Our great walks

We have great walks for all skill and energy levels and you can choose to start some of them from the coast or from the road.

Our walks are mostly on Public Land owned by the people of Aotearoa/New Zealand and managed by either the Department of Conservation (Aotea Conservation Park) or the Auckland Council.

The Aotea Conservation Park covers more than 12,000 hectares and has multiple walking tracks for novice and experienced walkers. Aotea/Great Barrier Island has the only multi-day wilderness walk in the Auckland region, with two DOC huts and numerous campsites. It’s the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families.

Ascending Mt Hobson, Palmers/Aotea Track, Aotea, Great Barrier Island

Ascending Mt Hobson, Palmers/Aotea Track, Aotea, Great Barrier Island

The Aotea TrackDuration: two to three days
Offers a range of spectacular landscapes, superb views and rich history. Travel over streams that show off a constant spectacle of beautiful native bush; tranquil wetlands; and the surviving forests of kauri, rimu and kahikatea with their special plants and wildlife. The track is a combination of easy walking tracks, boardwalks, steep climbs, stairways and bridges. It’s suitable for reasonably fit beginners or experienced trampers.

Forest Road, Port FitzRoy to Whangaparapara Duration: 5 hrs
A popular trek for both trampers and mountain bikers, providing a wide array of beautiful bush and mountain views. The track can be started from Whangaparapara Road and Kaiaraara Bay Road. It can also be accessed from Kiwiriki Track and Line W Track.

Harataonga beach as seen from the Harataonga Coastal Walkway

Harataonga beach as seen from the Harataonga Coastal Walkway

Harataonga Coastal Walkway Duration: 4-5 hrs one way
This easy walk does not have the steep grades of many of the island’s other tracks. It winds through regenerating forest and was once the road linking the island’s south and north. From Harataonga campsite, the track heads west across a stream before following a coastline of magnificant views. The track ends at Aotea Road at the south end of Okiwi Basin. There are two entry points. The Okiwi end starts at a signpost on Aotea Road, at the south end of Okiwi. Alternatively you can start from the Harataonga campsite.

Harataonga Loop Track Duration: 30 min
This track branches to the right, close to the Harataonga end of the Coastal Walkway. The track loops back to the campground passing close to a pa site. Enjoy sea and coastal views.

Kaiaraara Track to Hirakimata/ Mt Hobson Duration: 3 hrs – 3 hrs 30 minutes
Offers a striking experience for walkers – a wide array of flora from tiny plants and ground cover to large trees in established forest, historic sites. Towards the summit, panoramas of the island, its bays and beaches and neighbouring islands are available.

Kaitoke Hot Springs, Aotea/ Great Barrier Island

Kaitoke Hot Springs, Aotea/ Great Barrier Island

Kaitoke Hot Springs Track is a popular easy walk following the edge of the Kaitoke Swamp to sulphurous hot springs. Continue on the Peach Tree Track to Hirakimata / Mt Hobson. Duration: 45 minutes / 4 hrs one way

Port FitzRoy to Coopers Castle Duration 2 hrs 30 minutes – 3 hrs
The track begins at the top of the Okiwi/Port FitzRoy Hill and ascends the southern ridge, under a forest canopy with views of both sides of the island. At a signposted junction reached after 2 hours, a 5 minute detour leads to a lookout, where a large volcanic-rock bluff gives extensive views of Okiwi Basin and the Whangapoua estuary. The main track descends to Kaiaraara Track, then it’s a short walk to the Lower Kauri Dam. Start from the top of Port FitzRoy/Okiwi Hill at Aotea Road.

Tracks which start from Kaiaraara Hut, a short distance from the end of Kaiaraara Bay Road, near Port FitzRoy:
Bush’s Beach Track Duration: 30 minutes one way
Beginning at Kaiaraara Hut, this track is part of the old riding track from Port FitzRoy to the Wairahi Valley. The boardwalk was built to protect kauri from kauri dieback disease.

Kiwiriki Track Duration: 4 hrs one way
This track continues on from Bush’s Beach Track. It follows the same original riding track to a junction with Line W Track (30 minutes), then descends and crosses Coffin’s Creek travelling through lowland forest remnants of pūriri, nīkau, kohekohe and concentrations of kōwhai and pōhutukawa on the coast. The track climbs steadily and follows the dividing ridge before veering right and dropping steeply to the valley floor and sign-posted junction (1 hour 30 minutes), leading to a 15-minute walk to the head of Kiwiriki Bay. The main track crosses Kiwiriki Stream and climbs through the valley and central ridge to meet Forest Road at Maungapiko (1 hour 30 minutes).

Line W Track Duration: 1 hr one way
This track branches off Kiwiriki Track to join directly with Forest Road, enabling a much shorter round trip from, and back to, the Kaiaraara Hut, without having to go to Maungapiko.

Mt Heale Hut, Aotea Track, Aotea/ Great Barrier Island

Mt Heale Hut, Aotea Track, Aotea/ Great Barrier Island

South Fork Track Duration: 3 hr one way
Beginning 1 km south of Kaiaraara Hut, South Fork Track follows an old bridle track to Mt Heale Hut and Mt Heale. It crosses the stream twice then climbs steadily to a swing bridge on the way to the central ridge. It travels through regenerating forest with excellent examples of tutu. Warning: There is approx. 500 m at the first stream crossing at the Forest Road end of the track where you need to follow the orange marker posts up to the central ridge, climbing out of the stream.

Port FitzRoy, Old Lady Track Duration: 45 minutes
Old Lady Track links the harbour to Port FitzRoy Hill as it follows a stream through remnant gully forest of pūriri and kohekohe. A steep side-track leads to a lookout rock with impressive views over the harbour. Access the track from Port Fitzroy Hill on Aotea Road, or from Glenfern Road.

Port FitzRoy, Warren’s Track Duration: 1 hr
The track starts and ends on Kaiaraara Road, just south of Port FitzRoy. A gently graded climb to a waterfall. The stream offers deep pools good for swimming. It continues on through kauri plantation before joining Bridle Track, which leads to the FitzRoy store. The Bridle Track is an alternative to walking the road. It’s an easy grade through indigenous and exotic forest. The lower section is rocky and can be rough and uneven under foot.

Wairarapa Graves Tracks
One of the worst shipwrecks in New Zealand’s maritime history, about 140 people drowned when the SS Wairarapa hit rocks near Miners Head on 29 October 1894. Most of the dead from the shipwreck were taken back to Auckland. But some remain buried on the island in two small cemeteries.

Whangapoua Estuary

Whangapoua estuary, Aotea/ Great Barrier Island

Tapuwai site/SS Wairarapa Graves Walkway Duration: 30 min one way
From the road end follow the signposts to the beach. Turn left and wander along the beautiful Whangapoua beach to Tapuwai Point and grave sites surrounded by picket fence. The Tapuwai graves can be found at the north end of Whangapoua beach.

Onepoto site Duration: 15 min one way
From the end of Kawa Road follow the signpost to the beach and wander or boulder hop along the beach to the graves. The Onepoto grave site is located at the south end of Kawa Road in Katherine Bay.

Whangaparapara, Mount Whangaparapara Duration: 2 hrs advanced climbing track
Climb up to 309 m for views of Whangaparapara harbour. This track travels through rejuvenating bush. The climb to the mount is steep. Start on Whangaparapara Road, near The Green Campsite.

Whangaparapara, Old Mill track Duration: 2 hr return
Discover the site of the Kauri Timber Company sawmill and an historic steam traction engine. Old Mill Track travels through rejuvenating bush. It follows the edge of mangroves to The Green Campsite (15 minutes), before crossing two steep spurs and descending to the site of the Kauri Timber Company sawmill and an historic steam traction engine. At low tide, the track can be walked around the shoreline, beginning at The Green Campsite on Whangaparapara Road.

Whangaparapara, Te Ahumata Track Duration: 1 hr advanced tramping track
Discover interesting flora and panoramic views at the top of Te Ahumata (398 m). This track follows an old mining road between Whangaparapara and Blind Bay roads. From either end a 30-minute gradual climb leads to a junction, where a branch track (a further 30 minutes) leads to the summit covered with wind-shorn, bonsai-like native plants and numerous orchid species. There are panoramic views in every direction. The main track is administered by Auckland Council and the branch track by the Department of Conservation. Start this track from Whangaparapapa Road or Blind Bay Road.

Windy Canyon, Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Windy Canyon, Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Windy Canyon and Palmers Track to the summit of Hirakimata / Mt Hobson
Duration: 10 minutes / 3 hrs one way
Windy Canyon is a popular walk on Great Barrier Island, offering spectacular views. The climb includes numerous steps through the sheer rock faces of Windy Canyon. There are splendid views of Okiwi Basin and Whangapoua Beach and estuary to the north, and Kaitoke and Medlands beaches to the east. You can then continue on Palmers Track to the summit of Hirakimata/Mt Hobson. This is the shortest and easiest of the three paths to the summit. Palmer’s Track continues to follow the ridge offering constantly changing vistas in every direction before climbing steeply to the summit, traversing steep inclines via an impressive system of steps and stairways. Healthy examples of the endemic plant prostrate kānuka can be seen among regenerating forest. On the ridge still stands the ‘wooden horse’, a sturdy H-frame used for winching logs from the eastern slopes up and over the saddle, before sending them plummeting down the other side on their way to the sea. Hirakimata/Mt Hobson is the site of several rare species. It is the favoured choice of the tomtit, black petrel and recently re-introduced North Island robin, and is frequented by kākāriki and kākā. The beautiful endemic Great Barrier tree daisy and tiny sun dews also like it here. The track begins at the top of Whangapoua Hill on Aotea Road.

Iona Mine
A short walk off the Blind Bay Road takes you to one of the nine mine shafts. Information about the short lived island gold-rush is available from an interpretive sign.

The view from Station Rock, Aotea/Great Barrier Island

The view from Station Rock, Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Station Rock Lookout Duration: 25 mins climb
Take advantage of the highest point on Medland’s Road. Park and climb one of the island’s highest peaks. There are great views.

Kowhai Valley Track Duration: 1-2 hrs one way
Take the track from the left side of Rosalie Bay Road for a longer ridge line walk that forms a big loop with Primrose Hill Road and Medland’s Road.

Dolphin Bay Track Duration: 3 hrs return
About 1km along Cape Barrier Road from Shoal Bay, follow a track through the bush to a sheltered, rocky bay. Steep in places.

Ross Bay Track Duration: 3 hrs return
25 minutes along the Dolphin Bay track, take the right fork to Ross Bay. The walk offers a glorious view of Tryphena Harbour. In February and March the snorkelling is glorious with an underwater garden to explore on calm days. There is a steep descent and a scramble over rocks on the shoreline.

Island Bay Track Duration: 2hrs return
Off the right side of Cape Barrier Road, follow a ridge line track with stunning views to see Motu Tahora / the tail of the Southern right Whale.

Ruahine Lookout Track Duration: 3 – 4 hrs return
Park at the end of Cape Barrier Road, follow the marked track alongside the road down to Johnson’s Bay, from there the the trail heads to the right, winding up the mountain. The trail stops at a great viewpoint, just short of the summit. It is private land from there on so please respect the boundary.

Whaler’s Lookout Track Duration: 30 mins return from the Ruahine Lookout Track
Follow the signs from Johnson’s Bay to the southernmost point of Aotea/Great Barrier Island – and the closest point to the Coromandel Peninsula. You will have a good chance of spotting Brydes whales here.

Miller’s Hill Walk
A great shortcut between Tryphena Harbour and Mulberry Grove. This short walk takes you away and up a bit from the road.

For more information, also check out the Department of Conservation on Great Barrier Island website.