Walking Waikato – Taitua Arboretum
Here’s another in the Slater Accountants Hamilton Walking Waikato series. It’s one of the very best little walks you can do around Hamilton. And it’s great for small business people and professionals and nine to fivers who want to take a break from work and their accounts and get out into the fresh air.
It’s just the place if you’re looking for a walk close to town or want to take the family on a picnic.
Address: 9-35 Taitua Road, Temple View.
Directions: Follow the State Highway 23 (Whatawhata Rd) towards Raglan. Turn left into Howden Road. Take the left fork past Rowe Road and next on the left is Taitua Road. It’s adequately signposted.
Dogs: Yes, on leads.
Pushbikes: No, sorry.
Wheelchair friendly? Some incline, gravel surface but well maintained. Some unneven areas. May need accompanying person to help in sections.
As many of you know we love tramping and walking. Nature’s a beautiful thing. For me personally, the sensation of leaving a cloistered home and venturing out into nature is unbeatable. I enjoy the shock off cool air on a Spring morning and I love the change of the seasons here.
A change of seasons bring new experiences and new feelings. The American writer Thomas Moore writes eloquently about the symbolic relevance of seasonal change. These can be cataclysmic and fierce or gentle and subtle. Here in New Zealand we’re fortunate to have fairly stark seasonal shifts which can often be opportunities for considered reflection and communion with life.
Spring arrives and a daily walk becomes a delightful communication with new growth and new things. Small buds, fresh, pale shoots, a scattering of early blossoms. The perfect symmetry of the noble magnolia. It’s free, easy, good for you and accessible to most of us.
So when we’re not giving out Xero help and doing Xero accounting, we’re likely tramping around exploring our wonderful natural world.
It’s true Taitua Arboretum is one of our secrets but I feel morally obliged to share it because hoarding it just isn’t a people-friendly way to go!
You might be greeted by a good scattering of chookies and roosters on your arrival. They’re delightful sentinels and the little kids will love them. There’s nothing like seeing infants squeal with delight when they see the chooks pecking around the cars for crumbs.
Make your way down the path which is well covered and slightly graded. It’s not steep and it’s perfect for families who aren’t at peak fitness and who want to have a great stroll in a picturesque environment. I’d classify the walk as an easy grade with fully gravelled paths and great shelter from the winds. You have a slight incline at the end of the walk when you return to the carpark, but aside from that, it’s fairly level without step and climbs.
It’s also a good spot for jogging and a couple of laps would add up to a fair few kilometres of quality exercise. It’s a little shorter than the Lake Ngaroto walk we reviewed recently. Each full lap is 2.3 kms and there’s enough flora and microclimatic variation for the jog to be healthy and visually engaging. It sure beats a roadside run on harsh bitumen with the accompanying car fumes!
You also have a couple of circuit options so you can extend the length of your exercise or take the shorter option if you haven’t much time.
The Arboretum is very well maintained, with a vast selection of trees and many seating areas and even a gazebo area adjacent to one of the ponds. It’s these little touches and environments that add a good deal of charm to what might otherwise be a fairly run of the mill park area. Around every corner or bend you are greeted with a new vista or a small enclave where you can rest and ponder over nature or sit and enjoy the sun. There are a number of distinct sections such as rainforest arbour, pasture, pond areas and thickets, and a fair few little nooks and crannies that kids will enjoy exploring. The grassland areas are perfect for picnics so grab a rug from the car and pack some sandwiches and a thermos and a couple of good books if the weather is fine and sunny. The wind chill factor is low and the 22 hectare sprawl that comprises the arboretum is very protected, so it’s unlikely you’ll be buffered about by feisty breezes.
It’s highly likely the kids will want to feed the ducks, so cut off those old bread crusts, bag them up and let the ankle biters loose with them as you make your way around the walkways by the water areas. Be aware you’ll need to supervise the small children in these areas as there is no fencing.
Cameras are also a must!
We often see photographers down at Taitua because the natural environment is so pretty and the walk offers a great selection of vistas for quality pictures.
A couple of local photography classes have also used it in the past for field trips, so it has the seal of approval from the professionals.
Please also note Sunday afternoons can be a tad crowded so choose an alternative time if you want solitude.
(When I say “crowded” it’s more a case of sharing the path here and there with a few other couples or a number of family groups. The atmosphere is friendly and there’s the customary smiles and hello’s as people pass each other on the circuit.)
I hope you enjoy Taitua Arboretum. It’s our secret place away from the accounts and we often duck down there in the summer months after work for a quick walk. The fresh air and the pretty ponds help clear the head of office cobwebs which is always a good thing! And of course we’re glad to share it with those who want another nice place to walk during the brighter months. I think you’ll agree it’s a fantastic walking trail nestled conveniently on the edge of town.