Twin Coast Cycle Trail
There are more than 100 walks, tracks, loops and routes in Northland, most of which are maintained by the Department of Conservation. Forest, coastal and hill country scenery, a wide range of ages and fitness levels and vary in length from 30 minutes to 3 days.
For stunning views that go on forever...
Get up high on the Mangawhai Cliff Top Walk. This 2-3 hour return walk takes you along the beach and up a high quality track to outstanding views of Bream Head and all the way down to the Hauraki Gulf including the Mokohinau Islands and both Great and Little Barrier. One of the more interesting features is a natural formation called “the giant staircase”, a natural amphitheatre just below the track carved from the hillside.
Sheltered, leisurely bush walk
The Waipoua Forest on Northland’s West Coast is the perfect spot. Within this rainforest live some of the world largest remaining Kauri trees. Tane Mahuta, "Lord of the Forest", resides only a short stroll from the car park. The 'Father of the Forest', Te Matua Ngahere is just a 10 minute stroll from the car park with the Four Sisters and Phantom Tree close by. In the shadow of these giants lives our national icon, the kiwi. To hear their call you will need to venture into the forest at night, Footprints Waipoua offer guided night walks into this spiritual environment.
The Paihia to Opua Coastal Walkway starts from the Paihia Wharf and follows the coastline over beaches and bays across a mangrove boardwalk to Opua. This 3 hour walk offers beautiful views of the bay, sea birds and a passing vista of sea craft. You may like to take a picnic lunch and enjoy a swim on the way. You can organise return transport by taxi or tuk tuk.
Bush-clad river walk
Then the Waitangi National Trust Mangrove Walk is the way to go. Following the Waitangi River through mangrove and native forest to the magnificent Haruru Falls This track is 6km long and is an easy, leisurely walk.
An 8 hour hike
Across seven peaks, through native forest and along dramatic cliffs on the Cape Brett Track will really get the heart pumping.
The ‘Dukes Nose’ Track in Whangaroa is a very steep climb to the top, but from there you are rewarded with spectacular views of Whangaroa Harbour. Or experience the ‘Toka Toka Peak’, near Dargaville; from the top of this peak the 360-degree views are stunning. It almost feels like being on top of the world and makes the climb well worth it.
The Koutu Boulders: Hokianga’s best kept secret
And offer a different rock experience. Scattered up the beach you need to watch the tide to find them, but they make a great photo opportunity. Off SH12, 5kms east of Opononi follow Koutu Loop Road, park at the junction about 100 metres along Waione Road.
Motuarohia (Roberton) 'Island Track'
Once out on the water from Paihia or Russell, the first island you see is Motuarohia, distinguished by its two glorious lagoons - the most photographed scene in the Bay. At the summit you are treated to spectacular views of the surrounding Bay of Islands. *Access by water only
Urupukapuka Island ‘Archaeological Walk'
Of significant historic and cultural importance, Urupukapuka Island is also a great place to relax or for water sports at one of the many beaches. Category: Easy to moderate *Access by water only
Toka Toka Peak, Dargaville: ‘360 degree views’
From the top of this peak, the 360-degree views are stunning. It almost feels like being on top of the world and makes the climb well worth it. You get great views towards Dargaville and of the Kaipara.
A H Reed Kauri Park Whangarei: 'A canopy walkway’
This remnant of original Kauri Forest contains a waterfall, walking tracks and a spectacular tree-top boardwalk passing by 500 year old kauri trees.
Wairere Boulders ‘One of a kind, on the planet’
It is the only valley worldwide which is formed by basalt boulders sitting on a clay base. The length of the rock amassments on the valley floor is 1.5 km. There are thousands of boulders stacked on top of each other, some around 30 m high. They look like a stream of rocks and boulders flowing down towards the Hokianga Harbour.
Te Araroa Walking Trail:‘Walking the length of New Zealand’
Te Araroa is a walking and tramping trail stretching from Cape Reinga in the North of New Zealand to Bluff in the South. Opening in 2011, Te Araroa is one of the world's longest trails. Hundreds of volunteers have helped create the continuous 3000 kilometre-long scenic trail. Down the coastline, through the forest, across farmland, over volcanoes and mountain passes, along river valleys, on green pathways and through seven cities
A local guide can give you an insight into the unique spirit and history of a place as well as protecting you and the environment. If you don’t go with a guide remember to stick to the track and ensure you “leave only footprints and take only photographs”.