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Public Access to RiversTe tomonga tūmatanui ki ngā awa

People are able to enjoy a wide range of activities on our rivers and this page has a guide to access gates and how to care for the environment.

River access

River areas in Hawke's Bay are great places for water sports, picnics, horse-riding, trail biking, mountain biking, whitebaiting and fishing. In a hot Hawke's Bay summer, locals seek out the shady places under the flood protection willows alongside the rivers.

Cyclone Gabrielle damaged many river areas, and as a result, we are repairing river access spots and have had to close some points. The majority of access points remain open.

In some areas, gates are locked, however people are welcome to walk from the locked gate down to the rivers, but vehicle access won’t be possible in some places. 

Access points

Below are the maps of access points for the Ruataniwha Plains and the Heretaunga Plains.

Since 1996 the Regional Council has enhanced the accessible areas by improving entrances, providing picnic facilities and establishing areas and trails for activities such as trail biking and horse riding.

Horse jumps are located in popular riding areas. HB Cycle Trails make use of many of these areas on the Heretaunga Plains providing excellent views from the top of stopbanks.

Environmental care code

Enjoy your time at the river and leave it as you found it for others to enjoy.

We work hard to keep facilities tidy, but the cost of clearing dumped rubbish, car bodies and damaged facilities falls on the whole community. People found causing any damage will be prosecuted and if you see any illegal activity please notify the Police or the Regional Council.

  • Do not dump rubbish - increasingly we are removing bins to reduce pest and nuisance problems. It's easy to take your waste home with you to recycle or put in the domestic waste collection.

  • Only light fires in the barbecues provided and take great care when it's very dry.

  • Don't damage trees, gates or fences, tables or barbecues.

  • Camping is not permitted on the Regional Council owned river side reserves, including ALL river public access points, because of the risks of flooding - rivers can rise quickly and unexpectedly.

  • Keep vehicles to designated tracks when on stopbanks.

  • Please report any damage, dumping or burning of car bodies to Police.

  • Some areas are leased for grazing, please keep clear of stock.

Tutaekuri River

The Guppy Road carpark will be closed from 29 April 2024 – 18 May 2024 while upgrades take place. Please do not enter the work site. The cycle trail will remain open. Thank you for your patience will this work takes place.

The Tūtaekuri starts deep in the Kaweka Ranges. Before the earthquake in 1931, it used to flow out through Ahuriri Estuary behind Napier Hill but now has a common opening with the Ngaruroro. 

Access points:  Omaranui Road, Hakowhai.

Ngaruroro River

The river flows from the Kaweka Ranges and supplies water to the Heretaunga Plains underground aquifer through its gravel beds between Maraekakaho and Fernhill. The aquifer supplies water for both Napier and Hastings cities, and many farmers and growers use this water to irrigate crops.

Access points: Waitangi, Gilbertson Road, Ormond Road, Carrick Road, Omahu, Maraekakaho.

Te Awa o Mokotūāraro River (formerly Clive River)

The Te Awa o Mokotūāraro River is a remnant of the original course of the Ngaruroro River before the flood control diversion works were completed in 1969. The Te Awa o Mokotūāraro connects with the Raupare and Karamu Streams and has a huge tributary area across the Heretaunga Plains, including draining rainwater from all of Hastings and Havelock North.

Access points: Clive Bridge, entry between the two bridges, HB Cycle Trails (connecting to Hastings i-Way). Horse trail to East Clive.

The Tutaekuri, Ngaruroro and Te Awa o Mokotūāraro Rivers share a common estuarine river mouth which provides good feeding and nesting areas for migratory birds - ideal for birdwatching! Just watch where you put your feet when walking on the gravel beach.

Esk River

The Esk River is located along the Napier Taupo highway in the Esk Valley 15 minutes drive from Napier.

This area was heavily impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle and swimming is currently not recommended.

Tukituki River

The Tukituki is one of the two major rivers flowing across the Ruataniwha Plains in Central Hawke's Bay. The river flows 110km north and east from the Ruahine Ranges where the headwaters start in the same hills as the Manawatu River.

The river provides water for farms and orchards from Central Hawke's Bay through to the eastern corner of the Heretaunga Plains. During the 1880's when farming was developing, barges used to travel down the river carrying wool from Waipawa to deliver to lighters off the coast of Haumoana.

Access points: Ford Rd, Waipukurau township, Lindsay Bush, Ashcott Rd Burnside Rd, Red Bridge, Tennant Road, Black Bridge.

Waipawa River

The Waipawa River is the largest river crossing the Ruataniwha Plains. Its source is in the Ruahine Ranges and it runs north of and parallel to the Tukituki River before joining it downstream of Waipukurau. The vast gravel braided river system supplies much of the water for surrounding rural needs. 

Access points: Walker Rd, Waipawa Township, Stockade Rd, Plantation Rd, Tikokino Road. 

River access points


River Access Key

Heretaunga Plains access points

Heretaunga Plains River Access


Ruataniwha Plains access points

CHB River Access


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