Walk status: On-Lead
The Lake is one of our favourite places to visit, although it is quite restrictive for dog walkers with dogs needing to be at least 200m from the lake and on-lead.
We haven't let that deter us though, and still go looking for new places to explore here. George walks on his long lead which isn't too restrictive but does generally mean our walk times are a bit slower as im having to stop every time he does. There are parts that you will need to walk 200m within the Lake area to actually get to an area that's away from it, so this rule isn't very clear from the local council on what it really means. I've had to assume that you have access to the other areas around the Lake, as long as you're not stopping on the lakefront for a picnic with your dog.
Upon entering the Lake entrance, you drive alongside the Lake to your right. All of this area directly alongside the lake is officially off limits for doggies, even on-lead. The road carries on for quite a distance, and you want to head right to the end to start this walk. There are plenty of other opportunities to park here, but the dead end is actually one of the best spots to park as it gives access to a few different walks and most of the tourists and locals park nearer the lake so its usually pretty quiet.
This end gives access to a few of the bridle trails, the track to Hydro Road, the loop around the Lake and also one of the best lookout points to see Mt Taranaki. You want to follow the signs that direct you to the Lake Circuit Walk for the start of this walk.
The start of the track is blocked by a metal gate so you'll need to cross over the sty to continue up the track. Shortly after crossing the gate, there are steps up to the lookout point. If you haven't visited here before, its well worth the stop, especially on a clear day. Sadly it wasn't clear today, but I have included a few of our photos from December so you can see the view you get from here and further down.
To carry on with this walk, head down the hill past another metal gate and the view starts to open up to show you across the Lake and again Mt Taranaki if you're lucky. This track heads down to the bridge to cross the lake, and into the forest area. Head up the short forest path and you'll reach a sign that indicates the Lake Circuit Walk or Forest Access. Continue straight in the direction of Forest Access. Soon enough you'll come out to a clearing and a wide gravel road. You're now in the area that is classed as the MTB area.
There are many MTB tracks around this area, and even when you first enter the forest area so be watchful of bikes as they do use the main path also. Avoid the MTB tracks as you can't guarantee your direction versus the bikes, and also depending on the difficulty of the track the bikers can be coming at some pace.
After exiting the clearing, you have the option to head left or right on the gravel road. Head left and stay on the main gravel road. Its a bit hilly this one, and you'll soon start to head downhill which can only mean a hike back up on the way home but its not too bad so don't let that put you off. At the bottom of the hill on the left is a sign for the MTB club. This also marks the last point of their trails so be careful around this bottom area especially as there a track that crosses the gravel road that they could be doing at pace.
Once you pass this point you can relax a little. The road becomes lined with gorse and there seems to be no reason for any MTB to be down this way as its just a dead end and flat. George and I enjoyed a bit of quiet time just taking in the view, and getting a chance to see some scenic spots of what I believe is Kokowai Stream. As its a dead end, there is a small loop at the end of the road for the trucks to turn around so it makes it a good point for you to turnaround and start heading back up the hill.
You'll need to watch out for bikes again once you get to the MTB sign and start heading up the hill, return the same way you came.
This walk took us just under an hour but as George was on-lead we did stop a few times for some sniffing. The loop was 3.74kms in total.
Location: Lake Mangamahoe, entrance opposite Kent Road
Carparking is good here
Things to know:
There are toilets here, but only at the entrance by the main road
Dogs are not allowed to be off-lead or within 200m of the Lake