south, deep into Te Urewera.
A 30-minute walk up through old pūriri and pōhutukawa forest takes you to the summit of Onekawa Pā. Because of regular pest control carried out by Bay of Plenty Regional Council, an abundance of tūi and kererū will keep you company as you meander through the native forest. Two alternative walking tracks lead down to Bryan’s Beach and from here you can walk back to the entrance along the beach. The whole loop takes about 1½ hours. Parking is available on the Ōhiwa Spit side and at the Bryan’s Beach track end.
To protect the sensitive archaeological sites and because there are cows and sheep kept in part of the park, visitors are asked to keep dogs on a lead and not ride bikes or horses in the park. Camping and lighting fires is not permitted, and please respect the park by taking all rubbish with you.
Please note, there are no toilets in the park itself but there is a public toilet by the carpark at the Ōhiwa Spit.
The park is well signposted from SH2 at the Waiōtahe River bridge.
From Ōpōtiki, travel west on SH2 towards Whakatāne. Turn right into Ōhiwa Beach Road.
From Whakatāne, travel east onto SH2 towards Ōpōtiki via Ōhope and turn left into Ōhiwa Beach Road.
Once on Ōhiwa Beach Road, turn left into Ōhiwa Harbour Road towards the Ōhiwa Beach Tasman holiday park, follow the signs and the carpark is on the right just before you reach the holiday park. Alternatively follow Ōhiwa Beach Road around the Waiōtahe estuary, the carpark is off Bryan Road on the right.
Distance from Ōpōtiki: 15 kilometres (approx 10 minutes)
Distance from Whakatāne: 40 kilometres (approx 35 minutes)