TO FIND THE CACHE YOU DO NOT NEED TO LEAVE THE PATH AT ALL. The ground is fragile and unstable, and there are sudden, invisible drops leading to deep holes. Please watch your children closely in this environment. PLEASE RETURN CACHE CAREFULLY AND EXACTLY AS FOUND.
Te Kopia Scenic Reserve is located on Te Kopia Rd, on the western side of the Paeora ranges, between the rural settlements of Reporoa and Waikite Valley. The road also forms part of Te Ara Ahi - Thermal By Bike cycle trail (for more geocaches on the cycle trail see the bookmark list on this cache page). The road is very quiet and there is a small area at the entrance of the reserve where you can park your car.
I've been driving past this area for several years and seeing the steam emerge from the vegetation. Until recently one could only see a fenced off area filled with blackberry and broome, with a very decrepit "no access" sign in DOC colours. With the opening of the cycle trail and recent return of some of the Paeora Ranges land to the local iwi (Ngati Tahu - Ngati Whaoa), some weed control occurred, the path was re-constructed and a new boardwalk with viewing platform erected. This has finally allowed me to go and explore the reserve, and I am now able to introduce it to you via this geocache!
I hope you enjoy the area. Please do be careful in this unstable and fragile environment. I repeat: you do not need to leave the path to find the geocache. Just reach out and feel for it, then return carefully exactly as found to make sure it is not spotted by muggles!