Hikes and Walks in Whangarei
Tie up your hiking boots because there’s a lot to discover in Whangarei on just your two feet! From easy-going riverside strolls to full-day hikes along the coast, Whangarei is packed with walks for those who love the great outdoors. We’ll go through some of the best Whangarei walks in this list.
Whangarei is the capital city of the Northland region, found halfway between Auckland and the Bay of Islands. While the walks are a great way to see the city and surrounding coastal communities and reserves, make sure you don’t miss the 10 Whangarei Must-Dos. Plus, save some cents by staying in one of the 5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Whangarei.
1. AH Reed Kauri Park (25-minute Loop)
You can’t visit the Northland region of New Zealand without seeing a kauri forest! Kauri are the largest trees in New Zealand and can only be naturally found in the north of the North Island. The AH Reed Kauri Park gets you up-close to the forest giants on a treetop boardwalk taking only 25 minutes to complete. The AH Reed Kauri Park connects to the Hatea River Walk and Whangarei Falls making for a longer walk (2h30min one-way).
Location: Whareora Road, Tikipunga.
2. Whangarei Falls (30-minute Loop)
One of the most iconic natural attractions in the whole Northland region, Whangarei Falls is a must-see! Marvel at this 26m waterfall from different angles on a 30-minute loop walk crossing the footbridge at the top of the falls and a curved footbridge at the bottom of the falls. Alternatively, continue down the Hatea River Walk to connect to the AH Reed Kauri Park (2h30min one-way).
Location: Ngunguru Road.
3. Hatea Loop (1-hour Loop)
For a pleasant walk starting right in Whangarei city centre, take the Hatea Loop Walkway. This sealed walkway follows the waterfront starting in the Town Basin, packed with shops, cafes and art galleries. The walk takes past various sculptures and award-winning bridges.
Location: Start at the Town Basin.
4. Hatea River Walks (2h30min One-way)
Follow the Hatea River through the highlights of Whangarei city, including the Town Basin, Mair Park, the AH Reed Kauri Park, and Whangarei Falls. There’s a mix of pleasant bush walks and urban landscapes to enjoy on this 6km walk.
Location: Start from either Whangarei Falls, Ngunguru Road or the Town Basin.
5. Parihaka Reserves (40-50 Minutes One-way)
There are three walks that wind their way up to (or start at) the summit of Mt Parihaka. Mt Parihaka is the mountain prominently seen in the Whangarei skyline, offering amazing views of the city and harbour. Take either the Hokianga/Dobbie Track (50-minutes one-way) and Drummond Track (40-minutes one-way) from Mair Park or from the summit car park. Alternatively, take the 40-minute Ross Track from Dundas Road. All these tracks are grade 3 bike trails too.
Location: Drive to the summit via Memorial Drive. The Hokianga/Dobbie Track and Drummond Track to the summit starts from Mair Park. The Ross Track starts from Dundas Road.
6. Abbey Caves Track (2 Hours Loop)
The Abbey Caves doesn’t exactly take 2 hours to complete, but it definitely will after you spend the time explore the three amazing caves on this track. The Abbey Caves Track crosses farmland with unusual limestone outcrops to three caves with streams running through the bottom (be prepared to get wet feet).
Location: Abbey Caves Road.
7. Mt Manaia (2 Hours Return)
If you have your own transport, make a special journey to the Whangarei Heads, just a 20-30-minute drive from the city. While there are many things to do at Whangarei Heads, don’t miss the Mt Manaia walk for some sensational views! The 3.5km track steeply climbs through native forest to the summit with breathtaking 360 views of the Whangarei Harbour.
Location: Whangarei Heads Road.
8. Bream Head – Te Whara Track (6 Hours One Way)
For a real hike in the Whangarei area, make sure you hit the Te Whara Track at the Bream Head Reserve. This 6-hour one-way hike goes through protected kiwi habitat to some sensational views at the end of the Whangarei Heads. There are also shorter walks in the reserve like the 3-hour return Peach Cove Track which links with the Te Whara Track and provides an overnight option at the Peach Cove Hut.
Location: Whangarei Heads. The Te Whara track goes between the Ocean Beach car park on Ranui Road and the Urquharts Bay car park. The Peach Cove Track can be found 4km along Ocean Beach Road.
9. Mt Aubrey and the Reotahi Coastal Walkway (2h30min Loop)
Another amazing walk at Whangarei Heads that incorporated both mountain climbs and coastal views are the walks at Reotahi. A loop walk links up a climb up Mt Aubrey and down again, then follows the coastline with views out to the Reotahi Marine Reserve. The Mt Aubrey walk takes about 2 hours to complete, while the Reotahi Coastal Walkway takes about 30 minutes one-way.
Location: Whangarei Heads. The Mt Aubrey Walk can be started from either Tiller Park on Reotahi Road or from the car park at the end of Bay View Road at Munroy Bay. The Reotahi Walkway goes between the car park at the end of Bay View Road at Munroy Bay and the car park at the end of Beach Road.
10. Busby Head Track (2 Hours Loop)
Another stunning at Whangarei Heads is a 3km loop past a World War 2 gun emplacement, coastal forest and to the secluded Smugglers Bay. Alternatively, there is a 20-minute track over farmland to Smugglers Bay.
Location: Whangarei Heads. Start from the Urquharts Bay car park off Urquharts Bay Road at the end of the Whangarei Heads Road.
11. Waipu Caves Track (25-minute Loop)
Moving onto the Bream Bay side of Whangarei (just south of the city), the Waipu Caves is an amazing natural attraction. See limestone features and glowworms on this 890m loop track through a mix of farmland and regenerating forest. Check out more adventures you could be having in Bream Bay in 10 Brilliant Things to Do in Waipu & Bream Bay.
Location: Waipu Caves Road, 13km northwest of Waipu. The most straightforward route is via Shoemaker Road.
12. Piroa Falls Track (10-minutes One Way)
Another picturesque waterfall to check out in the Whangarei area is down the 10-minute Piroa Falls Track. The walk takes you through native forest to the beautiful Piroa Falls, which is also an awesome swimming spot in summer.
Location: 14km south of Waipu. From State Highway 1, take Waipu Gorge Road until you see the Piroa Falls signposted.