Tuakau Bridge and Les Batkin Reserve

Tuakau Bridge and Les Batkin Reserve

Tuakau Bridge is 230 metres long and was built over the Waikato River in the early 1930s, replacing an earlier wooden bridge. It can be found to the south of the town of Tuakau, below the cliff at the top of which sits Alexandra Redoubt. It is the more westerly of the two northern bridges over the Waikato River, the other being at Mercer, just off the Waikato Expressway. The design of the bridge makes it photogenic, and sunset would be a good time to snap some pics.

Immediately next to the bridge on the northeast side is the extensive, mostly grassed, Les Batkin Reserve. The park provides river access for boats, a children’s playground, and plenty of room for a picnic or a game of cricket by the Waikato River. There is also a motor camp just along the road from the reserve. Apart from Port Waikato, this is probably the best public access point on the northern section of the river.

Once you cross the bridge to the south, turn west for Port Waikato or east for Mercer. Heading east, following the metal Murray Road is a more interesting route. The River is on the left and on the right are a number of old surviving kahikatea trees in a paddock that would once have been a swamp. The road then connects with sealed Mercer Ferry Road which takes you across the bridge to Mercer and back to the Waikato Expressway.

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