We may know the Waikawa River from what we see of it at the footbridge, but around 6 Km upstream our Waikawa River is formed from two other streams: the Waikawa and the Manakau. The two streams converge about 100 metres west of Whakahoro Road. That’s the shingle road with all the letterboxes that runs north, opposite 363 Waikawa Beach Road.
The Manakau Stream comes down from the hills above South Manakau Road and Waitohu Valley Road. It runs behind Quarter Acre Cafe and Waikawa Blueberries before it crosses Takapu Road, then Waikawa Beach Road, and finally Whakahoro Road.
Aside: it’s a bit confusing that there’s a different Whakahoro Road nearby — it runs west off State Highway 1 just north of the Ngati Wehiwehi Marae.
Drive about 200 metres along Whakahoro Road and you’ll cross what looks like a filthy ditch. That’s the Manakau Stream.
The Waikawa Stream comes down from above North Manakau Road and is sourced deeper in the hills. It runs through the Waikawa Reserve then roughly parallel to Waikawa Beach Road but about 1.5 Km further north as far as Whakahoro Road, mentioned above.
Drive a further 90 metres along Whakahoro Road and look down to see the crystal clear waters of Waikawa stream before it joins Manakau Stream.
It’s quite a shock to see the difference between the two streams. Maybe if the Manakau Stream didn’t join in then the water by the footbridge would also be crystal clear.