Halfway between Rotorua and Tauranga on State Highway 36, TECT park offers a high wire adventure course, shooting sports, motorised sports, a fenced dog area, and tracks for mountain biking, walking, and horses. Motorised activities are on the east side of the park, non-motorised on the west, and shooting activities separate from the rest. This is comforting to me because in New Zealand tramping, mountain biking and hunting areas are often shared. The mountain bike hub has a tiny pump track that has been the site of many birthday parties for cyclists on balance bikes (runner bikes) and those learning to use pedals and gears.
The start of Te Rerenga Tunnel Track is at the park entrance. It's 3.5 kilometres - or 2.5 kilometres if you take the short cut. The terrain is remarkably varied, taking you through native bush, regrowth, along the Te Rerenga Stream, through the tunnel, grassy areas, and pine forest. If you're really lucky, you'll spot a native bat here.
On our most recent visit, the kids were especially grumpy. They needed a nature wash to blow the stink off, but were so foul they refused to get out of the car. I out-stubborned them and they reluctantly started along the track. After some sprints between trees and a duel with our newfound swords, they began singing their new favourite waiata (Māori song) on repeat and Sadie (6) said, "This is really fun, I'm glad we came!" And you will, too!
Te Rerenga Tunnel Track
Distance: 3.5 kilometres or 2.5km with the short cut.
Time: 60-90 minutes.
Buggies: No. Back or front child carriers okay.
Dogs: On lead only.
Barefoot: Sharp shells on a small section of track. The rest is barefoot friendly.