Read NZ Hearld writer's, Cliff Taylor's. account of his tramp of the Aotea Track
All information from this page has been
supplied by Department of Conservation,
What to expect on a tramping track:
- Challenging day or multi-day tramping/hiking
- Track is mostly unformed with steep, rough or muddy
- Suitable for people with good fitness. Moderate to
high level backcountry skills and experience, including navigation and
survival skills required
- Track has markers, poles or rock cairns. Expect unbridged
stream and river crossings
- Tramping/hiking boots required
What to expect on a walking track:
- Easy to moderate walking from a few minutes to a day
- Track is mostly well formed, some sections may be steep,
rough or muddy
- Suitable for people with low to moderate fitness and abilities
- Clearly sign posted. Stream and river crossings are bridged
- Walking shoes or light tramping/hiking boots required
to expect on an easy access walk:
- Easy walking for up to an hour
- Track is well formed, with an even surface. Few or no steps
- Suitable for people of all abilities and fitness
- Stream and river crossings are bridged
- Walking shoes required
1. Old Lady Track – 45 min
Off Port Fitzroy Hill 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 30minutes (signposted) to Lookout Rock, from
where Port Fitzroy Harbour can be viewed.
*Beware steep drop offs.
2. Warrens’ Track – I hr return
Beginning by the Port Fitzroy DOC Area Office, this is a gently graded
climb passing through a kauri plantation to a waterfall. From the waterfall
return via Bridle Track (30min).The
stream has many deep pools that are good for
*Beware steep drop offs.
3. Bridle Track – 15 min
Alternative walk between DOC Area Office and Port Fitzroy
Store. Easy grade through indigenous and exotic forest.
4. Coopers Castle Route – 2 hr
Begins at top of Port Fitzroy /Okiwi Hill
at Aotea Rd 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 lookout junction to join Kaiaraara Track.
Kiwiriki Track – 4 hr
Much of this track follows the old riding track from Port
Fitzroy to the Wairahi Valley. From the northern end turn off on Forest Rd the
track rises gently to Bush’s Beach Track junction. (30 min) – a side trip of
5 min to the beach. It is a further 10 min to the junction with Line W Track,
you then descend to cross Coffin’s (Houroaroa) Creek. The track climbs steeply
and follows the dividing ridge. It veers right, and then drops steeply to valley
floor and signposted track junction. At this point a 15 min shoreline side
trip to head of Kiwiriki Bay can be made. Continue along main track
to cross Kiwiriki Stream. Track climbs the valley and central ridge to Forest
Road at Maungapiko (1 hr 30 min). There is a 20 minute side trip at
6. Line W Track - 30 min
Track junction, track climbs steadily to
7. Tapuwai site/SS Wairarapa Graves Walkway – 30
From road end, follow
signposts to beach. Turn left and wander
along this beautiful beach to Tapuwai Point and grave sites surrounded by picket
fence. Grave site of those who lost their lives when the SS Wairarapa ran
aground on the rock north of Miners Head October 24 1894.
8. Onepoto Site – 15 min
From the end of Kawa Road, follow signpost to beach and
wander/boulder hop along the beach to the graves. This is the second grave site
for those who lost their lives when SS Wairarapa was wrecked.
9. Kaiaraara Track and Kauri Dams– 3 hr
The track begins from Forest Road past the Kaiaraara Hut. It then rises steadily
up to the north east fork of the Kaiaraara Stream to the Coopers Castle Route
junction. It then continues upstream to the side track leading to a preserved
kauri dam (1hr 30min) and climbs steeply to the top kauri dam. It then climbs
even more steeply up wooden steps (that were built to protect the black petrel
nesting grounds and sensitive ecosystem) to the summit of Mt Hobson (Hirakimata).
There are great views of the Hauraki Gulf on a fine day.
* Beware steep drop offs.
Places to stay
This is a 28-bunk serviced hut in the Great Barrier
The forest around Mt Hobson was spared from
logging because access was difficult. Fire on the lower slopes resulted in the
stunted growth of the forest that you can see along the track. The lower areas
were logged and you can see a wooden H-frame on Palmers Track which was used to
support the log-hauling operation between Awana and Okiwi. Please keep to the
track to avoid damaging rare native plants.
10. Palmers Track – 3 hr
Begins from the summit of Whangapoua Hill/Aotea Rd. and
climbs through Windy Canyon (15 minutes return to Windy Canyon Lookout) to
central ridge. Great views of Okiwi and Awana. Follows ridge, climbs steeply to
Mt Hobson (Hirakimata).
*Beware steep drop offs.
10a. Windy Canyon Lookout – 15 min return.
Starts at Palmers Track entrance on summit (300m) of Climbs 100m through the
andesitic rock bluffs of Windy Canyon to central ridge. Spectacular views of the
Okiwi Basin and Kaitoke.*
*Beware steep drop offs.
11. South Fork Track – 3 hr Track begins at Forest Road approximately 1
kilometre south of Kaiaraara Hut, or can be accessed off Kaiaraara Track. It
follows an old bridle track, crosses the stream twice then climbs steadily up
and over a swing bridge to the central ridge. It levels out at the junction with
Peach Tree Track and continues around Mt Heale to Mt Hobson (Hirakimata) summit.
12. Peach Tree Track – 1 hr 30 min
Drops rapidly from South Fork Track below Mt Heale to meet with the Tramline
Track. Whangaparapara - Claris
13. Tramline Track – 6 hr
From Aotea Road the track follows the old tramline
constructed and used by the Kauri Timber Company, during 1920’s and 1930’s,
then descends abruptly to Awana Stream and waterfall. Steep climb to plateau and
Perry’s Hill before dropping to Kaitoke Stream. The track crosses a number of
creeks above and around the Kaitoke swamp, ascending to cross Forest Road on the
way to Whangaparapara.
14. Kaitoke Hot Springs Track – 1 hr
A popular easy walk, crosses the Kaitoke Stream and follows the edge of the
Kaitoke Swamp to sulphurous hot springs. A series of pools for bathing are
dammed at a fork in the Kaitoke Creek. Take care as the stream water may be
Do not put your head under the water in the hot pools.
15. Pack Track – 45 min
Follow the Tramline
Track from Whangaparapara, cross footbridge
and turn left at signpost, rises up ridge and down to Wairahi Stream. Climb
steeply to Forest Rd.
16. 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.
17. Mount Whangaparapara – 1 hr 10 min
On the Tramline Track from Whangaparapara, cross stile and climb track to left.
Steady climb to summit, steep in parts. Views of Whangaparapara Harbour and
18. Old Mill Track – 1 hr
Cross first stream at Whangaparapa suspension bridge from
Whangaparapara, turn left through camping area to climb steeply to ridgetop.
Descend and climb again before descending to the site of Kauri Timber
Company Sawmill. An historic steam traction engine is a remnant of this sawmill.
At low tide you can walk around the shoreline to the old whaling station
19. Te Ahumata Track – 1 hr
This track follows an old mining road
between Whangaparapara Saddle and Blind Bay Road. Gradual climb to signposted
junction (30 mins). Rapid climb to Te Ahumata Trig where you will see an
interesting variety of ‘bonsai like’ native plant
forms. From junction follow track to saddle or turn to go to Blind Bay road.
Please keep to track to avoid damaging rare native plants.
*Beware of mine shafts in the area – keep to the track.
20. Forest Road – 5 hr
The old Forest Road links Whangaparapara and Kaiaraara. Many
of the tracks in the central area lead from or to this road. Built in the early
1950’s by the NZ Forest Service to provide access for fire control and other
operations. The only vehicle access to Whangaparapara until the 1970’s. From
north Forest Rd begins at the road-end of Kaiaraara Bay road at a locked gate
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. Continues to be used by DOC & Emergency
Harataonga – Coastal Walkway -
There are two entry points onto the Harataonga
Walkway. The Okiwi end starts at a signpost on Aotea Road, at the south
end of Okiwi. Alternatively you can leave from the Harataonga campsite.
easy grade, following the 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. Not signposted at Aotea Rd
Beware of sheer drops. As the track passes through private property please keep to
22. Harataonga Loop Track – 30 min
Short diversion from Harataonga Coastal walkway. Leave the main ridge north of
Harataonga to climb coastal ridge that follows south to pa site. Track drops
down to Harataonga Stream and campground.
Burrill Track – 8 hr return
Begins at Mabey Road climbing steeply to the central ridge, you then follow the
ridge north to Tataweka. The track was formed in the early 1970s for mining
prospecting access for copper. Return the same way.