20-30 minutes

Track includes steps.

Information for this trail was last updated June 2024

Okitu Bush Scenic Reserve is located on SH35/Whangara Road, about 8 km east of central Gisborne, at the northern end of Wainui Beach. There is a parking area at the entrance to this bush reserve and a grassy picnic area with several picnic tables.

A well-graded walking track through the bush crosses over three small foot bridges and takes between 20 to 30 minutes to complete. The track leads to a lookout platform from where there is a good view of Wainui Beach and the surrounding hills. An extension of the track connects to the end of Sirrah Street.

The original vegetation in the reserve was a small remnant of modified coastal forest with broad-leaved species and puriri. Substantial plantings over the past 20 years have introduced or reintroduced many native plant species. A number of bush bird species have made their home in the reserve. Those most commonly seen (and heard) are kererū (native wood pigeon) and fantail (pīwakawaka), with occasional tūī, grey warbler and bellbirds.

Trail fly-through

History of the trail

The Okitu Scenic Reserve was created in 1974 when a 2.66ha piece of land, informally known as "Lysnar's Bush", was donated to the Crown by Winifred Frances Lysnar. The land was reserved in memory of her parents W. Douglas and Ada E. Lysnar, who were long term residents of the area. At this time, the Gisborne branch members of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand were appointed managers and guardians of the reserve.

Over a number of years, members of the Forest and Bird Society cleared away bracken and weeds, planting out some 3,500 plants to vegetate the reserve. In 1988, the management of the reserve was taken over by the Department of Conservation at the request of the Forest and Bird Society.

Tips & Logistics

Directly across the road from the Okitu Bush Scenic Reserve car park, a track can be followed up Makorori Headland/Te Kūrae o Makorori. Care needs to be taken crossing SH35 here.

A longer walk of about 1.5km can be planned from the site of the Sperm Whale Grave at the eastern end of Okitu Beach. Walk, in either direction, from the Whale Grave up Sirrah Street and join the bush track at the end of the road. Walk through the reserve and cross SH35 to join the track up Makorori Headland/Te Kūrae o Makorori. From the top of the headland, walk down the path back to Okitu Beach.