Northland trail notes

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Contents

Cape Reinga to Ahipara

Route

There are limited locations where camping is allowed between Cape Reinga and Ahipara - we suggest the following plan:

  • Day One - Cape Reinga to Twilight Beach campsite (12km)
  • Day Two - Twilight Beach campsite to Maunganui Bluff campsite (28km)
  • Day Three - Maunganui Bluff campsite to Hukatere Lodge/Utea Park (30km) 
  • Day Four - Hukatere/Utea Park to Waipapakauri Holiday Park (17km) or Ahipara (a further 14km)

Please do not free camp in the Aupōuri Forest that runs alongside 90 Mile Beach, stick to the above locations. 

Generally, there is water available in these locations - in extremely dry times the tank at Twilight Beach may run out so unless you are aware of recent rain, it is advisable to carry enough water from Cape Reinga to reach Maunganui Bluff.

From Cape Reinga, the track heads towards the West Coast, leading you down past steep cliffs and over rocks to the long, sweeping Te Werahi Beach. Note: You are best to set off at a lowish tide to make the rock scrambling and stream crossing safer & easier. Carry enough water for your first day.

Beyond Te Werahi Beach, you will experience gorgeous peach-coloured dunes, unusual dune grasses, and views of Cape Maria Van Diemen and Motuopao Island. You follow orange marker posts over Hērangi Hill, pass the turnoff to Cape Maria Van Diemen and along clifftops of flax and mānuka scrublands, before dropping down to Twilight Beach. Exit the south end of Twilight Beach on the 4WD track next to the orange marker. Just above the south end of Twilight Beach (12km from Cape Reinga) is a small campsite with toilet, water supply and a covered area - recommend stopping here, then planning to reach Maunganui Bluff (28km away) the following day. Please camp within the grassed area ONLY, not in the pine trees.

The track climbs up and over Scott Point then drops down to Ninety Mile Beach, crossing a swamp via a boardwalk and down a steep set of steps. While passing over Scott Point, you will need to watch carefully for a quad motorbike track which veers right off the main 4WD track. The marker may be very difficult to see.)

  • Note: If you come to a farm gate and a paddock, you will need to double back about 10 minutes, as you have gone the wrong way.

Follow Ninety Mile Beach south for approximately an hour until you come to Te Paki Stream mouth. This is a popular vehicle entrance/exit to the beach so be prepared for cars and tourist buses around there and further south. From the stream mouth, it is 1 hour upstream to the road should you wish to exit the beach here.

From Te Paki Stream, you walk down the beach to Ahipara. Try to time your walking to avoid high tide as in parts the water can come all the way up to the dunes and make for either wet feet or a need to walk in the hilly dunes.

Landmarks you’ll pass are The Bluff (40km from Cape Reinga), Hukatere (68km) and Waipapakauri (85km). 

Leave the beach at the Kaka Street boat ramp and find your way into Ahipara village, a popular holiday and surfing hotspot at the southern end of Ninety Mile Beach and 14km west of Kaitāia.

Conditions:

Track standard: tramping track  

Potential Hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track on Ninety Mile Beach and Kaka St boat ramp
  • Tides, waves and rivers - safer at low tide
  • Small stream crossings
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Few water sources
  • Steep drop-offs - take care on wet rocks - can be slippery

General Information

Te Araroa's northern terminus in the North Island is at Cape Reinga, which is accessible by road. Kaitaia is the most northern gateway town to Cape Reinga, servicing a population of approximately 5200. An alternative is Kerikeri, which has the advantage of being on the trail should you want to leave gear.

Tide times are important for coastal routes 

Cape Reinga

General Information

Getting there/away

InterCity - P: 09 583 5780 - E: info@intercity.co.nz - From Auckland - Kerikeri - Kaitaia

Transport to Cape Reinga Trailhead

There is no public transport, however the following operators can assist.

  • Harrisons Cape Runner - P: 09 408 1033 / 0800 227 373 freephone - E: capetours@xtra.co.nz - Departs 9am daily from Kaitaia
  • Sand Safaris - P: 09 408 1778 - E: info@sandsafaris.co.nz - 9am daily departures from Kaitaia $50 per adult
  • Salt Air - P: 09 402 8338 / 0800 472 582 - Charter flights to Cape Reinga
  • Tuatua Rentals - P: 0274 858453 - E: info@tuatuarentals.co.nz - Offers transfers from Paihia and Kerikeri (both $75) or Kaitaia ($50) - enquire about transfers to/from other parts of the Northland trail.
  • Arthur Lancaster can provide drop-off service to Cape Reinga and/or long-term parking at Paua Bay. P: 09 4097500. Arthur can also advise on commencing the walk at Spirits Bay.
  • Tuatahi Airport Shuttle - Alex Nankivell - P: 021 08753196
  • Real Far North Tours (Johanna Maaka) - P: 09 409 8152 or 020 4152 8785 - E: realfarnorthtours@gmail.com - website: realfarnorthtours.co.nz pickup from Kaitaia iSite, can include a shopping stop and/or guided tour on way to Cape Reinga. From $80pp or $60pp in groups of two or more.
  • Peter Ellicott - from Northland Taxis offers a pick up from Mangonui and drop off at the Cape for $100pp - min charge of $200 text him on 021 070 5783 - www.northlandtaxisshuttles.co.nz
  • Auckland to Cape Reinga Shuttle: Under 7hrs travel same day service (no overnight) pack & go.$200pp (3 person minimum) or private charter can be arranged. Contact: Maree Thomas bellbirdadventuretours@gmail.com or 0220298540

Detour option to accommodation

Note: 13km by stream & road to Waitiki Landing Park - SH 1 (20 kms south of Cape Reinga)

Waitiki Holiday Park - P: 09 409 7508 - E: manager@waitikiholidaypark.co.nz - Camping, cabins & backpackers, restaurants & takeaways, convenience store & internet café, drop off & pick up service for hikers.

Ninety Mile Beach

Accommodation

The Bluff
  • Maunganui Bluff campground - This is a private camp operated by a local Trust. They are supportive of Te Araroa and happy for walkers to stay here however please be sure to pay a $10/night fee (carry some cash) into the secure honesty box so the reputation of Te Araroa is maintained, or this privilege will be at risk. Take care using the water and check all taps are off - water gets very low in summer. Look to the stream on the right of the campground (when looking inland from the beach), there is a bathtub there for water resupply - while the water is fresh from a nearby spring, we'd still recommend treating. Please respect that walkers are allowed to camp here with permission, be sure to camp on the grassed area of the campsite and don't go into the pine forest to camp.
Hukatere
Waipapakauri

Ahipara

Getting there/away

Busabout Kaitaia - P: 09 408 1092 - E: admin@cbec.co.nz

Accommodation

Resupply

Superette Supermarket - 4 Takahe St, Ahipara - P: 09 409 4828

Kaitaia

General Information

Getting there/away

Accommodation

Main Street Lodge - P: 09 408 1275 - E: mainstreet@xtra.co.nz - 235 Commerce St, Kaitaia. Private rooms, dorm rooms, kitchen, luggage storage, assistance with bookings.

Resupply

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The Northland Forests

Route

The Herekino Forest has now closed due to Kauri Dieback - as a result of this we ask that you follow the following suggestion from the boat ramp on Ninety Mile Beach, please follow the Ahipara road to Kaitāia (18km) please be careful on this road. From Kaitāia walkers will need to catch a lift (the road walk is very dangerous as it is state highway 1) to Ruaroa Road (5km). You can then walk up that road to until you come to Takahue Road (6km) and then walk to Takahue (4km) and rejoin the trail. Turn SE on Takahue Saddle Road for 2.5km alongside the Takahue River until the junction with Warner Rd.

Raetea Forest Track - 18km / 9.5hr

From the junction with Warner Rd, follow the old Takahue Saddle Road (just a track now) as it turns away from the River and climbs steeply through farmland for 2km. At the saddle, turn off left/east into the Raetea Forest. It's a rough climb up to the ridge and on to a 580m peak.

No camping on Warner Road beside the river.

There is a small camping area approx 1.5km up the hill that has a good fresh water supply, please note that the water supply after this stop is limited

The Raetea Forest has some of the highest peaks in Northland, so expect cloud and rain. The bush track follows the ridgeline on a largely west-east basis past:

  • The 744m Raetea summit 
  • An unnamed highpoint of 727m (past a junction with a track leading north on a route out to SH1)
  • The 638m Kumetewhiwhia summit
  • The 445m Umaumakaroro summit

The track then descends through bush and private farmland to Mākene Rd, Mangamuka. The exit is into the yard of a house - they are used to walkers and happy to have you pass through - a hello and/or thank-you always goes down well. There are a number of working dogs here whose bark is literally worse than their bite. Walk steadily down the driveway and you'll be fine.

Walk northeast to the junction with SH1. From the junction with SH1 & Mākene Rd, keep following SH1 for 6.5km. This takes you through Mangamuka settlement and then south to Mangamuka Bridge. Turn east onto Omahuta Road and walk 5km to the junction with Jacksons Road & Omahuta Forest Roads. (This connection 13km / 3hr)

Omahuta Puketī Forest Track - 30km / 2 days

Warning: Some beehives en route, poison and trapping for possums, rats and mustelids occurs within this forest. Goat control operations using contract hunters also occur within this forest.

For forest hygiene and visitor safety reasons it is requested that in Omahuta and Puketī Forests camping is restricted to the sites recommended by DOC - those being Apple Dam and Puketī Forest HQ (eastern edge of Puketī Forest). These sites have been identified for camping as they are away from kauri therefore reducing the risk of spreading kauri dieback disease and will be poison exclusion zones for possum control operations. Therefore please plan around using only these two sites.

Omahuta Puketī Forest Track - 31km / 2 days 

From the junction, head east on well-formed single track forestry roads (vehicles are rare). 700m up Omahuta Forest Rd, take the left fork onto Kauri Sanctuary Rd. Keep travelling uphill for approx. another 6km past an airstrip on your left and occasional beehives tucked into the forest (just button up and walk gently past). The next major junction is where Kauri Pā Road runs off left. That’s the one to follow. 

Omahuta Puketī Forest Track is a challenging, wet route using river canyons - subject to flash floods. You need good equipment and navigation skills. Only go in dry weather. 

Warning: Some beehives en route. 

Detour to Apple dam campsite: if you want to camp, turn right into Kauri Sanctuary Road for 500m. A grassy 4WD track runs downhill on the left to a modest but pretty campsite with water tank/stream/dam and a long drop toilet. The kauri sanctuary is further down this same road, now closed for Kauri dieback.

Back on route, continue along the well-formed Kauri Pā Road a further 1km, then fork right onto Blackbridge Road (more 4WD track). 

Follow along to cross a concrete ford over a stream (NB: if water is flowing over the top of it, do not proceed as this means water levels in the Mangapukahukahu gorge will be too dangerous). Then climb a further 1.5km until, at the top of the climb, a 4WD track leads left along a soft ridge leading down to Mangapukahukahu Stream. The track is easy to follow down, past two old forestry skid sites. At the second/lower one, a track goes through the pampas grass on the right-hand side. It leads to a rough track (with orange markers) down through trees to the Mangapukahukahu Stream. 

The stream through a gorge and is subject to flash floods in heavy rain.

Do not try to go further if there is heavy rain in the region. Return back to the wet weather bypass around the North of the forest.

As long as the weather is clear, walk SE crisscrossing between shoal banks in the stream for 2.5km until meeting up with the Waipapa River. Immediately south (right) of the junction between Mangapukahukahu and the Waipapa, a track leads up the bank and descends to a shoal where there's a shallow crossing of the main river. 

A short but very muddy climb up the bank meets up with the Lower Waipapa River Track. Recently upgraded, it is well marked. 

Walk 2.5km northeast to the streamside junction with the Pukeatua Ridge Track. (The alternative is to try wading between shoal banks in/out of the Waipapa River but there are some deep sections). 

The Pukatea Ridge Track climbs steeply, (past a small freedom campsite 30m up the track) and then on up steps to the ridge through young kauri for 3.5km to meet the Takapau Track. 

From the junction of Pukatea Ridge and Takapau Tracks, head northeast for 300m to the junction with Walnut Track and Pirau Ridge Road (a well-formed 4WD road). Follow Pirau Ridge Road east for 9 km to the Puketī Forest Headquarters, Waiare Rd. There's a campsite here. Take care on Pirau Ridge Road as vehicles and cyclists also use this road. 

Wet weather bypass option: Continue south (from Omahuta Road turnoff) on SH1 for 22km, turn left into Puketī Road and walk 9km to Waiare Rd, turn left and walk a further 2.5km to rejoin the Te Araroa route onto the Mangakaretu Track (Puketōtara Farm).

Conditions

Track standard: tramping track

Potential hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track. Take care walking on roads, particularly SH1
  • Poisons and traps
  • Forestry operations. Take care between Diggers Valley Road and Waiotehue Road.
  • River canyons - flash floods. Use bypass in times of heavy rain.
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers.
  • Small stream crossings
  • Weather extremes
  • Few water sources - carry plenty of water, refill whenever you can.
  • Steep drop-offs. Bush track can get muddy and slippery so take care.

Background information

This information refers to the Herekino Forest. It is not currently part of Te Araroa. From Ahipara the recommended route now follows the main road northeast to Kaitaia and then southeast through Takahue to Raetea Forest.

Local Maori know the forest as Orowhana, and the Herkino Saddle as Te Arai, the door, where spirits pause before fleeing north to Cape Reinga. Poupou totems mark the sacred site and the central pou is carved in honour of Taunaha, an ancestor.

The Herekino (Orowhana) Track was a joint project between Te Araroa Trust and the Department of Conservation. Two other DOC tracks diverge from the Herekino Forest track - a tramp from Herekino Saddle through to the Kaitaia-Awaroa Road via Pukepoto Access Road takes 6.5hrs, and the tramp through to Larmer Road end, via the Kaitaia Walkway takes 11 hours. Te Araroa Trust acknowledges the assistance given by the people of Whakamaharatanga Marae, also Te Runanga o Te Rarawa, and the Herekino Landcare Group in establishing the main track.

Water: It is recommended when crossing the Rangiheke Stream that you refill your water supplies if required.

The Northland Forests

General information

Far North I-SITE Visitor Information Centre - Te Ahu, Corner Matthews Avenue and South Road, Kaitaia - P: 09 408 9450 - E: kaitaia@visitnorthland.co.nz

Local transport/support

Some local accommodation places will provide transfers. Ask when you book.

Peter Griffiths of Takahue - Can provide a drop-off and pick up service for a small fee and some backpacker accommodation is available. Contact him in advance on P: 09 408 3685.

Local guide

Roger Gale - P: 09 409 3807 - E: roger@treeskills.co.nz - is available for guiding through Herekino and Raetea Forests

Accommodation

  • Tramp'Inn (Alan and Hayley Tubbs) - 1479 Diggers Valley Rd (eastern exit of Herekino Forest) - P: 09 4088851 - E: bullandchicken@xtra.co.nz. Rustic 13-bunk hut and tent sites (by koha - $10/night), (cold) shower, drinking water and cooking facilities. Tramp'Inn is not on the recommended Te Araroa route for 2019. It is accessible from Diggers Valley Road via a path marked as Veza Road on some maps and may be convenient for hikers choosing to follow the road from Ahipara around the southern edge of Herekino Forest to rejoin the previous Te Araroa route after Herekino.
  • Peter Griffiths of Takahue - P: 09 4083685 - Can provide limited backpacker accommodation.
  • Makene Rd - Eastern exit of Raetea Forest. Camping now available - toilet, river, picnic table and washing line. By donation - trishterran@gmail.co.nz
  • DOC Puketi Recreation Centre (Campsite and Hut) - Waiare Rd, Puketi Hut booked through DOC - Pewhairangi / Bay of Islands - E: bayofislandsbooking@doc.govt.nz
  • Overnight Camping is available at the Old School Grounds (now Takahue Marae), on NW corner of Takahue crossroads. Tenting, Toilets and water refill available and $10 koha appreciated. For any concerns call Karen Murray 021 0754 246.

Resupply

Mangamuka Bridge Dairy - SH 1 Mangamuka Bridge - P: 09 401 9184 - takeaways available. Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 7am - 6pm / Sat: 8.30am - 5pm / Sun: 9am - 3pm (these hours may shorten in winter). Hours may vary. In October 2019 Mangamuka Bridge Dairy advised that they will be closed on Saturdays until further notice.

It is recommended when crossing the Rangiheke Stream that you refill your water supplies if required.

Puketi Recreation Area

DOC Puketi Recreation Area - is located in Puketi Forest, near the Puketi Forest Hut

Turn off SH10 at Pungaere Rd, 600m north of Waipapa and follow signs to the camp. Access: 7km of gravel. Accessible to vehicles and you can park next to your campsite.

Location - NZTM2000 coordinates: E1672203, N6103217 / Latitude: -35.25809716, Longitude: 173.75371779

Campsite Fees - Bookings are not required for the campground. Adult (18+ years): $8 per night, Child (5-17 years): $3 per night, Infant (0-4 years). FreePay at the self-registration stand at the campsite. Please ensure you have the correct funds to pay your camping fees, there is no change facility on site.

Campsite Facilities:

  • Approximately 20 campsites
  • Cold showers
  • Long drop toilets (there is usually toilet paper available, however it pays to take your own)
  • Cold water tap
  • Fires are currently not allowed due to the increased fire risks during summer

Puketi Forest Hut

Puketi Forest Hut - There are several places that you can access the recreational area from. The recommended entry point is from SH10 approximately 600m north of the Waipapa Township.

Turn left along Pungaere Road past the sign directing you to the Puketi Forest Park. Follow Pungaere Road for approximately 15 km. Take care as part of the road is gravelled. At a T-intersection, turn left, follow the road for about 2 km. The entrance of the recreational area will be on your right.

Puketi Forest Hut Fees - Adult (18+ years): $18 per night, Youth (11-17 years): $9 per night, Child/Infant: (0-10 years): free

Bookings are essential. Book Puketi Forest Hut online

If using alternative routes, refer to local maps as there is no DOC signage at other possible entry points to the Puketi Forest.

Puketi Forest Hut Facilities:

  • 18 beds (two-tier platform bunks)
  • Cold tap water - The water is not treated, you may wish to boil it before drinking
  • Electricity
  • Gas hob with wok burner
  • Underbench fridge (small)
  • Indoor fireplace (wood is sometimes available – check the wood store, otherwise take your own)
  • 1 cold shower
  • 2 non-flush toilets
  • Indoor tables
  • Mattresses

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Mangakaretu to Kerikeri

Route

Mangakaretu Track - 20km / 6 hours

From the Puketī Recreation Centre, walk south down Waiare Road for 3km. Cross the stile, into Landcorp’s Puketōtara Farm. 

Follow the markers and stiles and watch out for the farm animals. Move gently. Never put animals in a corner or separate mother and offspring. When going through a herd of heifers or steers, be steadfast but wary as they are excitable. 

This 3km marked route crosses rolling pasture to Mangakaretu Road. Follow this gravel road 5km in a northeast direction before re-entering the farm at a marked stile. Follow the markers/stiles northeast before turning south to sidle around Maungaparerua (241m), with its wide outlook across the Bay of Islands.

The route then traverses some soft ridge paddocks in a southeast direction before turning sharply east and dropping steeply down towards Maungaparerua Stream. At the bottom of the hill, a stile leads over the fence into the scrub and a short track winds down to the Maungaparerua Stream. 

Follow the stream northeast for 1.5km to its junction with the Kerikeri River.

Continue on to cross the river on a swing bridge and follow the track under the SH10 bridge. After coming under the bridge, come up from the riverside into the parking bay/picnic area adjacent to SH10.

Kerikeri River Track - 6.5km / 2 hours

Use the stile from the picnic area on SH10 and follow the Te Araroa and orange track markers around a private residence before coming back alongside the Kerikeri River.

There can be from time to time single-wire electric fences along this stretch - generally easy to get across or under. However, take care to avoid getting a shock. There's an electrified gate to go through, easily done using the plastic insulated handle - leave it as you find it.

Continue following orange markers through pleasant tōtara groves alongside the river for 3km until joining with the Department of Conservation's Kerikeri Walkway near Rainbow Falls Rd. There one can view the 27m high Rainbow Falls that tumble over the basalt lava fields which flowed into the river valley after long past volcanic eruptions. 

From then on, the track is a well-developed and marked bush track. It passes through stands of young kauri & tōtara. It also passes the remains of a powerhouse built as part of a hydro-electric generation scheme which operated between 1930-67. 

Follow this track all the way to the picnic area/carpark area on Landing Road, then cross the footbridge over the river to New Zealand's oldest house, Kemp House (1821-22) and the world-renowned Stone Store (1832-36) on the Kerikeri Basin.

Conditions

Track standard: Easy tramping track

Potential hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track.
  • Farming operations
  • Small stream crossings
  • Open drains
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
  • Steep drop-offs Occasional washouts next to rivers/streams - take care

Mangakaretu Track alternative bypass route: Puketotara connection

  • From the Puketi Recreation Centre, follow Waiare Rd south for 4.5kms
  • Turn east onto Puketotara Rd for 13.5kms to SH 10.
  • Turn north on SH 10 for 600m. On the eastern side of the road, just over the bridge and on the north banks of the Kerikeri River is the picnic layover (no facilities).

Kerikeri

Background information

The Kerikeri Basin is where Maori welcomed missionaries in 1819 to establish a Church Mission Settlement. This established the framework for New Zealand's bi-cultural society. Kerikeri is both a beautiful place in the Bay of Islands, and one of New Zealand's most historic sites.

General information

Getting there/away

Accommodation

Resupply

Local Transport / Assistance

Derek Miller lives in Haruru Falls and is happy to provide assistance to TA walkers - transport etc. - anywhere between Puketi and Russell Forests. Derek spikebowler@hotmail.com 0212 544 919 or 09 4027717

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Kerikeri to Waitangi

Route

From the historic Kemp House and Stone Store on Kerikeri Basin, leave Kerikeri Road and follow the Kororipo Pā Track, which curves around the headland to the southeast. 

Once on the headland, follow the wide pasture track southwest until a Department of Conservation marker post identifies a track heading southeast down into a gully and over a pedestrian bridge to Pā Road. 

Walk southeast up Pā Road and turn northeast into Kerikeri Inlet Road. Continue on for 2km to a forest gate and the northern end of Te Wairoa Road, the start of the Waitangi Forest Track. This route is a mix of footpathes, grass, easy walking tracks and road berm.

Waitangi Forest Track - 14.5km / 3 hours

As it leaves Kerikeri Inlet Road the trail ascends gradually through young pines for 2.6km to a road junction. At this junction head west, leaving Te Wairoa Road and onto Skyline Rd.

Skyline Road twists and turns for 8.7km through the forest. Keep a close eye on navigation, or use a GPS to connect to Te Puke Rd.

The Waitangi Forest is a commercial forest, and forestry operations, including logging and log truck transport, are present in the forest most months of the year. The Skyline Road avoids the areas currently scheduled for logging. It is important to stick to this route. Heed all the signs and do not enter into areas that are marked as closed. If you encounter a road closed sign or banner across the road, it means you have left the designated walkway and are on the wrong route. Retrace your steps until you are back on the Skyline Rd.

At this point, anyone with an interest in Te Araroa history may want to make a quick detour by turning northwest up Te Puke Road and a short way up you can see a plaque and the Te Araroa cairn, assembled from local volcanic rock by Kerikeri sculptor Chris Booth and restored in 2014. This marks the opening of this route; the very first Te Araroa track.

Turn southeast onto Te Puke Road and continue on 1km to pass Mt Bledisloe (105m) before turning East onto Haruru Falls Rd, leaving the forest behind you emerge onto Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi. Follow the road through the Waitangi Golf Course past the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and continue down to the Waitangi Bridge.

Conditions

Track standard: easy tramping track

Potential hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track
  • Forestry operations
  • Bikes and horses

Kerikeri

Background Information

Kororipo Pa served as a coastal village, a fortified base for war parties and a trading post

Accommodation

Pagoda Lodge & Camping Ground - 81 Pa Rd, Kerikeri - P: 09 407 8617 or M: 021 071 8688 - E: info@pagoda.co.nz

Local transport / Assistance

Derek Miller lives in Haruru Falls and is happy to provide assistance to TA walkers - transport etc anywhere between Puketi and Russell Forests - Derek - spikebowler@hotmail.com 0212 544 919 or 09 402 7717

Waitangi

Original Te Araroa brochure

Background information

Te Araroa’s first-ever track-opening plaque 7 February 7 1995. Then-Prime Minister, Jim Bolger whisked a yellow tarpaulin off a local volcanic stone embedded with lines from A. R.D. Fairburn’s poem ‘To a Friend in the Wilderness’–

I could be happy, in blue and fortunate weather,

Roaming the country between you and the sun

South of here, the trail follows the same route as the path that once connected the now-vanished Maori village Okura with Waitangi. It passes Mt Bledisloe (105m) and a short diversion to the summit lookout is worthwhile. The large swathe of land on view from this low summit, includes the Waitangi Treaty Grounds below. The track descends past Mt Bledisoe before turning east (left) onto Haruru Falls Rd then Tau Henare Drive and past the Waitangi Golf Course, to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Open daily from 9am -6pm (January and February) and (9am - 5pm) during the rest of the year.

Daily guided tours and Māori cultural performances are available.

On February 6th 1840, New Zealand’s founding document was signed here between Lieutenant-Governor Hobson, representing the British Crown and Māori chiefs. The manicured lawns and the solemn kaitiakitanga that surround the place indicate the importance now placed on the treaty. The Treaty Grounds (including the colonial Treaty House) and 1000 acres of land were gifted to the nation in 1932 by the former Governor-General, Lord Charles Bledisloe. As a British aristocrat, he perhaps saw more clearly than Pākehā New Zealanders then did what the Treaty of Waitangi meant to Māori, and the nation. Te Whare Runanga (carved meeting house) was opened on the 6 February 1940, 100 years after the signing. It stands facing the Treaty House, the two buildings together symbolising the partnership agreed between Māori and the British Crown, on which today’s Aotearoa New Zealand is founded.

Whare Waka Café is located within the Treaty Grounds. Hangi and Concert evenings are scheduled from 1 December to the end of March on Tuesday and Thursday evening.

General Information

  • There are many side roads in this forest so take care you are on the correct road.

  • The track passes through the Waitangi Endowment Forest - part of New Zealand’s conservation estate, a further gift to the nation by Lord Bledisloe, in 1936.

  • The Waitangi Treaty Grounds, are open daily from 9am - 6pm (January and February) and 9am - 5pm during the rest of the year. Daily guided tours and Maori cultural performances are available.

Local transport / Assistance

Derek Miller lives in Haruru Falls and is happy to provide assistance to TA walkers - transport etc anywhere between Puketi and Russell Forests Derek - spikebowler@hotmail.com 0212 544 919 or 09 402 7717

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Paihia to Opua Coastal Walkway

Route

From the Waitangi Bridge, follow the coastal Marsden Road via beach or footpath south through Paihia township.

At the southern end of Paihia Beach (i.e. junction of Marsden & Seaview Roads by toilets/carpark), you have 2 options:

  1. When the tide is out, follow the coastline from Paihia Beach around to Haumi Bay.
  2. If the tide is in, take the footpath south on Seaview Road to Haumi Bay.

From the southern end of Haumi Bay, follow the signed track beside/under the bridge and around the coast to the east until you reach Ōpua.

The track provides wonderful views of the Veronica Channel.

If planning to kayak to Waikare it is easier to launch from the Paihia beach. Details in Waikare Connection information.

Conditions

Track standard: mixed grade

Potential hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track
  • Take care around water, slippery rocks.

Paihia

A full range of amenities is available at Paihia (population 1770)

General information

i-SITE Visitor Information Centres - The Wharf, Marsden Rd, Paihia - P: 09 402 7345 or 0800 363 463 - E: paihia@visitnorthland.co.nz -For further information on Paihia and Russell: www.paihianz.co.nz and W: www.russellnz.co.nz

Local transport / Assistance - Between Puketi and Russell Forests

Derek Miller lives in Haruru Falls and is happy to provide assistance to TA walkers - transport etc - anywhere between Puketi and Russell Forests. Derek spikebowler@hotmail.com 0212 544 919 or 09 4027717

Getting there/away

Accommodation

There are many options available, including:

  • YHA Bay of Islands (Paihia), Corner of Kings & MacMurray Rds, Paihia - P: 09 402 7487 E: bayofislands.paihia@yha.co.nz
  • Waitangi Holiday Park & Mayfair Lodge backpackers - 1 Tahuna Rd, Waitangi - P: 0800 55 6660 or 09 402 786 - E: waitangiholidaypark@xtra.co.nz
  • Pickle Parrot - a family owner-operated small backpackers hostel in Paihia. It caters for travellers wanting a retreat-like hideaway too enjoy, relax and have some time out. Enjoy the friendly relaxed peaceful non-party atmosphere. It welcomes and caters for Te Araroa walkers and NOMADS. Open-air living in the sheltered sunny subtropical courtyard - chill on the deck /around the barbeque, in the hammock or relax in a garden setting. Enjoy the trees, the birdlife, the company of others at this hideaway. And its only 2 minutes walk from the bars, cafes, local convenience store, shops and beaches. Also a 2 min walk to Bay Beach Hire - to hire kayaks. 10 minutes walk from the drop-off point for the Intercity or Stay buses. 2 minutes walk from the Kiwi bus stop in Kings Rd. It provides a free pickup from the Info Centre and buses. Please phone in advance to request a pickup. It has excellent clean rooms and facilities (hire towels are available), single, double & twin rooms, also 2, 4 or 6-bed dorms, fully equipped kitchen and laundry/drying facilities, extra drying facilities for walkers & backpackers, (it allows tents sites for Te Araroa walkers only), off-street parking with 24hr security cameras, and free secure luggage storage. Policies: a non-party hostel, quiet policy from 10pm, people checking in after 8pm or coming on the 10pm bus please email or call with an expected time of arrival. Tel: +64 (0)9 4026222. 
  • Centabay Lodge - 27 Selwyn Rd, Paihia - P: 0800 402746 - E: centabay@xtra.co.nz

Accommodation en route

Resupply

Return to top^

Waikare Connection 

Two options exist to negotiate the Waikare Inlet through to the start of the Russell Forest Track - by water or by road.

There is also the option to ferry to Russell from Paihia, or Okiato from Ōpua and connect with Sheryl Wikaere and travel with her to Waikare. There will be a cost and this is unsuitable for bigger groups. 

By water

Kayak up the inlet with Bay Beach Hire, phone 0800 611440 or 021 1894204. This company is based on the beach at Paihia, and if you're going to kayak up to Waikare, Paihia is a better start point than Ōpua. It's better to travel in a group or two or three, which will reduce costs. The paddle from Paihia to Waikare takes between 3-4hr depending on weather conditions and fitness levels, and should only be done by persons with some experience. Cellphone reception is zero once past Marriott Island so GPS or good map skills are needed.

Pricing - 2 persons $100pp, 3 persons $90pp, 4 persons $80pp, 5 persons $75pp, 6 persons or more $70pp.

Includes kayak hire, pack transport to Waikare, kayak pickup, dry bags, maps, full safety equipment.

Bay Beach Hire

Conditions

Track standard: mixed grade

Potential hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track. If kayaking, be alert for other water users
  • Poisons & traps
  • Small stream crossings
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold

By road

From Opua, take the vehicular ferry over the Veronica Channel to Okiato. From there, follow Aucks Rd for 4.5km to its junction to the Russell-Whakapara Rd. Turn right and follow that road for 10km before turning right onto Waikare Rd. A further 7km brings you to Waikare landing, and Waikare Valley Rd directly opposite.

If you want a  more relaxing route between exiting the ferry and joining with the Russell-Whakapara Rd, then turn left into Pipiroa Rd soon after leaving the ferry and link to the “Okiato to Russell Walkway”. This goes through wetland, bush, and around cliffs to rejoin Aucks Rd just before its junction with the Russell-Whakapara Rd.  It is several kilometres longer than walking directly through to the Russell-Whakapara Rd on Aucks Rd, but does take you off-road and is a good coastal meander if you have time. 

Conditions

  • Vehicles on road or track If kayaking, be alert for other water users
  • Poisons & traps
  • Small stream crossings
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold

Russell Forest to Whangarei Heads

Route

  • Note: Some parts of Russell Forest have been affected by kauri dieback disease - Please take care and follow instructions to wash boots on way in and way out of the forest. A Rāhui (traditional Māori precautionary closure) has been applied at the Punaruku Road end of the track and the entry/exit point, for the time being, is via Papakauri Road.

This is a really enjoyable section where - if you're lucky - you'll meet some of the finest Trail Angels Te Araroa has to offer!

Russell Forest Track - 18km / 8 hours

From the Waikare landing, walk Waikare Valley Road past the Waikare School, urupā (cemetery) and farms 3km to a road bridge across the Waikare River. It then begins to narrow, and after a further 1km, you must cross the Waikare River. On a good day, this is no more than ankle-deep, and you can cross adjacent to the twisted remains of a concrete power pole laid on the river bed. It's a good opportunity to wash your boots and equipment on your way in and out of the forest - Russell Forest has confirmed cases of kauri dieback. After rain, crossing the river can be dangerous, please take care.

The track ahead runs parallel to the Papakauri Stream. This track is a Māori road, a surveyed access into Māori land blocks where the public does not have access by right. It was made part of Te Araroa after a series of meetings at Waikare Marae with the landowners. Please treat it with respect. After 1.5km, the track tails out, and for the next 4km you're walking up the stream. This 4km across shoals and boulders will take longer than you anticipate, and you shouldn't attempt the route after or during heavy rain. If conditions are right though, it’s a beautiful walk.

Where the stream finally intersects the Russell Forest Walkway, follow signage left (east) out to Papakauri Road/Russell Road.

Turn right to head south on Russell Road. From the junction of Punaruku Road and Russell Road, continue south passing the Ōākura turnoff (2.7km) and the small settlement of Mōkau (4km) until reaching the junction of Russell Road & Webb Road, Helena Bay. From the junction of Russell and Webb Road, follow Webb Road 1km to the start of the Helena Ridge Track. 

Helena Ridge Track - 9km / 4 hours

From Webb Road, climb the stile under the "High Chapparal" sign and make use of the cleaning station to ensure no dirt/mud remains on your footwear. 

We follow an old farm track that sidles around steep pasture where mānuka trees are regenerating. Through a small patch of bush before the benched track ends and we begin to climb a steep hill to meet a ridgeline that undulates through regenerating bush. 

While there is the occasional short scramble, the track is well-formed and easy (though uphill most of the way) walking.

  • Note: We come through here with agreement from a number of landowners so please respect this and do not make camp anywhere on this track. 

At the highest point, the track turns east, alternating between pasture, farm track and native bush. Here you can enjoy glimpses of the magnificent canopy of large native trees below and the coast in the distance.

  • Note: When on farm tracks you may encounter some closed gates, and often, stretchy electrified wires - carefully use the plastic handles to open and leave gates open or closed as you found them.

At the very top there is another cleaning station and please use this to again carefully remove mud from your footwear.

The last kilometre is an easy gravel farm track bringing you to Kaiikanui Road - turn left (east) here and walk 1km to the start of the Morepork-Onekainga Track.

Morepork-Onekainga Track - 13km / 4-5 hours

From Kaiikanui Road, enter DOC’s Kaiikanui Forest and 200m in, make use of the cleaning station to ensure no dirt/mud remians on your footwear. Follow a well-benched track for about 4km, past Hansens Hill (where the bench turns sharply northeast).

Be aware that around this 4km mark, the track moves off into the bush to the right off the bench. At this junction, there are few large trees for markers so it can be missed. The route follows markers through trees to meet up with the forest’s northeast boundary fence. It follows the fenceline much of the way down into a gully before a steep climb up to a cleared and grassy high point (218m) with spectacular views out to the coast and the Poor Knights Islands. You are now on private land belonging to the Waetford whānau (family), so please respect the privilege.

Continue on old bush tracks in a southeast direction down ridgelines to some pretty little streams before climbing steeply all the way up again (174m down then up). At the top, you climb stiles onto well-formed farm tracks. After 500m, turn left off the farm track and cross 200m through a small pine plantation (there are no markers allowed on these pines so navigate carefully) to a boundary fence just west of the Onekainga Trig (227m) and more views. Stay on the track and follow the fenceline past the pine and then down the ridgeline in the native bush for 1.5km. By now you have left the Waetford block, and are in the Harman’s farm and just as you leave the bush, have lovely views over the inner Whananaki estuary. There is another cleaning station here and again, please remove all mud from your footwear before continuing.

For the last 800m, you begin following the markers down the fenceline and then cross a pasture (look for the lone tree) then down the other fenceline and along a small creek. There may be magnificent Charolais bulls grazing. If so, walk slowly and quietly, waiting for them to move if need be. At the southern end of the property, over the stile, you emerge onto Whananaki North Road.

  • Please note: Private farmland and kiwi and pateke nesting area; Open daylight hours only; No dogs, horses, bikes, guns, fires or camping. Electric fences.

Walk 800m southeast along Whananaki North Road. Look for the track sign in the bush on the south side. The track leaves the road and circles around a paddock fenceline to reach a stop bank on the side of the Whananaki Estuary. From there, the track follows along the Estuary to the Whananaki Footbridge, entrance to the Whananaki Holiday Park and the Village.

Whananaki Coastal Track - 7km / 2.5 hours

From Whananaki North village, there’s a track next to the school which leads to the footbridge. Once across, head east along the estuary (if the tide is high, there is a 1km detour by road around the back of the settlement) around the small settlement and over the spit before heading south on Pukekawa Road parallel to the shore. 

There is a possible diversion via a short, steeper track to the Capitaine Bougainville Memorial on the north point of Oruaea Bay. Great views from here along the coast.

  • Please note: there is limited beach access from the track. That is, only at Sheltered Bay. 

Beyond Pitokuku Point, a grassy track goes behind private baches and over a stile to join up with a well-graded pōhutukawa-lined farm track/driveway with excellent views of the coast and the Poor Knights Islands. Continue on the driveway until reaching the gate at McAuslin Road.

Leaving the gate at the north end of McAuslin Road, head south down the road and turn east onto Matapōuri Road. Follow the road (looking out for traffic) past Sandy Bay and Woolleys Bay, enjoying the beautiful beaches as you go. Just before Matapōuri Bay, the road climbs over a small hill and you pass DOC’s walkway to Whale Bay, which adds a spectacular 1km to your walk for those wanting a small diversion. 

When you arrive into Sandy Bay turn right onto Matapōuri Road and head west inland for approx 3km. Turn left onto Kaiatea Road for 3.5km

Turn left into Te Toiroa Road. Stay on this road. The name of this road changes to Pukenui Road which you follow until you turn right onto Waiotoi Road. This takes you all the way into the seaside village of Ngunguru. 

Ngunguru

From Waiotoi Road, turn right/southwest onto Ngunguru Road. Just 200m down this road is the Ngunguru Village shops. If you need food supplies, now is a good time to get them as the next shops on the trail are 2-3 days walk away.

The Ngunguru River Boat Crossing is another 1km walk past the shops southwest along Ngunguru Road. Take the first left into Pāpaka Road and walk 80m to the edge of the estuary. It is essential to ring or text James Johnston 24 hours prior to your boat ride on 021 0242 1632.

James will do his best to pick you up at a time that suits you - text ahead to ask.

The boat arrives at Nikau Bay Camp and Cabins. Here you have the option of staying the night either tenting or in a cabin. Hot showers and kitchen facilities are also available, all at discounted rates to Te Araroa walkers. 

1km past Nikau Bay Camp you come to a "T junction" in the road giving you 2 options to cross the Horahora River.

  • OPTION 1: Turning right (West) is a free 19km mainly road detour trail.

Or

  • OPTION 2: Turning left (East) is a direct 3.5km Trail costing $5/person (paid at Nikau Bay Camp) passing through private Māori land.

Please note: this is a low-tide or near to low-tide trail option. You will wade through knee/waist height water on a sand base. James at Nikau Bay Camp will provide you with tide times and river crossing info should you decide to chose this Trail option.

Mackerel Forest Track - 4km / 1.5 hours

The track passes through private forest and may be subject to occasional closures due to forestry operations. 

  • Open daylight hours only.
  • NO dogs, guns, vehicles, camping or fires.
  • Two river crossings - never cross flooded rivers.

From the forestry gate, the track follows Mackerel Road (a forest road) largely downhill through a pine forest. At the bottom of the hill, it crosses the Waitangi River which is usually knee/thigh depth. From there, the track follows the river bank through a recently harvested area of the forest.

It then turns South to meet and cross the Tāheke River – at the shallower ford between the deeper pools - and clambers up the southern bank. The track continues on the true right river bank until meeting an old logging track that climbs steeply up and around a pine-covered hill before dropping down to a logging gate on Pātaua North Road.

From Mackerel Forest Track logging gate, follow Pātaua North Road 13km to the Pātaua North settlement.

  • Please note that once you near the coast, it is private land between the road and the beach so, unfortunately, walking the beach is not an option here - please stick to the road.

Taiharuru Estuary Route - 7km / 2 hours

From the Pātaua River footbridge, walk south on the main road out of Pātaua. After 1.5km look for a grassed Council Reserve on the left where Pātaua South Road runs along the Taiharuru Estuary.

Walk through the reserve, and head southeast to the rocky point ahead.

On rounding that, and crossing the small stream, head for the 2 white marker poles out on the sandbank.

After rounding the next point, you will be facing southwest at the corner.

If you wish to cross over the estuary, proceed along the water's edge until a pole with an orange triangle becomes visible: the shallowest place."

Tide information (use Marsden Point information)

Alternatively - to enjoy some Northland hospitality - just after the point, a wide gap in the mangroves leads past electric fencing to an unfenced grass area. Through the gate is Beasley Road. Turn left onto the gravel road, and Tidesong B&B is 400m ahead. "Drinks, meals, hot shower, campsites and beds available; and a boat crossing to keep feet dry if the tide's high.". Contact: www.tidesong.co.nz or ph 09 4361959 . Happy to accept Koha (donation). 

If you are not heading to Tidesong and are ready to cross, stay well out beyond the mangroves and head for the furthest white pole ahead (orange marker) marking the shallowest crossing place.

Look for the prominent bare clay bank, south side, (orange marker), and walk up to cross the stile on top. Follow the southeast fenceline over the pasture, then along a driveway to Taiharuru Road (opposite #406).

  • Note: This accessway is public land. Please ensure at all times that you do not enter private property.

Turn southwest down Taiharuru Road for 500m to Harambee Road. 1km up this road is the small parking area.

Kauri Mountain Track - 3km / 1.5 hours

The track starts by winding up a long driveway, past private homes. (Use the stiles provided and leave gates as you find them as sheep sometimes graze the driveway). The coastal views north are spectacular. 

Near the top of the driveway, follow orange markers to climb over a stile & up through pasture, then regenerating bush to the trig (where the view is blocked by bush). From there, follow the orange-marked bush track down the southern side to Kauri Mountain Road.

Tide information: Check the best times for walking

Ocean Beach Walk - 9km / 3 hours

Wildlife sanctuary:

  • Avoid dune nesting sites
  • No dogs allowed.

From the carpark, walk 2km southeast down this gravel Kauri Mountain Road to a farm gate (look for TA logo, orange marker). Enter the paddock here, leaving this gate as you find it, and follow the farm track across a paddock heading straight towards Ocean Beach. A few clay steps cut into the bank take you down to the beach. 

When you're first on the beach there is a stream/occasional estuary that changes shape a lot - do check it before attempting to cross and on some occasions, if the tide is high you're best to wait for the tide to drop a little.

Head south down the beach running parallel with DOC’s Ocean Beach Recreation Reserve. 

Near the southern end of the beach, a sand track leads up to a carpark, toilet and Ocean Beach Road.

  • Note: a freedom camping bylaw is in place that prohibits camping in this carpark.

Tide information: Check the best times for walking

Please take care when opening gates that you leave them as you find them. There may be farm animals on this track.

Bream Head (Te Whara) Track - 7km / 5-6 hours

  • Note: Low tide is preferably the best time for the very first part of this track.

Check tide information for the best times to walk

This is a conservation area - no domestic animals are allowed (including birds, cats and dogs) and a freedom camping bylaw means Peach Cove is the only option in the Bream Head Scenic Reserve

Walk to the southern end of Ocean Beach and climb to the ridge beyond. The track is well-formed but steep. Continue on past a WWII naval radar station to the Bream Head/Te Whara summit. It’s worth the short detour to the viewing platform. The rock formations & coastal views are spectacular. 

Halfway along the ridgeline, there is the track exiting to the north/Ocean Beach Road and another going steeply down to the south & Peach Cove (DOC hut - not included in back-country hut pass). This is a detour - see details in trail notes.

Continue along the ridge to Mt Lion (Matariki) then down a lot of steps to Urquharts Bay, passing the Busby Head loop track.

Great coastal views from many parts of the track.

To continue Te Araroa south from this point onwards, you'll need to get across the channel to Marsden Point. 

Transport Across the Whāngārei Harbour

  • Blair Jones runs a water taxi across the Whāngārei Harbour from Reotahi where your trail ends to the Jetty on the Ruakaka side where you trail starts again.The charge is $20 pp. Please contact Blair Jones - 24 hours before on 0211147466

For more information on the Whāngārei Harbour Crossing and Marsden Point please visit Northland Regional Council

Please consider the following links around boating safety in the Whāngārei area

Northland Regional Council - safety information for boating in Northland 2018-2019

If you need to go to Whāngārei City to re-supply, there's good hitchhiking from here on along the road.

From the carpark, follow Urquarts Bay Road north onto Whāngārei Heads Road. After 5km, turn south on to Bay View Road and walk down to Little Munroe Bay. 

Reotahi Track - 3km / 1 hour

The wide, gravelled track begins on the lower slopes of Mt Aubrey overlooking Little Munroe Bay. It goes around the harbour’s edge to Reotahi Beach (and boat ramp) taking in stunning sea views and passing the historic remains of a freezing works. Very noticeable is the hum coming from the Marsden Point Oil Refinery, just across the 1.5km channel, and the start of the Te Araroa’s next coastal section.

  • Note if you are hoping to wait and find a lift across to Marsden Point, you are better waiting here at Reotahi than continuing around to McLeods Bay, and note that on the Te Araroa maps, the route line ends at Reotahi

From the northern end of Reotahi Bay, there is a dirt track heading off the side of Reotahi Beach Road. It climbs the hill to a playground at the end of Norfolk Road. Head up the road to a driveway just past #34. Take this driveway and turn right (north) over the front lawn past the last house. Beyond it are steps leading down to a small footbridge. This track leads to Matuku Street. Follow this, then up to the end of Darch Point Road where a well-defined track follows the headland around to the jetty at McLeod Bay. 

Information on the Whāngārei Harbour crossing and Marsden Point  

  • Note: Toilets, cafe, phone, accommodation available at the Whāngārei Heads village and at Marsden Cove marina you will find a cafe, toilets and phone facilities. 

Conditions

Track standard: Tramping track

Potential hazards

  • No dogs allowed
  • Multiple river crossings - please make an informed decision on tide flow and height of the river before crossing as this can be dangerous
  • Do not cross rivers after or during heavy rain
  • Please respect trail restrictions - do not trespass onto private property
  • Clean boots before and after your walk to stop the spread of Kauri dieback disease

Waikare

For information re Waikare amenities, contact Sheryl Wikaire on P: 027 3093476 E: peter1.sheryl@gmail.com

Sheryl also has tenting available for walkers at 228 Waikare Valley Rd (koha/donation please) - call Sheryl, or information at the Russell GAS station.

Sheryl's place is 1km from the Russell Forest at 228D Waikare Valley Rd, just phone or text to arrange.

Note that Sheryl's place is "off the grid" - composting toilet available on request and kauri dieback cleaning facilities available, please make use of these!

Punaruku Accommodation

Feel free to make contact with Sue Williamson - they have camping sites along with 3 rooms in their Barn - $25 a bed and $15 per person for a camping spot - call Sue on 09 433 6105 or on 022 1738752.

Oakura Bay

Situated in an ideal position for walkers to stay right beside the ocean at our stunningly beautiful Oakura Bay, after walking from Waikare. They run a fishing charter on the beautiful Oakura Bay beachfront called Oakura Bay Fish Dive and Cruise. It offers both beachfront tent sites and other tent sites with spectacular views overlooking the whole beach, as well as well set up caravans. The tent sites are just $15 per night for Te Araroa walkers which includes spectacular location, excellent hot showers, and free WiFi. It also has a range of well-setup caravans on the beachfront that many walkers prefer for a break with comfortable beds, great views, and impressive facilities. They range from just $25 per person per night and also include well-setup facilities, excellent hot showers, and free WiFi. They can be viewed by searching for "Oakura Bay Caravans" on Airbnb, but are much cheaper for the walkers. The camp is ideal day's walk distance from Waikare, They also offer walkers the option of being driven up to restart their trail walking the next morning after a relaxing and enjoyable stay. Drop Ngawai and Justin a line on 027 46 25872 or oakura@xtra.co.nz

Helena Bay

Whangaruru Beachfront Camp - Ohawini Rd, Oakura Nth - P: 09 4336806 - It has cabins, caravans, motel and campsites. Fully equipped kitchen for use. Hot free showers and a laundry. We have a small camp shop that stocks most basics and necessities. Phone number 094336806, email: office@wbc2014.co.nz Walkers are offered the camps winter rates through the summer months, which is significantly cheaper. i.e. Campsite is $22.00 per head, winter: $17.00. Cabins range between $85 to $70 per night. Discount $75.00 to $60.00. etc.

Hopewell B&B - 1349 Russell Rd, Helena Bay Hill - P: 09 4339608 - We offer a dinner option on request (booking required 24hrs before arrival) and also that we have single room rates.Furthermore we offer walkers to pick them up of the trail and return them the next days, as we are about 4.5km away from the trail, on Helena Bay Hill. It offers a $5 discount on the dinner option for Te Araroa walkers.

Dave and Alex can offer a place to stay in Helena Bay, we have room for 8-10 tents, shower, fresh water, dinner and refreshments also, for koha. If you've just come through Russell Forest there's another 8 hours to go till the next campground at Whananaki. We'd love to meet you and hear your stories. Please call Dave on 0274 339 016 or Alex 0220 454 391, and if you call after three we can even pick you up from the beach.

LKM Artist Studio - 1807 Russel Road, Helena Bay. P - 022 045 4391. email lxmartist73@gmnail.com Alex and Dave are a friendly, creative couple in Helena Bay. We have a caravan that sleeps three and space for around 10 tent sites. Fresh water, hot water, toilet and shower available. We can also provide refreshments if wanted. Koha appreciated. We'd love to meet you

There is a Department of Conservation campground at Waikahoa Bay in the Mimiwhangata Coastal Park.

It is 4.5km from the Webb/Kaiikanui/Mimiwhangata Rd junction down to the coastal park then a further 1km over a hill to the campground. If you wish to stay here - Don't take the Helena Ridge Track and instead continue along Webb Rd. When leaving Mimiwhangata, continue uphill on Kaiikanui Rd and rejoin the route at the Morepork Track.

The Department of Conservation Back Country Hut Pass does not apply and bookings are essential in peak season.

Morepork-Onekainga Track

Kiwi Area - No dogs are allowed.

The Morepork Track is well used by the Department of Conservation for predator control. Consequently, there are a number of different coloured markers for traps and bait stations. Stay clear of those and follow the orange markers. The last kilometre, before the Morepork Track joins onto the Onekainga Track, requires a little more focus, as you will have left the well-benched track and are now following a smaller, less obvious track where some sections get worked over by wild pigs.

The Onekainga section of this track is on private land - bush and farm. Please respect this privilege. Open daylight hours only. No dogs, horses, vehicles, guns, litter or fires.

It is recommended to use GPS and Topo maps for this track.

Whananaki

Accommodation

Whananaki Holiday Park, Whananaki North Rd, Whananaki - $14 per night - P: 09 433 8896 - E: whananaki@vodafone.co.nz

Resupply

Whananaki Beach Store - 2162 Whananaki North Rd, Whananaki Beach - P: 09 433 8466

Matapouri

Getting there/away

A 2 B Auckland Airport Direct Shuttle (to/from Whangarei/Matapouri/Tutukaka) - P: 09 459 5221 or 027 273 7307

Resupply

Matapouri Store - 954 Matapouri Rd, Matapouri Bay - P: 09 434 3706

Has an ATM which sometimes works, and sometimes people can get cash out with EFTPOS purchases from the store, but not with Credit Card purchases

Accommodation

AirBnB - Matapouri Road, Sandy Bay - P - 094344066 E - chris@oceanswatch.org.nz Established Airbnb and will offer summer camping from November 2020. Own tent or use our 5m glamping tent. Please email in advance for directions. We are at the top of Sandy Bay hill close to the track, in a convenient spot for a night after walking up Sandy Bay hill (this is on the alternative route from Sandy Bay to Ngunguru).

Public amenities

Toilet facilities are available at the beach.

Ngunguru

Note: If the sea conditions are good, an alternative is to sea kayak from Ngunguru to Pataua North.

Pacific Coast Kayaks - Mark Garry - P: 09 436-1947 or M: 021 1295-921- E: pc.kayaks@gmail.com Offer a shuttle trip from Ngunguru to Pataua or Taiharuru, with a lunch stop at Goat Island (lunch provided). Pataua has a camping ground but Taiharuru is closer to the start of the track. This is a guided trip as there are a few hazards such as a bar crossing at Pataua. They do not hire kayaks out to solo paddlers. Pacific Coast Kayaks will carry hikers' packs to the take-out point where hikers can resume their journey. As there is additional mileage involved and a driver has to do a pickup, the cost is more than a usual day trip. It is therefore cheaper if people join up with other hikers so that the transport costs can be shared.

Getting there/away

A 2 B Auckland Airport Direct Shuttle - (to/from Whangarei/Matapouri/Tutukaka) - P: 09 459 5221 or 027 273 7307

Accommodation

  • Tutukaka Coast Motor Lodge - 2015 Ngunguru Rd, Ngunguru - P: 09 434 3840
  • Goldstones - 8 Papaka Rd, Ngunguru - P: 09 434 3095 - E: watersedge@goldstones.co.nz
  • Sam's Bush Retreat - Waipoka Rd, Kiripaka P: 09 4375375 or 021 0690937 - Mention Te Araroa to get a discount
  • Baches to rent - Coastal Holiday Homes - P: 09 434 4146 or 027 482 6408 - E: info@coastalholidayhomes.co.nz
  • The Riverbank Homestay and B&B at 12 Old Mill Lane, Ngunguru - P: 09 946 0074. The owners Hilton and Melva Ward offer free evening meal to walkers who book the B&B and mention Te Araroa. Best to book ahead to ensure availability. The campsite is also available for koha.
  • Mila's Backpackers' Ranch - 48 Kakariki Rd, Ngunguru - Home Phone: 09 4344113 or Mobile: 021 085 78821. Campsites $15pp/night - Hot Shower, Caravan, Dinghy, Horses, Kayak for hire available. Mila's Backpackers Ranch is a secluded getaway, in the heart of Ngunguru. Native bush surrounds the hills and our pristine estuary at your feet. We have a classic caravan 'love shack' revamped with a modern retro feel! Accommodation-wise there is a double bed and a set of bunks inside our 'Love Shack' caravan for use of up to 4 people, which costs $70 per night for 4 people. The 'love shack' comes with fresh towels and linen. We also have lots of space for camping/tents on our beautiful pristine large garden area for $15 per night per person. Family discounts are available! There is a brand new HOT shower, communal BBQ, and toilet with all our accommodation. If you do arrive and cannot get hold of Mila for any reason, please feel free to walk on in and make yourself at home and she will catch up with you when she returns back into phone reception. Mila does live on-site if there are any issues please feel free to call her. Mila's Ranch is also on Facebook if you search "Mila's Backpackers Ranch" and if you wish to message her via Messenger then search for Milasranch. Feel free to call for any more information or to book: Mila Thorburn's Mobile is 021 085 78821.

Nikau Bay Camp and Cabins - 999 Ngunguru Ford Rd, Ngunguru - P: 021 02421632 (texting preferred) - E: ngunguru@live.com. The owner cannot reply to calls from an international number. Email instead, on ngunguru@live.com. James Johnston is your host at this beautiful spot on the southern shore of the Ngunguru Estuary. The camp has tent sites, and showers/cooking facilities and James can help get you across the estuary via boat/kayak. You'll need to text him at least a day in advance to arrange this. Then it's a nice walk along Ngunguru Ford Rd out to continue the route south.

Resupply

Ngunguru 4 Square - Main Rd, Ngunguru - P: 09 434 3858. Has an ATM machine, gives cash out to walkers using cards to purchase, but if it's a Credit Card they charge an extra 3% to recover the commission charge

Taiharuru Estuary

Accommodation

  • Tidesong B & B - Beasley Rd, Taiharuru - P: 09 436 1959 - E: stay@tidesong.co.nz - They also can provide lunch, afternoon teas, dinghy rides across the Estuary as well as advice and transport.
  • Taiharuru Walkers Camp - 54 Harambee Rd, Taiharuru - P: 02102829102 (Louis) - E: taiharuru10@gmail.com - Cabin with hot shower, beds and kitchen. Lots of tent space. Some food supplies, tea/coffee plus food and drink for sale. $15pp/night.
  • Stonelee Cottage - Beasley Road, Pataua South, Whangarei - P: 09 436 5200
  • Treasure Island campground - Mahanga Rd, Pataua South - P: 09 436 2390 - E: treasure@xtra.co.nz - Please note: Not usually open in winter months, and the basic supply shop is only open for 6 weeks, over the peak summer period.

Local information / assistance

For local knowledge, info on tides or water transport and pickups, contact Ros & Hugh Cole-Baker of Tidesong P: 09 436 1959.

Ocean Beach/Bream Head (Te Whara) Track

Accommodation - Ocean Beach

  • Jaggers camp - a camp for koha/donation - look out for orange marker at (367.4km) on Ocean Beach south of Kauri Mountain. Please call ahead to book - P: 09 4340747 or 021 2431347 - water, toilets, showers (cold), camping, caravan, cabin
  • SALT self-contained studio apartments - 75 Blue Horizon Rd, Whangarei Heads - P: 09 434 0785 - Available also is pick up/drop off for walkers with afternoon tea.
  • Bream Head Getaway, 310 Ocean Beach Rd, Whangarei Heads - P: 09 4340655 or 021 550249 (Melissa). Healthy and wholesome food packs for sale as you pass through, and water top-ups available before heading onto Bream Head. Luggage storage/drop-off is available for those staying so you can walk Bream Head with a daypack.
  • Oceans Beach House - 346 Ocean Beach Rd, Whangarei Heads Ocean Beach - P: 021 780 203 - E: oceansfamily@outlook.com. 1 or 2 bedrooms self-contained and self-catering apartment. Very close to Ocean Beach and all scenic walking tracks. Reasonably priced, comfortable, modern and clean accommodation. Your hosts are Gaelyn and Scott Dewhurst
  • Te Whara camp & cottage at the south end of Ocean Beach. The owners are Rupert and Wendy. They offer camping on their farm with hot shower and toilet facilities and drinking water supply. We are right next to the beach and Bream Head. They also have a 2 bedroom cottage for hire, fully equipped with own kitchen and bathroom (bed linen not supplied) Please text 0211215362 to book cottage 2 days ahead. You can find them at the very southern end of Ocean Beach at the beginning of the Te Whara track at 22 Ranui Rd, off the lower beach carpark. A great place to rest up with stunning beaches, mountain views and kiwis calling at night. Camping only $15 pp per night. Cottage hire $80 per night (up to 4 people). Payments cash only. Your hosts Rupert and Wendy Newbold.

Detour option available: This is a 25-minute one-way detour (km 374) and a great spot for overnighting or a swim.

Peach Cove (DOC) standard campsite and hut (8 people). Pre-bookings are required as this hut is locked - P: 09 470 3300

Whangarei Heads

General Information

Toilets, cafe, phone, accommodation available at the Whangarei Heads village

The Deck Cafe, 1 Reotahi Road, Whangarei Heads 0174

McLeod Bay Fish and Chips, 5 Reotahi Road, RD4, Whangarei Heads 0174

The nearest resupply store is at Parua Bay, 7 km north along the road towards Whangarei

Four Square, cafes, bakery, toilets, phone, ATM. Some supplies at the GAS petrol station

Accommodation

  • Taurikura Studio Apartment - 2397 Whangarei Heads Rd, Urquharts Bay - P: 09 434 0895
  • Appin Cottage - 2432 Whangarei Heads Rd, McKenzie Bay - P: 09 4340819 - E: dougiechowns@orcon.net.nz - Self-contained cottage in its own garden, queen size bed, linen, shower, TV, fridge, microwave, washing machine, self-catering. Also available camping in the shelter of a bamboo grove. $20 per tent includes water, microwave and garden long-drop toilet. Enquire with Dougie about crossing to Marsden Point - conditions permitting.
  • Sparkling Waters Lodge B & B and self-contained accommodation available - 346 Ocean Beach Rd, Whangarei Heads Ocean Beach - P: 09 434 0979 or 021 949 189 - E: jagould@xtra.co.nz
  • WHY (Whangarei Heads Yoga) Retreat - 16 Reotahi Rd, Whangarei Heads - P: 022 1608950 - E: whangareiheadsyoga@gmail.com WHY Retreat is a great place to recover and refresh. Comfortable beds, healthy meals, yoga classes, massage, therapeutic sessions and a sauna await just a few steps from the trail route. They offer a 15% discount on accommodation and one complimentary yoga class to trail walkers.
  • Seaside Anchorage - 13 Stuart Rd, McLeod Bay - P: 09 4340161 - E: northern2@slingshot.co.nz
  • Thistle Do, bach available, or several tent sites. 25 Beach Road Reotahi. Right opposite where you get the boat for crossing to Marsden Point. Ph 094340006; 0273566526 or book via the website.

Unguided walk package

Bream Head Coast Walks - 395 Ody Rd, RD 4, Whangarei Heads - P: 09 434 0571 - E: Claire@coastwalks.co.nz - W: 3-day unguided walk package for up to 12 pax, season 1 October - 31 May - bookings are essential.

Getting there/away

Transport Across the Whangarei Harbour

  • Blair Jones runs a water taxi across the Whangarei Harbour from Reotahi where your trail ends to the Jetty on the Ruakaka side where you trail starts again. Times he can run you across are 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. Minimum charge is $20. Please contact Blair Jones - 24 hours before on 0211147466
  • You can also call Peter on 0274 172440. He runs a service as well. Please contact him at least 24 hours prior.

It is okay to camp by the toilets on the Reotahi reserve for Te Araroa walkers for one night only.

Please consider the following links around boating safety in the Whangarei area

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Bream Bay Walk

Route

Bream Bay Walk - 16km / 4 hours

From Marsden Point, walk south along the beach (low tide is best).

Tide information

If you want a respite from an easterly wind, there is a 3.5km inland DOC track which starts beyond the oil refinery (end of Mair Road) & follows a pipeline to end behind the Mighty River Power station at Ruakākā (end of Sime Road).

9km down the beach is the Ruakākā River mouth, which can be hazardous to cross on foot and should only be done at low tide.

Turn west and walk 400m along the estuary shoreline. This is a wildlife sanctuary with many migrant and wading birds, so please do not walk inside the fenced-off nesting areas. Opposite the rock/concrete wall (on the south side) is the best place to cross.

(For assistance contact Simon Ellison, who can assist with a kayak crossing. Please arrange a day in advance, and a koha - donation - is appreciated. P: 432 8668 or 021 233 6748)

Another 6km brings you to a sign on the sandhills for a track leaving the beach and going over the dunes to Tip Road.

From the beach, follow Tip Road west. Turn south onto Uretiti Road, and south again onto Nova Scotia Drive. This will take into the heart of Waipū. To leave Waipū township, take Cove Road to the southeast and follow it 6.5km to the junction with Cullen Road.

Potential hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track
  • Tides, waves & rivers - safer at low tide
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold

Note: For hikers heading north from Marsden Point to Reotahi, the marina at Marsden Cove is a good point to organise a trip across the harbour.

Ruakaka

Detour option available

The Marsden Point Oil Refinery Visitors Centre, Marsden Pt, Ruakaka - P: 09 432 8194

The display includes a 130sqm working scale model and an impressive 20 minute light and sound show. Photographs, records and models show the huge pipeline that stretches from Marsden Point all the way to Wiri in South Auckland.

Detour off the beach to Ruakaka Town Centre, Marsden Point Rd.

For more information log onto - Ruakaka Visitor Information

Getting there/away

Accommodation

Resupply

Health

  • Ruakaka Medical Centre - Shops 8-9 Marsden Point Road, Ruakaka - P: 09 432 7211

Waipu

Getting there/away

Accommodation

  • Camp Waipu Cove - 869 Cove Rd, Waipu - P: 09 432 0410 - Cottages, camping and backpacker accommodation. Mention you are walking Te Araroa for a 25% discount.
  • Zany B&B - Coralie Betts - 298/11 Cove Rd, Waipu - P: 09 4321517 or 027 6585217
  • DragonSpell Retreat - Dragonspell. Can be found 14 km south of Waipu, at the very end of Cullen Road (434 km on trail map). Must contact first 0275077750 or cosmickali@gmail.com. “Koha” run :)

Resupply - Waipu

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Cullen Brynderwyn Walkway

Route

From the junction with Cove Road, follow Cullen Road uphill for 7.5km. The road changes from sealed to 4WD track (at about the 4km mark) and eventually intercepts DOC’s Brynderwyn Walkway (a graded farm track). 

  • Note - there is forestry harvest traffic on Cullen Road, generally operating Mon-Fri (and occasional Saturdays) 5am-4pm. Please observe any signage and traffic management instruction, particularly when tree-chopping is taking place near the road. We recommend you wear a hi-viz vest and/or pack covers. The private track on the topographical map at the top of Ruru Way is not a shortcut up to Cullen Road from the campsite. You will be asked to turn around.

Turn east and follow the Department of Conservation’s Brynderwyn Walkway. You walk over a highpoint of 297m then past the Trig at 276m for magnificent views in every direction.

The track continues down a steep spur, skirts around gullies, into regenerating bush. The final 2.5km exits through a housing development onto Cove Road. Please follow the marked route, including the short bushwalk as you near Cove Road (this is part of the access agreement).

Potential hazards

  • Vehicles on road or track
  • Poisons & traps
  • Farming operations
  • Forestry operations
  • Small stream crossings in paddock?
  • Few water sources

No dogs allowed

Brynderwyns

Accommodation

DragonSpell Retreat - Cullen Rd, Waipu (look for the signs at the very end of Cullen Rd, 7.5km up from Cove Rd) - P: 0275077750 - E: cosmickali@gmail.com

Mangawhai Heads

Accommodation

Bream Tail Mangawhai Walkway

Route

Tide information: Check the best times for walking

From the DOC carpark, follow the no-exit Bream Tail Road (like a private driveway) as it climbs uphill through farmland offering spectacular views of the coast. Please leave farm gates as you find them. Use stiles where provided.

After 1.8km, you leave the road & follow markers across a pasture to reach another tarmac driveway (part of a subdivision). Turn right for a few metres then it’s back into the pasture and down a southeastern spur, across a marshy area at the bottom, then straight up by the bushline and over a steep hill.

Follow the well-benched track that then zigs northeast down into a bush gully (kauri galore) then zig-zags up the other side to come out at another section of tarmac driveway. Just over the bank on the other side of it is DOC’s Mangawhai Walkway. Turn right/south and follow the track along the cliffs and down to the beach. Continue along the beach to the carpark at Mangawhai Heads.

Conditions

Closed 1 August to 30 September for lambing

Mangawhai Heads

General / Visitor Information

Mangawhai Volunteer Tourist Information Centre - Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai Heads - P: 09 431 5090 - E: infocentre@mangawhai.co.nz

Extensive amenities - shop, phone, toilets & accommodation in the surrounding Mangawhai area - Wood St shops, Moir St village and various.

Accommodation

Resupply

  • 4 Four Square - 3 Wood Street, Mangawhai Heads - P: 09 431 4656
  • Mangawhai Deli - Shop 2, 7 Wood Street, Mangawhai Heads - P: 09 431 5887
  • 4 Four Square - Moir Street, Mangawhai Village - P: 09 431 4585 Hours: Monday to Sunday: 7:00am – 7:00pm

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