Our favourite walks in Northland New Zealand

We live in Northland, New Zealand so have tended to explore this on foot in more depth than many other parts of the country.

fullsizeoutput_4fd1Roads end in the far north is Cape Reinga and there are two splendid shorter walks that we enjoyed. In early summer we ventured to Tapotupotu Bay, camped at the DOC campsite which is located beside a splendid beach and undertook several walks. The first was from Tapotupotu Bay to Cape Reinga return, the second was circular walk that included Cape Maria Van Dieman. These are both coastal walks, the first has some magnificent vistas of the coast up to The Cape, the second takes in some truly amazing landscapes.

If you are in the area make sure to head out to Spirits Bay. We walked along the entire length of the beach in winter and the scenery was just stunning. It is about 16km return, there is a track above the beach which also passes an extensive wetlands. The beach itself is stunning but the sand is challenging to walk on for any length of time.

Looking acriss Waititi Bay on Motukawanui Island – Mahineapua is in the distance on the mainland

A great short walk is out along the Mahineapua Peninsula. If you have boat access cross over to the Cavalli Islands and walk along the track on Motukawanui Island (the largest of the Cavalli Islands) .

The Bay of Islands offers a range of excellent walks. In fact you could combine them into a multi-day hike. Because we live in Kerikeri we regularly walk the Kerikeri River Track which takes in two splendid waterfalls. The recently completed Te Wairere waterfall track is one that we have a personal link to as Cliff regularly participates in the working bees that have constructed and continue to develop and maintain the track. From Kerikeri you can walk to Pahia via the Waitangi forestry roads. In Pahia hop on one of the boats and head out to Urupukapuka Island and walk the circuit around that Island. There you can observe the restoration work that we are again proud to be part of.

Te Wairere Waterfall – Kerikeri

Moturoa Island is another that you can walk around that we have also spent time planting on – shorter walk than Urupukapuka but some lovely beaches if you want to combine it with a swin or picnic.

From Pahia you can walk around the coast to Russell. It’s a full day’s walk but again has a great mix of scenery.

Heading across one of the several boardwalk crossings on the track

You can walk shorter sections of the track – a good return walk is from Pahia to Opua. If you are based in Pahia try the walk from Waitangi to Haruru falls – again it is a pleasant half day walk.

Mimiwhangata can be accessed by road, we have driven in but most of our visits were by boat. There are splendid sheltered beaches as well as ocean beaches that can be accessed when walking around the extensive DOC conservation area. Well worth the detour – there is a camp but you need to walk your gear in from the cars.

At the outer reaches of Whangarei Harbour we have walked the Smugglers Bay track and on another occasion combined that with a walk to Busby Head. Both are easy and very pretty walks.

Sheltering from the storm at Mimiwhangata
Urquarts Bay from the walk to Smugglers Bay

A recent addition to our walks in Northland has been the Coastal Path at Mangawhai. We walked this during the winter months but thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a well formed track along the top of the hills that back the beach. The return along the beach was a little challenging at first but a pleasant contrast.

As we climbed above the beach the views became impressive – looking south towards Te Ari Point & Pakiri Beach
I only had my iphone on board but the weather was throwing up plenty of point and click photogenic opportunities
The terrain along the first section of the beach is a little challenging. Best to be wearing reasonably sturdy footwear.

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