In October 2010 the Mount Manaia track was re-opened to the public. This marks a continuation of the Department of Conservation programme which, in 2009, saw tracks within the Bream Head Scenic Reserve being upgraded to great acclaim: The Busby Head/Smugglers Bay track (4.5km) and Peach Cove Track (5.7km) are both wonderful coastal walks on Whangarei Heads.
The 3.5km Mount Manaia track climbs through regenerating native bush to a summit some 400m above sea level. At the start of the trail you will find five poupou kohatu: these are concrete statues which commemorate the importance of Mount Manaia in Maori history. As you walk the track, the higher you climb, the more spectacular the views become until ultimately you reach the easily accessible look-out point at the summit. Great views of Bream Head, The Hen and Chicken Islands, and of course Whangarei Harbour can be seen from the Track, which is listed in the AA's 101 Regional 'Must dos'. As with 2009, the work done really has made a huge improvement to the track, and should result in it becoming a more significant attraction within the area. This work has cost about $500,000 including the installation of over 1,000 steps, and constructing a 9m single span bridge across a ravine on the route.
Ample parking is provided at the foot of the trail, next to the Mount Manaia Social Club, on Whangarei Heads Road. Whangarei District Council spent $50,000 upgrading the car park and providing access from there to the look out point at the start of the track. For walking enthusiasts it is great news that the track is available again, and is just one among a whole series of great walks on Whangarei Heads.
There is plenty of accommodation available in the area at prices to suit all budgets.(Visit www.discoverwhangareiheads.co.nz and www.whangareiheadstourism.co.nz for examples)
Whangarei Heads has much to offer for walking enthusiasts. Its’ spectacular scenery includes volcanic rock and a series of bays and coves culminating in the expansive white sand Ocean Beach. The region benefits from a sub-tropical climate, which means most tracks are available all year round. For walkers, it’s a great place to visit for a short holiday break.
Come and see for yourself, you will not be disappointed!
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