ECHO Walking Festival

Enjoy Connecting Hills & Ocean (ECHO) walking festival is a celebration of the fantastic array of walking and hiking trials found throughout the Hamilton & Waikato and Coromandel regions.

Now in its 14th year, the ECHO Walking Festival aims to enable locals to utilise the walks in their local parks and reserves, highlight the benefits of regular exercise, and increase awareness of the walking trails available.

Get out and about with like-minded people with walks in Tauranga, Thames/Coromandel, Katikati, South Waikato, Waihi and Te Aroha and varying in difficulty from easy walks suitable for most to challenging hikes that require a high level of fitness, there is sure to be something for all levels to enjoy.

Te Aroha walks include:

Night Time in the Bush - 2-3 hours
Explore the sights and sounds of the bush at night, where owls and glowworms come out to play along the Tui Domain track.
Saturday 1 April
Grading 2-3 - Suitable for most walkers

Pylon Peak and Waiorongomai Valley - 6-7 hours
Explore the newest track in the Kaimai Range as you cross the Waiorongomai Stream and climb 660m via the Pylon Peak track. Take in mining relics along the way before reaching the top of the Kaimai Range and continuing along the Kaimai Ridgeway before returning via the historic Waiorongomai Valley mining tracks.
Sunday 2 April
Grading 5 - A high level of fitness required.

Mt Te Aroha - Peak 3 of 4 Peak Challenge - 6.5 hours
Take the shortest route to the summit of Mt Te Aroha for spectacular 360 degree views. The group will then return via the Tui Mine Loop Track which includes a steep descent over a rocky section, regenerated native forests and shallow mountain streams.
Sunday 9 April
Grading 5 - A high level of fitness required.

Either Way - It's Over The Top - 6 hours
An east-west or west-east crossing of the Kaimai Range, this walk can start in either Katikati or Te Aroha. From Te Aroha the walks starts at Wairakau Road and includes a gentle start followed by a short steep climb which gets gentler to the top. From Katikati, the walk starts at the car park at the end of Hot Springs Road. The track passes through native forest, crossing streams and climbs through various gullies.
Wednesday 12 April
Grading 4 – 5 – A moderate to high level of fitness is required.

Stamp and Tramp
A great trail for the kids, this walk follows the Waiorongomai tracks, with the opportunity to follow clues to find the stamps. Maps and booklets are available from the Te Aroha iSITE from Easter Friday
From Friday 14 April
Grading 2-3 - Suitable for most walkers

Whakapipi Easter Egg Hunt - 1-2 hours
An Easter Egg hunt for kids will take place along the Whakapipi Track on Mt Te Aroha, between 11am and 12pm. Registration is required.
Sunday 16 April
Grading 2-3 - Suitable for most walkers

An Amblers Triathlon - 4-5 hours
Cycle the Hauraki Rail Trail towards Te Aroha, finishing at The Old Train Station; walk around the Howarth Memorial Wetlands Walk; then swim the final leg at the Te Aroha Hot Pools.
Wednesday 19 April
Grading 2-3 - Suitable for most walkers

Waiorongomai Gold - 6 hours
This full day loop tramp takes you to the upper reaches of the Waiorongomai Valley taking in some significant historic sites along the way.
Thursday 20 April
Grading 4 – 5 – A moderate to high level of fitness is required.

South Waikato Walks include:

Lorraine Moller Stream Evening Walk - 1-2 hours
Stroll through the Lorraine Moller Arboretum to the Oraka Stream.
Monday 3 April
Grading 1-2 - Suitable for most walkers

Waikato River Trails - 2 hours
A great family walk along the Waikato River Trails cycle way. This 11km trail includes the Arapuni Swingbridge, Lake Arapuni and Karapiro, wetlands and more.
Thursday 6 April
Grading 3 - Suitable for a moderate fitness level

Exploring Kinleith Forest - 5-6 hours
Explore the Kinleith Forest near Tokoroa as you follow the native logging tram tunnel past a large wetland area before climbing to the Te Whetu fire tower for stunning views of the forest.
Wednesday 12 April
Grading 5 – A high level of fitness required.

Cougar Park Scavenger Hunt - 1.5 hours
Treat the family to a good old fashion scavenger hunt in the Cougar Mountain Bike Park.
Tuesday 18 April
Grading 1-2 - Suitable for most walkers

Putaruru Tots Trot for Under 5's - 45 minutes
Join on a fun filled and fantastic journey through the trees. There will be lots of great activities to do, and things to find.
Wednesday 19 April
Grading 1 - Suitable for all levels of fitness

Maungatautari Maunga Hikoi – 4-5 hours
Climb to the peak of Maungatautari Mountain and admire the summit view of Pukeatua.
Sunday 23 April
Grading 5 - 6 – A moderate to high level of fitness is required.

For even more of the walks on offer during the ECHO Walking Festival, visit