Great Barrier Island Walking Tracks
SHORT WALKS- times indicated are one way not return
Warrens’ Track, Port FitzRoy – 30 min. Beginning by the Port FitzRoy DOC area office, this is a gently graded climb passing through a kauri plantation to a waterfall. The stream has many deep pools that are good for swimming. (Continue on up the steps to the Loop Track which then joins the Bridle Track)
Bridle Track, Port FitzRoy – 20 min. Alternative walk between DOC area office and Port FitzRoy Store. (Continue from this track onto the Loop Track which comes out at the Waterfall on Warrens Track)
The Loop Track, Port FitzRoy - 40min. Begin at the 'Bridle Track' sign just up from the old DoC office, heading to Port FitzRoy. No access to Bridle track but the Loop Track goes around a valley and looks down upon the tree canopy and meets Warrens Track at the waterfall.
Iona Mine Track, Okupu - 10mins. Signposted halfway down the Okupu side of Blind Bay Road. Going up it is on the right, a few hundred metres above the Macmillan Road turn off. A well constructed track with a clamber over the creek at one point and some of it is down and uphill - although not steep. The mine shaft is open for about 10 metres and then closed off with a grill. Take a torch, the weta viewing is good.
EASY GRADE through indigenous and exotic forest.
Windy Canyon Lookout – 15 min. Starts at Palmers Track entrance on summit of Whangapoua Hill on Aotea Rd (car park area nearby). Climbs 100m (wooden staircases) through the andesitic rock bluffs of Windy Canyon to central ridge. Spectacular views.
Whangaparapara Hut to Forest Rd – 30 min. A steep shorter route to Kaitoke Hot Springs Track via the Oreville Stamping Battery remains. Opposite Whangaparapara Hut, the track crosses the stream to climb central ridge, around a eucalyptus grove to Forest Rd.
HSS Wairarapa Graves – 30 min. Take Mabey Rd, from Okiwi, to road end and follow signposts to Whangapoua Beach. Wander along this beautiful beach to the northern end (left), the grave sites are on a bank surrounded by picket fence.
Old Lady Track – 45 min. From top of Port FitzRoy Hill it is a short walk following a stream along the valley through a mature coastal forest. You can take a side trip, a steep climb of 30 mins (signposted) to Lookout Rock, from where Port FitzRoy Harbour can be viewed.
Kaitoke Hot Springs Track – 1 hr. A popular easy walk, the track starts from carparking area, 2.5 km along Whangaparapara Rd. The track crosses a stream (not bridged) and follows the edge of the Kaitoke Swamp to sulphurous hot springs where a series of natural pools are dammed. Take care as the stream water may be hot
Old Mill Site Track – 1 hr. Cross suspension bridge from Whangaparapara, turn south towards harbour through camping area to climb steeply to ridge top. Descend and climb again before descending to the site of Kauri Timber Company Sawmill. At low tide you can walk around the shoreline to the old whaling station remains.
Coopers Castle Route – 2 hrs. Begins at top of Port FitzRoy/Okiwi hill and ascends the southern ridge, with views of both sides of the island. Travel under the forest canopy to signposted junction to Coopers Castle lookout, a large andesitic rock bluff, offering extensive views. Care is needed at bluff, vertical fall to bush below. Main route descends from summit to join Kaiaraara Track.
Palmers Track – Hirakimata – 2 hr. Begins on summit of Whangapoua Hill/Aotea Rd, climbing through Windy Canyon to central ridge. Extensive views either side of Okiwi and Kaitoke. Rare and endemic plants grow along the ridge, like the Great Barrier daisy Olearia allomii, flowering in spring. Follows ridge and climbs steeply to Hirakimata’s summit through unlogged, mature subalpine forest. No fresh water near track. No toilet facilities. Retrace your steps to return to Aotea Rd. Alternatively join the historic Kaiaraara Track or South Fork Track to link up with west coast.
Kaiaraara Track – 3 hr to Mt Hobson Hirakimata. 1 hr 30 min to lower historic Kauri Dam. Past Kaiaraara Hut, track begins left of Forest Rd. Crosses unbridged Kaiaraara Stream and climbs steadily up the north fork of Kaiaraara Stream through regenerating coastal forest to the Coopers Castle junction. Groves of nikau palms Rhopalostylis sapida and large puriri trees Vitex lucens can be seen along the way. Track continues upstream passing rocky outcrops to the lower kauri dam (unstable structure – keep well clear) to meet the staircase to summit. The staircase has been constructed to protect the endangered black petrel’s nesting site. The summit affords extensive views of the Hauraki Gulf. Retrace your steps to return to Forest Rd, or alternatively travel South Fork Track to Forest Rd, or Palmers Track to Aotea Rd. South Fork Track is of a gentler grade, but slightly longer alternative return track. Stream crossings. No toilet facilities. Pools in the lower Kaiaraara Stream are good for swimming. * A link track connects South Fork and Kaiaraara Track. It follows the gently graded southern fork of the Kaiaraara Stream.
South Fork Track – 3 hr to Mt Hobson, Hirakimata via Mt Heale. Begins at Forest Road, approximately 1 km south of Kaiaraara Hut. Descends to the south fork of Kaiaraara Stream. After two stream crossings the track follows an old bridle track used by gum diggers and loggers to access the interior. Crossing again, then a long steady climb up central ridge to level out at Peach Tree Track junction, then around Mt Heale and very steep ascent to Hirakimata. * Hirakimata (Mt Hobson)summit to Peach Tree Track junction 45 min.
Tramline Track – 5 hr. Aotea Rd to Whangaparapara Harbour. Old tramlines were cut straight across the landscape, using stream driven winches to haul the log laden trams along the tramlines to the coast. From Aotea Rd, track falls steeply away to Awana Stream and waterfall (45 min) and rises abruptly to Perry’s Hill before dropping to Kaitoke Creek. Track follows and crosses the creek at an easy grade to the Peach Tree Track junction and hot springs (1 hr 15 min). Follows along around Kaitoke Swamp edge to meet the track from the Kaitoke Hot Springs (1 hr). From here the track rises to cross the Forest Rd and then descends down to Whangaparapara Hut and along the valley floor to the harbour (2 hr), stream crossings.
For an alternative walk, at Kaitoke Hot Springs / Tramline junction, take the left hand fork to Kaitoke Hot Springs and follow the flat easy walk around the Kaitoke swamp edge to Whangaparapara Rd.
Caution: section of track from Aotea Rd to the first Kaitoke Creek crossing is treacherously slippery when wet.
Mount Whangaparapara – 1 hr 15 min. Track starts through gate by ‘Fire Risk’ sign on Whangaparpara Rd. Cross suspension bridge and turn right. Cross stile and climb track to left. Steady climb to summit, steep in parts. Views of Whangaparapara harbour and surrounds.
Pack Track – 45 min. A short route between Kaiaraara and Whangaparapara Huts (4 hrs). Above remains of Whangaparapara Hut on Tramline Track, cross foot-bridge and turn left at signpost, rises up ridge and down to Wairahi Stream. Climb steeply to Forest Rd.
Withey’s Track – 1 hr 15 min. Named after Bill Withey, steam hauler operator for the Kauri Timber Company. Links with the Pack and Tramline Tracks, a roundabout hike from Whangaparapara. Follow Tramline Track from Whangaparapara to signpost. Climbs ridge steadily on left before dropping to Wairahi Stream, following this up to junction with Pack Track. Allow extra time for photo stops.
Te Ahumata – (White Cliffs) – 1 hr. Old mining road between Whangaparapara saddle and Blind Bay Rd. From Whangaparapara Rd, a gradual climb to junction marked by 2 posts on right hand side (30 min). Rapid ascent to Te Ahumata Trig. An interesting variety of "bonsai-like" forms of native plants to be seen. Return to junction and either turn right and proceed to Blind Bay Rd (views of Kaitoke and Claris area) or left to return to Whangaparapara Rd. Warning: Beware of mine shafts in area – keep to track. Warning: Beware of mine shafts in area – keep to the track.
Kiwiriki Track – 4 hr. Much of this track follows the old riding track from Port FitzRoy to the Wairahi Valley. At signpost on Forest Rd near Kaiaraara Creek the track rises gently to Bush’s Beach Track junction (30 mins), a side trip of 5 mins to beach. Ten minutes to junction with Line W Track, then descends cross Coffin’s Creek Houroaroa. Climbs steeply and follows the dividing ridge. Veers right, and drops steeply to valley floor and signposted track junction, at which point a 15min shoreline side trip to head of Kiwiriki Bay can be made. Continue along main track to cross Kiwiriki Stream. The picnic area provides a welcome rest. Track climbs the valley and central ridge to Forest Rd at Maungapiko (1 hr 30 min).
Maungapiko – 10 min. A short steep climb up Maungapiko from Forest Rd summit for expansive views up and down the island’s west coast and beyond.
"Line W" Track – 20 min. An alternative route to or from Forest Rd and Kiwiriki Track. From Kiwiriki Track climbs steadily to Kaiaraara Plateau and Forest Rd.
Harataonga – Okiwi Coastal Track – 5 hr. An easy grade, following an old coastal road. From Harataonga campsite head west across stream and paddocks, through gate and follow track. Magnificent coastal views. Track ends at Aotea Rd at south end of Okiwi. Signposted at Aotea Rd entrance. Beware of sheer drops!!
Forest Rd – 5 hr. The old Forest Rd links Whangaparapara and Kaiaraara Huts. Many of the tracks in the central area lead from or to this road. Built in the early 1950s by the NZ Forest Service to provide access for fire control and official operations. The only vehicle access to Whangaparapara until the 1970s. From north the Forest Rd begins at the road end of Aotea Rd and travels through to Whangaparapara Rd. An easy grade, through a fine example of regenerating coastal forest. Caution walkers: this is a mountain bike route.
Information kindly supplied by DOC Port FitzRoy Area Office