Waitahinga Trails are located 12 km past Bushy Park, inland from Kai Iwi on land owned by the Whanganui Council. Over 2012 and 2013, the Wanganui Tramping Club cut and marked a number of trails catering for various fitness levels. These trails pass through bush with a large diversity of species and some impressively big rimu and rata trees including the "hug tree" and the "nail tree". Congratulations to Audrey Thompson and Basil Hooper for their vision and hard work.
NOTE: Unfortunately these trails are closed in JULY and AUGUST by insistence of the Whanganui District Council. Hopefully this situation will be changed eventually as it is a shame to lock up such a great trail system.
Take Rangitatau Road at Kai Iwi and follow it until Junction Road does off to the lift. Take Junction Road for maybe a kilometre and park at the well-signed Quarry Carpark. There is a good view from this road, but even better views from the Mt Egmont and Mt Ruapehu lookouts on the "Chicken Run" trail.
There is a large sign with a map showing all the trails 300 metres up the Quarry Road from the carpark.
Although uphill from the car park, the "Chicken Run" loop trail is an easy walk and the views from the lookouts make it well worth the effort. On route is a clearing ideal for picnics or lunch.
The Okehu ridge walk has two loop tracks, one to Croppers Clearing and return, and a longer four hour loop down to the Waitahinga Dam, once the source of Whanganui's water, via Tom and Harry's Ridges. The dam is 250 metres lower in altitude that the start of the Okehu track so the return walk involves uphill walking.
For an ideal day walk, take the Okehu ridge trail that leaves from the big signpost. Have a snack at Croppers Clearing then take Tom's track down to the Waitahinga Dam. Have lunch here, then head back along Harry's track until you reach the Okehu ridge track again. You can choose to follow this all the way back to the car park, or partway along it, take the Pines' trail. This takes you to the Quarry Road and past the entrance to the Chicken Run trail as you return to the car park.
A letter of appreciation from some visitors to Waitahinga Reserve: