Northland

Northland

Russell Forest to Whangarei Heads - AFFECTED

Northern Start
Waikare
Southern End
Jetty at McLeod Bay (southern end), Whangarei Heads
Distance
137km
Time
6 days
Track Standard
Road margin   Footpath   Easy tramping track   Tramping track   Route   Mixed grade  
Potential Hazards
  • Vehicles on road or track Take extreme care on road walks
  • Farming operations
  • Forestry operations
  • Tides, waves & rivers - safer at low tide
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers
  • Small stream crossings
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
Description
(North to South)

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 FOREST.
A RAHUI (traditional Maori 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.


Russell Forest Track - 18km / 8hr

From the Waikare landing, Waikare Valley Road past the Waikare School, urupa (cemetary) and farms 3km to a roadbridge across the Waikare River. It then begins to narrow, and after a further kilometre you must ford 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, it can be dangerous.

The track ahead runs parallel to the Papakauri Stream. This track is a Maori road, a surveyed access into Maori 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 beaut walk.  

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

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

 
Helena Ridge Track - 9km / 4hr
From Webb Rd, climb the stile under the "High Chapparal" sign and make use of the cleaning station to ensure no dirt/mud on your footwear. 
We follow an old farm track that sidles around steep pasture where manuka trees are re-generating. Through a small 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.
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. When on farm track you may encounter some closed gates, often stretchy electrified wires - carefully use the plastic handles to open and leave gates openor 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 Rd - turn left (E) here and walk 1km to the start of the Morepork-Onekainga Track.
 
 
Morepork-Onekainga Track - 13km / 4-5hr
From Kaiikanui Rd, enter DOC’s Kaiikanui Forest and 200m in, make use of the cleaning station to ensure no dirt/mud on your footwear. Follow a well-benched track for about 4 kms, past Hansens Hill (where the bench turns sharply NE).
 
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 NE 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 Knight Islands. You are now on private land belonging to the Waetford whanau, so please respect the privilege.

Continue on old bush tracks in a SE 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 (no markers allowed on pines) 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 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 Rd.

Please note: Private farm land and Kiwi and Pateke nesting area; Open daylight hours only; NO dogs, horses, bikes, guns, fires or camping. Electric fences.
 
Walk 800m SE along Whananaki North Rd. Look for the track sign in 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 / 2.5hr
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 Rd 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 that there is limited beach access from the track – i.e. 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 pohutukawa-lined farm track/driveway with excellent views of the coast and the Poor Knight Islands. Continue on the driveway until reaching the gate at McAuslin Rd.
 
Leaving the gate at the north end of McAuslin Rd, head south down the road and turn east onto Matapouri Road. Follow the road (looking out for traffic) past Sandy Bay and Woolleys Bay, enjoying the beautiful beaches as you go. Just before Matapouri Bay, the road climbs over a small hill and you pass DOC’s walkway to Whale Bay. On coming down the road into Matapouri, take Clements Rd to the west and follow it for 2 km. Near the end, there are several letterboxes on the NW side of the road. On the south side of the road, you’ll see a stile by a gate. Just through the gate is the information sign for the next track.
 
 
Matapouri Bush Track - 7km / 2.5-3.5hr
From the Clements Rd stile, the track follows a pasture driveway where horses may be grazing. From here, the track climbs through delightful private pasture lands, pine forest and regenerating bush where significant efforts are being made to preserve kiwis and remove their predators.

It then enters Matariki Forest’s harvested pine and eucalyptus plantation where you can currently enjoy occasional views of the Coast.
You then follow the orange markers SE down a forest road (unsigned Seaview Track) for approx 1 km, before turning west into another forest road (unsigned Oyster Track). This forest road dissects a DOC native bush reserve and passes Tane Moana, a giant kauri tree, before coming back into forest lands on a high point with great views up and down the valley (now that the pines have been cut).
At a skid site, the road merges into a narrower, metalled track that descends through newly harvested & replanted forest land.

Leaving the forestry lands at a stile, the last 200m of the track crosses pasture to another stile. After short walk through bush, you emerge onto Waiotoi Rd, above Ngunguru. Follow this downhill to the village.


Ngunguru

From Waiotoi Rd, turn right/SW onto Ngunguru Rd. 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 SW along Ngunguru Rd.
Take the first left into Papaka Rd and walk 80m to the edge of the estuary.  
It is essential to ring or txt James Johnston 24 hrs 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. 

From Nikau Bay walk W for 8km along the scenic Ngunguru Ford Rd to connect to the Mackerel Track - which begins to the S just where the gravel road becomes sealed. 

Should you not wish to take this route, please see the road walk alternative.

 
Mackerel Forest Track - 4km / 1.5hr
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.
 
Note: Two river crossings - never cross flooded rivers.

From the forestry gate, the track follows Mackerel Rd (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 Taheke 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 Pataua North Road.

From Mackerel Forest Track logging gate, follow Pataua North Road 13km to the Pataua 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 / 2hr
From the Pataua River footbridge, walk south on the main road out of Pataua. After 1½km, look for a Council Reserve, on the left where Pataua South Rd runs along the Taiharuru Estuary.
  
Tide information: Check the best times for walking on www.niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/tides (use Marsden Point information)
 
Walk through reserve, then SE along the shoreline, keeping just outside the mangrove edge. As you reach the sandspit on a corner, the shoreline turns sharply west, and the end of Beasley Rd is quite close on the right.
 
Alternatively - to enjoy some Northland hospitality - just after the sandbank 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, a rest, campsite,  beds available, and a boat crossing to keep feet dry.
www.tidesong.co.nz  or ph 09 4361959 . Happy to accept Koha (donation). 
 
If you are ready to cross, 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 SE fenceline over 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 SW down Taiharuru Rd for 500m to Harambee Rd. 1km up this road is the small parking area.

 
Kauri Mountain Track - 3km / 1.5hr
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 Rd.  

Tide information: Check the best times for walking on www.niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/tides.  
 
 
Ocean Beach Walk - 9km / 3hr
Wildlife Sanctuary - avoid dune nesting sites - NO dogs allowed.
 
From the carpark, walk 2km SE down this gravel Kauri Mountain Rd 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 Rd.

Tide information: Check the best times for walking on www.niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/tides. 

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 / 5-6hr

Please note: Low tide is preferably the best time for the very first part of this track.
 
Tide information: Check the best times for walking on www.niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/tides
 
This is a conservation area - no domestic animals are allowed (including birds, cats and dogs)

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. 
Half way along the ridgeline, there is the track exiting to the north/Ocean Beach Rd and another going steeply down to the south & Peach Cove. This is a detour - see details in extra info.
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.
The descriptions that follow are still on the northern side of the harbour and simply take you along a waterfront area.  
You don't have to complete these - the sooner you get a boat ride, the sooner you're heading directly south again, and not just sidling west.
We recommend using one of the people listed below - you can try your luck waiting for a passing boatie but they may not be able to take you, so can be unreliable. If you do get picked up - be sure to offer a koha (voluntary donation) towards fuel costs.

Boat Charters
Bream Bay Charters Ltd - P: 0274 749 751. Steve Martinovich operates a 38 foot charter boat, based at Marsden Cove marina and is licensed to carry up to 20 people across the harbour. You may be able to piggyback on an existing charter or make you own arrangements with him. 
 
David Capey can take people across the harbour to Marsden Point. $20pp koha or $50 for 3 or 4 people.
Call him - in advance of needing a ride - on 021 722369.
 
Duncan Thorpe can get people across from Reotahi to Marsden Point.
Call him to discuss booking and koha - 0274 172440 / 021 1125814.
 
Peter Cross can get people across from Reotahi to Marsden Point. $10pp koha.
Call him as far in advance as possible - 0274 172440.

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

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

Reotahi Track - 3km / 1hr
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 (& 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)
 
From the northern end of Reotahi Bay, there is a dirt track heading off the side of Reotahi Beach Rd. It climbs the hill to a playground at the end of Norfolk Rd. 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 Rd where a well-defined track follows the headland around to the jetty at McLeod Bay. 

 

Note: Map is indicative only
Extra Info
Te Araroa preferred hostel (Whangarei)
YHA Whangarei, 12 Ngunguru Rd, Glenbervie, Whangarei - P: 09 4370609 E: whangarei@yha.co.nz
YHA Whangarei is perfectly situated for Te Araroa walkers and welcomes walkers to send their gear ahead to pick up. The hostel offers various room options including dorm and private cabins, with or without kitchenettes. Hang your gear to air out or dry out and then refresh and soak away the aches of the trail in the hostel’s hot tub or swimming pool.
 
When getting ready to hit the trail again, restock your supplies from the nearby supermarket (Countdown Tikipunga, 1.5km/15-20min walk) or head to central Whangarei, a 6km/70min walk or a short bus ride away. Whangarei offers a range of outdoor supply shops, supermarkets, cafes, restaurants and bars. If you plan to stay a bit longer in Whangarei, chat to staff about long or short term storage.

 

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 Waikare (koha/donation please) - call Sheryl, or information at the Russell GAS station.
Sheryl's place is 1km from the Russell Forest on Waikare Valley Rd, just phone or text to arrange.
Note that Sheryl's place is "off the grid"!

Helena Bay  

Oakura Motels and Holiday Park - Te Kapua St, Oakura - P: 09 4336803
Whangaruru Beachfront Camp - Ohawini Rd, Oakura Nth - P: 09 4336806
 
Hopewell B&B - 1349 Russell Rd, Helena Bay Hill - P: 09 4339608
 
There is a DOC campground at Waikahoa Bay in the Mimiwhangata Coastal Park, see info here 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.
 
Note
The DOC Back Country Hut pass does not apply and bookings are essential in peak season - see link for further details.  
 

Morepork-Onekainga Track 

KIWI Area - NO DOGS allowed.
 
The Morepork track is well used by DoC for predator control, consequently there are a number of different colored 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 - 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
 
Accommodation
Tui Cabin, 2km up Clements Rd, Matapouri Bay - (just past #152, 500m off the route) - P: 09 434 4977 or 027 3783046 - E: bobgilbert@xtra.co.nz - Two double bedrooms, gas cooker, fireplace, (warm) showers. 

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

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. Campsite also available for koha.
Mila's Backpackers' Ranch - 48 Kakariki Rd, Ngunguru - P: 09 4344113 or 021 08578821
Campsites $10pp/night - caravan, dinghy, horses, kayak available
 
Nikau Bay Camp and Cabins - 999 Ngunguru Ford Rd, Ngunguru - P: 021 02421632 (texting preferred) - E: 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 its a nice walk along Ngunguru Ford Rd out to continue the route south.
 
Resupply:
Ngunguru 4 Square - Main Rd, Ngunguru - P: 09 434 3858

 
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.
Ara Roa Luxury B & B - Harambee Rd, Taiharuru - P: 09 436 5028 or 027 320 0770 - E: info@araroa.co.nz - Transport available on request.
Taiharuru Walkers Camp - 54 Harambee Rd, Taiharuru - P: 02102829102 (Louis) - E: taiharuru10@gmail.com - Camping with cold shower, caravan, compost toilet, outdoor kitchen w double gas burners, coffee/tea etc. Some catering if required. $10pp/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 pick ups, contact Ros & Hugh Cole-Baker of Tidesong P: 09 436 1959.

 

Ocean Beach/Bream Head (Te WharaTrack

Detour option available: This is a 25 minute one way detour and a great spot for overnighting or a swim.
Peach Cove (DOC) standard campsite and hut (8 person). Pre bookings are required as this hut is locked - P: 09 470 3300 
 
Shop/Re-supply (limited)
Taurikura General Store - 2311 Whangarei Heads Road (opposite Taurikura Road) - P: 09 434 0151 - has some groceries and icecream. May be clsoed outside height of summer - best to call ahead if you're relying on it. 
 
Accommodation
Jaggers camp - camp for koha/donation - look out for orange marker at (379km) 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
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.
Getting there/away
A 2 B Auckland Airport Shuttle  - (to/from Whangarei, Marsden Point, Ruakaka, Whangarei Heads) - P: 09 459 5221 or 027 273 7307
Stans Van Passenger Service - RD 4, Whangarei Heads - P: 09 434 0024

Accommodation
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 
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.
WHY (Whangarei Heads Yoga) Retreat - 16 Reotahi Rd, Whangarei Heads - P: 022 1608950 - E: whangareiheadsyoga@gmail.com 
Seaside Anchorage - 13 Stuart Rd, McLeod Bay - P: 09 4340161 - E: northern2@slingshot.co.nz 
Bream Head Getaway, 310 Ocean Beach Rd, Whangarei Heads - P: 09 4340655 or 021 550249
Thistle Do, 25 Beach Rd, Reotahi, Whangarei Heads - P: 09 4340006 or book via website
Taurikura Walkers Accommodation - 2349 Whangarei Heads Rd, Taurikura Bay - P: 027 7820047 - E: tronside@me.com - Cabin with bunks/bed, private bathroom and outdoor cooking facilities. $40pp/night, includes free boat transport (conditions permitting) to Marsden Point. Please book at least one day in advance by email/text/airbnb.
Terry Gill has tentsites and amenities available for walkers from $10pp - 2489 Whangarei Heads Rd, Mckenzie Bay - P: 09 4340544 or 027 6002276 - E: the.green.bus.stop2489@gmail.com

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.

Boat Charters
Bream Bay Charters Ltd - P: 0274 749 751. Steve Martinovich operates a 38 foot charter boat, based at Marsden Cove marina and is licensed to carry up to 20 people across the harbour. You may be able to piggyback on an existing charter or make you own arrangements with him. 
 
David Capey can take people across the harbour to Marsden Point. $20pp koha or $50 for 3 or 4 people.
Call him - in advance of needing a ride - on 021 722369.
 
Duncan Thorpe can get people across from Reotahi to Marsden Point.
Call him to discuss booking and koha - 0274 172440 / 021 1125814.
 
Peter Cross can get people across from Reotahi to Marsden Point. $10pp koha.
Call him as far in advance as possible - 0274 172440.
 
General Information
Toilets, cafe, phone, accommodation available at the Whangarei Heads village
For more information on the Whangrei Harbour Crossing and Marsden Point please visit Northland Regional Council
 


 

 

Requirements
  • Keep to the track
  • Respect private land
  • Leave gates as you find them
  • No dogs
  • No horses
  • No firearms
  • No vehicles
  • Wear hi-viz clothing/pack cover and don't use headphones
Environment
  • Take all rubbish with you
  • Kiwis - no dogs allowed
  • Wildlife Sanctuary - Avoid dune nesting sites; no dogs allowed
  • Conservation Area - No domestic animals allowed (i.e. includes dogs, cats or birds)
  • Kauri tree disease risk - Clean boots between tracks; avoid standing on root systems
Amenities
(Start)
  • No amenities
Amenities
(On Route)
  • Shop - see Trail Notes
  • Accommodation along route - see Trail Notes
Amenities
(End)
  • Full range of amenities in Whangarei
  • Accommodation YHA Whangarei
Closest Town(s)
Kawakawa or Russell
Managed by
DoC & Waikare Marae
Thanks to
The landowners of Papakauri Stream
Northern Start
Waikare
Southern End
Jetty at McLeod Bay (southern end), Whangarei Heads
Distance
137km
Time
6 days
Track Standard
Road margin   Footpath   Easy tramping track   Tramping track   Route   Mixed grade  
Description
(North to South)

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 FOREST.
A RAHUI (traditional Maori 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.


Russell Forest Track - 18km / 8hr

From the Waikare landing, Waikare Valley Road past the Waikare School, urupa (cemetary) and farms 3km to a roadbridge across the Waikare River. It then begins to narrow, and after a further kilometre you must ford 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, it can be dangerous.

The track ahead runs parallel to the Papakauri Stream. This track is a Maori road, a surveyed access into Maori 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 beaut walk.  

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

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

 
Helena Ridge Track - 9km / 4hr
From Webb Rd, climb the stile under the "High Chapparal" sign and make use of the cleaning station to ensure no dirt/mud on your footwear. 
We follow an old farm track that sidles around steep pasture where manuka trees are re-generating. Through a small 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.
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. When on farm track you may encounter some closed gates, often stretchy electrified wires - carefully use the plastic handles to open and leave gates openor 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 Rd - turn left (E) here and walk 1km to the start of the Morepork-Onekainga Track.
 
 
Morepork-Onekainga Track - 13km / 4-5hr
From Kaiikanui Rd, enter DOC’s Kaiikanui Forest and 200m in, make use of the cleaning station to ensure no dirt/mud on your footwear. Follow a well-benched track for about 4 kms, past Hansens Hill (where the bench turns sharply NE).
 
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 NE 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 Knight Islands. You are now on private land belonging to the Waetford whanau, so please respect the privilege.

Continue on old bush tracks in a SE 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 (no markers allowed on pines) 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 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 Rd.

Please note: Private farm land and Kiwi and Pateke nesting area; Open daylight hours only; NO dogs, horses, bikes, guns, fires or camping. Electric fences.
 
Walk 800m SE along Whananaki North Rd. Look for the track sign in 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 / 2.5hr
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 Rd 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 that there is limited beach access from the track – i.e. 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 pohutukawa-lined farm track/driveway with excellent views of the coast and the Poor Knight Islands. Continue on the driveway until reaching the gate at McAuslin Rd.
 
Leaving the gate at the north end of McAuslin Rd, head south down the road and turn east onto Matapouri Road. Follow the road (looking out for traffic) past Sandy Bay and Woolleys Bay, enjoying the beautiful beaches as you go. Just before Matapouri Bay, the road climbs over a small hill and you pass DOC’s walkway to Whale Bay. On coming down the road into Matapouri, take Clements Rd to the west and follow it for 2 km. Near the end, there are several letterboxes on the NW side of the road. On the south side of the road, you’ll see a stile by a gate. Just through the gate is the information sign for the next track.
 
 
Matapouri Bush Track - 7km / 2.5-3.5hr
From the Clements Rd stile, the track follows a pasture driveway where horses may be grazing. From here, the track climbs through delightful private pasture lands, pine forest and regenerating bush where significant efforts are being made to preserve kiwis and remove their predators.

It then enters Matariki Forest’s harvested pine and eucalyptus plantation where you can currently enjoy occasional views of the Coast.
You then follow the orange markers SE down a forest road (unsigned Seaview Track) for approx 1 km, before turning west into another forest road (unsigned Oyster Track). This forest road dissects a DOC native bush reserve and passes Tane Moana, a giant kauri tree, before coming back into forest lands on a high point with great views up and down the valley (now that the pines have been cut).
At a skid site, the road merges into a narrower, metalled track that descends through newly harvested & replanted forest land.

Leaving the forestry lands at a stile, the last 200m of the track crosses pasture to another stile. After short walk through bush, you emerge onto Waiotoi Rd, above Ngunguru. Follow this downhill to the village.


Ngunguru

From Waiotoi Rd, turn right/SW onto Ngunguru Rd. 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 SW along Ngunguru Rd.
Take the first left into Papaka Rd and walk 80m to the edge of the estuary.  
It is essential to ring or txt James Johnston 24 hrs 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. 

From Nikau Bay walk W for 8km along the scenic Ngunguru Ford Rd to connect to the Mackerel Track - which begins to the S just where the gravel road becomes sealed. 

Should you not wish to take this route, please see the road walk alternative.

 
Mackerel Forest Track - 4km / 1.5hr
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.
 
Note: Two river crossings - never cross flooded rivers.

From the forestry gate, the track follows Mackerel Rd (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 Taheke 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 Pataua North Road.

From Mackerel Forest Track logging gate, follow Pataua North Road 13km to the Pataua 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 / 2hr
From the Pataua River footbridge, walk south on the main road out of Pataua. After 1½km, look for a Council Reserve, on the left where Pataua South Rd runs along the Taiharuru Estuary.
  
Tide information: Check the best times for walking on www.niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/tides (use Marsden Point information)
 
Walk through reserve, then SE along the shoreline, keeping just outside the mangrove edge. As you reach the sandspit on a corner, the shoreline turns sharply west, and the end of Beasley Rd is quite close on the right.
 
Alternatively - to enjoy some Northland hospitality - just after the sandbank 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, a rest, campsite,  beds available, and a boat crossing to keep feet dry.
www.tidesong.co.nz  or ph 09 4361959 . Happy to accept Koha (donation). 
 
If you are ready to cross, 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 SE fenceline over 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 SW down Taiharuru Rd for 500m to Harambee Rd. 1km up this road is the small parking area.

 
Kauri Mountain Track - 3km / 1.5hr
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 Rd.  

Tide information: Check the best times for walking on www.niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/tides.  
 
 
Ocean Beach Walk - 9km / 3hr
Wildlife Sanctuary - avoid dune nesting sites - NO dogs allowed.
 
From the carpark, walk 2km SE down this gravel Kauri Mountain Rd 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 Rd.

Tide information: Check the best times for walking on www.niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/tides. 

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 / 5-6hr

Please note: Low tide is preferably the best time for the very first part of this track.
 
Tide information: Check the best times for walking on www.niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/tides
 
This is a conservation area - no domestic animals are allowed (including birds, cats and dogs)

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. 
Half way along the ridgeline, there is the track exiting to the north/Ocean Beach Rd and another going steeply down to the south & Peach Cove. This is a detour - see details in extra info.
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.
The descriptions that follow are still on the northern side of the harbour and simply take you along a waterfront area.  
You don't have to complete these - the sooner you get a boat ride, the sooner you're heading directly south again, and not just sidling west.
We recommend using one of the people listed below - you can try your luck waiting for a passing boatie but they may not be able to take you, so can be unreliable. If you do get picked up - be sure to offer a koha (voluntary donation) towards fuel costs.

Boat Charters
Bream Bay Charters Ltd - P: 0274 749 751. Steve Martinovich operates a 38 foot charter boat, based at Marsden Cove marina and is licensed to carry up to 20 people across the harbour. You may be able to piggyback on an existing charter or make you own arrangements with him. 
 
David Capey can take people across the harbour to Marsden Point. $20pp koha or $50 for 3 or 4 people.
Call him - in advance of needing a ride - on 021 722369.
 
Duncan Thorpe can get people across from Reotahi to Marsden Point.
Call him to discuss booking and koha - 0274 172440 / 021 1125814.
 
Peter Cross can get people across from Reotahi to Marsden Point. $10pp koha.
Call him as far in advance as possible - 0274 172440.

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

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

Reotahi Track - 3km / 1hr
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 (& 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)
 
From the northern end of Reotahi Bay, there is a dirt track heading off the side of Reotahi Beach Rd. It climbs the hill to a playground at the end of Norfolk Rd. 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 Rd where a well-defined track follows the headland around to the jetty at McLeod Bay. 

 

Potential Hazards
  • Vehicles on road or track Take extreme care on road walks
  • Farming operations
  • Forestry operations
  • Tides, waves & rivers - safer at low tide
  • River crossings - Never cross flooded rivers
  • Small stream crossings
  • Track exposed to sun, wind or cold
Description
(North to South)

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 FOREST.
A RAHUI (traditional Maori 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.


Russell Forest Track - 18km / 8hr

From the Waikare landing, Waikare Valley Road past the Waikare School, urupa (cemetary) and farms 3km to a roadbridge across the Waikare River. It then begins to narrow, and after a further kilometre you must ford 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, it can be dangerous.

The track ahead runs parallel to the Papakauri Stream. This track is a Maori road, a surveyed access into Maori 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 beaut walk.  

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

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

 
Helena Ridge Track - 9km / 4hr
From Webb Rd, climb the stile under the "High Chapparal" sign and make use of the cleaning station to ensure no dirt/mud on your footwear. 
We follow an old farm track that sidles around steep pasture where manuka trees are re-generating. Through a small 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.
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. When on farm track you may encounter some closed gates, often stretchy electrified wires - carefully use the plastic handles to open and leave gates openor 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 Rd - turn left (E) here and walk 1km to the start of the Morepork-Onekainga Track.
 
 
Morepork-Onekainga Track - 13km / 4-5hr
From Kaiikanui Rd, enter DOC’s Kaiikanui Forest and 200m in, make use of the cleaning station to ensure no dirt/mud on your footwear. Follow a well-benched track for about 4 kms, past Hansens Hill (where the bench turns sharply NE).
 
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 NE 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 Knight Islands. You are now on private land belonging to the Waetford whanau, so please respect the privilege.

Continue on old bush tracks in a SE 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 (no markers allowed on pines) 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 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 Rd.

Please note: Private farm land and Kiwi and Pateke nesting area; Open daylight hours only; NO dogs, horses, bikes, guns, fires or camping. Electric fences.
 
Walk 800m SE along Whananaki North Rd. Look for the track sign in 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 / 2.5hr
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 Rd 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 that there is limited beach access from the track – i.e. 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 pohutukawa-lined farm track/driveway with excellent views of the coast and the Poor Knight Islands. Continue on the driveway until reaching the gate at McAuslin Rd.
 
Leaving the gate at the north end of McAuslin Rd, head south down the road and turn east onto Matapouri Road. Follow the road (looking out for traffic) past Sandy Bay and Woolleys Bay, enjoying the beautiful beaches as you go. Just before Matapouri Bay, the road climbs over a small hill and you pass DOC’s walkway to Whale Bay. On coming down the road into Matapouri, take Clements Rd to the west and follow it for 2 km. Near the end, there are several letterboxes on the NW side of the road. On the south side of the road, you’ll see a stile by a gate. Just through the gate is the information sign for the next track.
 
 
Matapouri Bush Track - 7km / 2.5-3.5hr
From the Clements Rd stile, the track follows a pasture driveway where horses may be grazing. From here, the track climbs through delightful private pasture lands, pine forest and regenerating bush where significant efforts are being made to preserve kiwis and remove their predators.

It then enters Matariki Forest’s harvested pine and eucalyptus plantation where you can currently enjoy occasional views of the Coast.
You then follow the orange markers SE down a forest road (unsigned Seaview Track) for approx 1 km, before turning west into another forest road (unsigned Oyster Track). This forest road dissects a DOC native bush reserve and passes Tane Moana, a giant kauri tree, before coming back into forest lands on a high point with great views up and down the valley (now that the pines have been cut).
At a skid site, the road merges into a narrower, metalled track that descends through newly harvested & replanted forest land.

Leaving the forestry lands at a stile, the last 200m of the track crosses pasture to another stile. After short walk through bush, you emerge onto Waiotoi Rd, above Ngunguru. Follow this downhill to the village.


Ngunguru

From Waiotoi Rd, turn right/SW onto Ngunguru Rd. 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 SW along Ngunguru Rd.
Take the first left into Papaka Rd and walk 80m to the edge of the estuary.  
It is essential to ring or txt James Johnston 24 hrs 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. 

From Nikau Bay walk W for 8km along the scenic Ngunguru Ford Rd to connect to the Mackerel Track - which begins to the S just where the gravel road becomes sealed. 

Should you not wish to take this route, please see the road walk alternative.

 
Mackerel Forest Track - 4km / 1.5hr
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.
 
Note: Two river crossings - never cross flooded rivers.

From the forestry gate, the track follows Mackerel Rd (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 Taheke 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 Pataua North Road.

From Mackerel Forest Track logging gate, follow Pataua North Road 13km to the Pataua 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 / 2hr
From the Pataua River footbridge, walk south on the main road out of Pataua. After 1½km, look for a Council Reserve, on the left where Pataua South Rd runs along the Taiharuru Estuary.
  
Tide information: Check the best times for walking on www.niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/tides (use Marsden Point information)
 
Walk through reserve, then SE along the shoreline, keeping just outside the mangrove edge. As you reach the sandspit on a corner, the shoreline turns sharply west, and the end of Beasley Rd is quite close on the right.
 
Alternatively - to enjoy some Northland hospitality - just after the sandbank 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, a rest, campsite,  beds available, and a boat crossing to keep feet dry.
www.tidesong.co.nz  or ph 09 4361959 . Happy to accept Koha (donation). 
 
If you are ready to cross, 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 SE fenceline over 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 SW down Taiharuru Rd for 500m to Harambee Rd. 1km up this road is the small parking area.

 
Kauri Mountain Track - 3km / 1.5hr
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 Rd.  

Tide information: Check the best times for walking on www.niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/tides.  
 
 
Ocean Beach Walk - 9km / 3hr
Wildlife Sanctuary - avoid dune nesting sites - NO dogs allowed.
 
From the carpark, walk 2km SE down this gravel Kauri Mountain Rd 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 Rd.

Tide information: Check the best times for walking on www.niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/tides. 

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 / 5-6hr

Please note: Low tide is preferably the best time for the very first part of this track.
 
Tide information: Check the best times for walking on www.niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/tides
 
This is a conservation area - no domestic animals are allowed (including birds, cats and dogs)

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. 
Half way along the ridgeline, there is the track exiting to the north/Ocean Beach Rd and another going steeply down to the south & Peach Cove. This is a detour - see details in extra info.
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.
The descriptions that follow are still on the northern side of the harbour and simply take you along a waterfront area.  
You don't have to complete these - the sooner you get a boat ride, the sooner you're heading directly south again, and not just sidling west.
We recommend using one of the people listed below - you can try your luck waiting for a passing boatie but they may not be able to take you, so can be unreliable. If you do get picked up - be sure to offer a koha (voluntary donation) towards fuel costs.

Boat Charters
Bream Bay Charters Ltd - P: 0274 749 751. Steve Martinovich operates a 38 foot charter boat, based at Marsden Cove marina and is licensed to carry up to 20 people across the harbour. You may be able to piggyback on an existing charter or make you own arrangements with him. 
 
David Capey can take people across the harbour to Marsden Point. $20pp koha or $50 for 3 or 4 people.
Call him - in advance of needing a ride - on 021 722369.
 
Duncan Thorpe can get people across from Reotahi to Marsden Point.
Call him to discuss booking and koha - 0274 172440 / 021 1125814.
 
Peter Cross can get people across from Reotahi to Marsden Point. $10pp koha.
Call him as far in advance as possible - 0274 172440.

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

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

Reotahi Track - 3km / 1hr
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 (& 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)
 
From the northern end of Reotahi Bay, there is a dirt track heading off the side of Reotahi Beach Rd. It climbs the hill to a playground at the end of Norfolk Rd. 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 Rd where a well-defined track follows the headland around to the jetty at McLeod Bay. 

 

Note: Map is indicative only
Extra Info
Te Araroa preferred hostel (Whangarei)
YHA Whangarei, 12 Ngunguru Rd, Glenbervie, Whangarei - P: 09 4370609 E: whangarei@yha.co.nz
YHA Whangarei is perfectly situated for Te Araroa walkers and welcomes walkers to send their gear ahead to pick up. The hostel offers various room options including dorm and private cabins, with or without kitchenettes. Hang your gear to air out or dry out and then refresh and soak away the aches of the trail in the hostel’s hot tub or swimming pool.
 
When getting ready to hit the trail again, restock your supplies from the nearby supermarket (Countdown Tikipunga, 1.5km/15-20min walk) or head to central Whangarei, a 6km/70min walk or a short bus ride away. Whangarei offers a range of outdoor supply shops, supermarkets, cafes, restaurants and bars. If you plan to stay a bit longer in Whangarei, chat to staff about long or short term storage.

 

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 Waikare (koha/donation please) - call Sheryl, or information at the Russell GAS station.
Sheryl's place is 1km from the Russell Forest on Waikare Valley Rd, just phone or text to arrange.
Note that Sheryl's place is "off the grid"!

Helena Bay  

Oakura Motels and Holiday Park - Te Kapua St, Oakura - P: 09 4336803
Whangaruru Beachfront Camp - Ohawini Rd, Oakura Nth - P: 09 4336806
 
Hopewell B&B - 1349 Russell Rd, Helena Bay Hill - P: 09 4339608
 
There is a DOC campground at Waikahoa Bay in the Mimiwhangata Coastal Park, see info here 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.
 
Note
The DOC Back Country Hut pass does not apply and bookings are essential in peak season - see link for further details.  
 

Morepork-Onekainga Track 

KIWI Area - NO DOGS allowed.
 
The Morepork track is well used by DoC for predator control, consequently there are a number of different colored 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 - 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
 
Accommodation
Tui Cabin, 2km up Clements Rd, Matapouri Bay - (just past #152, 500m off the route) - P: 09 434 4977 or 027 3783046 - E: bobgilbert@xtra.co.nz - Two double bedrooms, gas cooker, fireplace, (warm) showers. 

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

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. Campsite also available for koha.
Mila's Backpackers' Ranch - 48 Kakariki Rd, Ngunguru - P: 09 4344113 or 021 08578821
Campsites $10pp/night - caravan, dinghy, horses, kayak available
 
Nikau Bay Camp and Cabins - 999 Ngunguru Ford Rd, Ngunguru - P: 021 02421632 (texting preferred) - E: 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 its a nice walk along Ngunguru Ford Rd out to continue the route south.
 
Resupply:
Ngunguru 4 Square - Main Rd, Ngunguru - P: 09 434 3858

 
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.
Ara Roa Luxury B & B - Harambee Rd, Taiharuru - P: 09 436 5028 or 027 320 0770 - E: info@araroa.co.nz - Transport available on request.
Taiharuru Walkers Camp - 54 Harambee Rd, Taiharuru - P: 02102829102 (Louis) - E: taiharuru10@gmail.com - Camping with cold shower, caravan, compost toilet, outdoor kitchen w double gas burners, coffee/tea etc. Some catering if required. $10pp/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 pick ups, contact Ros & Hugh Cole-Baker of Tidesong P: 09 436 1959.

 

Ocean Beach/Bream Head (Te WharaTrack

Detour option available: This is a 25 minute one way detour and a great spot for overnighting or a swim.
Peach Cove (DOC) standard campsite and hut (8 person). Pre bookings are required as this hut is locked - P: 09 470 3300 
 
Shop/Re-supply (limited)
Taurikura General Store - 2311 Whangarei Heads Road (opposite Taurikura Road) - P: 09 434 0151 - has some groceries and icecream. May be clsoed outside height of summer - best to call ahead if you're relying on it. 
 
Accommodation
Jaggers camp - camp for koha/donation - look out for orange marker at (379km) 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
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.
Getting there/away
A 2 B Auckland Airport Shuttle  - (to/from Whangarei, Marsden Point, Ruakaka, Whangarei Heads) - P: 09 459 5221 or 027 273 7307
Stans Van Passenger Service - RD 4, Whangarei Heads - P: 09 434 0024

Accommodation
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 
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.
WHY (Whangarei Heads Yoga) Retreat - 16 Reotahi Rd, Whangarei Heads - P: 022 1608950 - E: whangareiheadsyoga@gmail.com 
Seaside Anchorage - 13 Stuart Rd, McLeod Bay - P: 09 4340161 - E: northern2@slingshot.co.nz 
Bream Head Getaway, 310 Ocean Beach Rd, Whangarei Heads - P: 09 4340655 or 021 550249
Thistle Do, 25 Beach Rd, Reotahi, Whangarei Heads - P: 09 4340006 or book via website
Taurikura Walkers Accommodation - 2349 Whangarei Heads Rd, Taurikura Bay - P: 027 7820047 - E: tronside@me.com - Cabin with bunks/bed, private bathroom and outdoor cooking facilities. $40pp/night, includes free boat transport (conditions permitting) to Marsden Point. Please book at least one day in advance by email/text/airbnb.
Terry Gill has tentsites and amenities available for walkers from $10pp - 2489 Whangarei Heads Rd, Mckenzie Bay - P: 09 4340544 or 027 6002276 - E: the.green.bus.stop2489@gmail.com

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.

Boat Charters
Bream Bay Charters Ltd - P: 0274 749 751. Steve Martinovich operates a 38 foot charter boat, based at Marsden Cove marina and is licensed to carry up to 20 people across the harbour. You may be able to piggyback on an existing charter or make you own arrangements with him. 
 
David Capey can take people across the harbour to Marsden Point. $20pp koha or $50 for 3 or 4 people.
Call him - in advance of needing a ride - on 021 722369.
 
Duncan Thorpe can get people across from Reotahi to Marsden Point.
Call him to discuss booking and koha - 0274 172440 / 021 1125814.
 
Peter Cross can get people across from Reotahi to Marsden Point. $10pp koha.
Call him as far in advance as possible - 0274 172440.
 
General Information
Toilets, cafe, phone, accommodation available at the Whangarei Heads village
For more information on the Whangrei Harbour Crossing and Marsden Point please visit Northland Regional Council
 


 

 

Requirements
  • Keep to the track
  • Respect private land
  • Leave gates as you find them
  • No dogs
  • No horses
  • No firearms
  • No vehicles
  • Wear hi-viz clothing/pack cover and don't use headphones
Environment
  • Take all rubbish with you
  • Kiwis - no dogs allowed
  • Wildlife Sanctuary - Avoid dune nesting sites; no dogs allowed
  • Conservation Area - No domestic animals allowed (i.e. includes dogs, cats or birds)
  • Kauri tree disease risk - Clean boots between tracks; avoid standing on root systems
Amenities
(Start)
  • No amenities
Amenities
(On Route)
  • Shop - see Trail Notes
  • Accommodation along route - see Trail Notes
Amenities
(End)
  • Full range of amenities in Whangarei
  • Accommodation YHA Whangarei
Closest Town(s)
Kawakawa or Russell
Managed by
DoC & Waikare Marae
Thanks to
The landowners of Papakauri Stream