A waterfall and swimming hole which have been inaccessible for the past 60 years - despite being just a stone's throw from the centre of Kerikeri - are about to be opened up to the public again.
The waterfall, which is almost as high as the famous Rainbow Falls, is on the Wairoa Stream in a bush reserve between Hone Heke and Inlet roads. As the crow flies it is at most a few hundred metres from Kerikeri Primary School.
However, the only way of reaching what was once a popular swimming spot is by a combination of bush-crashing and crossing private property.
That is about to change thanks to the joint efforts of the Kerikeri Rotary Club and Vision Kerikeri.
A plan to reopen the trail to the falls was put to the community board in 2003 but stalled due to landowners who did not want a public track crossing their land.
However, Rotary spokesman Peter Heath said a local family had now granted access across about 80m of their property, making a trail to the falls from the bottom of Pa Rd and Alderton Park a possibility.
Volunteers had already completed a 500m section of track upstream from Alderton Park, built two small footbridges and cleared about 200m of the most difficult part of the next 475m stage. They had also made good progress on the fair-weather route around "Oxbow Bend".
The two groups hope to finish the 1.5km track from Alderton Park to the waterfall by the end of 2015. Funding for a bridge spanning the stream below the waterfall has yet to be secured.
The track will ultimately connect up with Cobham Rd, where Vision Kerikeri is working on a replanting project on either side of the Wairoa Stream bridge.
Mr Heath said the waterfall was readily accessible until about 60 years ago when much of what is Kerikeri's town centre was shelter belts and orchards.
A track alongside the stream was used by orchard workers to get to Darwin Rd, as mentioned in Fiona Kidman's book At the End of Darwin Road.
Part of the track was an historic Maori route also used by British troops on their way to the Battle of Ohaeawai in 1845.
The Wairoa Stream eventually joins Kerikeri River at the bottom of Pa Rd, beneath Kororipo Pa.