Follow the Waitawheta Tramway, stopping at the various information signs to find out when, why and how the tramway was built. The tramway is relatively flat, and nice and wide. After about an hour and a half the track crosses a large suspension bridge to the site of a replica logging bogie (a tram cart that carried the massive logs). This is a great spot for lunch and to spend time taking photographs.
A short loop track near to the logging bogie offers a detour to the site of an electricity pylon dating from around the year 1900. To complete a shorter, easier trip, return from the logging bogie back down the tramway to the car park.
Alternatively, continue south along the tramline through the spectacular Waitawheta Gorge. The main track requires one river crossing but there is a bypass track that requires just a few small side stream crossings. The main track then leaves the river and through a campsite before reaching the toilet bowl waterfall, the Waitawheta Hut, and the site of the old logging mill. Return via the same track, or spend the night to explore more of the park.
Stay at Waitāwheta Hut. Information here: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/bay-of-plenty/places/kaimai-mamaku-conservation-park/things-to-do/huts/waitawheta-hut/
Day Two: Wharawhara Track to Wharawhara Road
From Waitawheta Hut, follow the Upper Waitawheta Valley Track south. You will cross side streams that can be difficult during heavy rain. The track ascends steeply up to the Wharawhara saddle junction with the Wairoa Dams Track (1 hr 30 min from the hut), then descends steeply into the Wharawhara valley to join the Wharawhara Tramway Track. The track then gradually descends, crossing several rivers as it travels down the valley. After 2 hr, the route joins the Te Rereatukahia Track southwards (the end of Wharawhara Road is about 10-min walk from this junction). Follow the Route to Wharawhara Road
Book recommendations for this region: