Sunday, 17 March 2019

Mahinepua Peninsula Walkway- Northland


The Mahinepua Peninsula Walkway track leaves the beach at the north end of Mahinepua Bay. I'd highly recommend this walk if you are in the area visiting or camping. It is one of the most stunning short walks I've done, with fabulous views over a spectacular and dramatic coastline.

The 3km (one way) DOC walking track weaves it's way along the narrow spine of the peninsula to a trig point at the far end. There is access to a number of small coves during the first half of the walk, ideal places to stop for a quick swim or a picnic lunch.

The walk starts innocuously enough, through a small pine plantation and alongside private property. I thought it was very kind of DOC to send in the lawnmower and weed-eater workers a day ahead of my walk, the track was in pristine condition.

The track proper starts on the seaward side and then climbs a little way winding around a small bluff back to the bay side of the peninsula and through a stand of large overhanging Pohutukawa trees...

...before breaking out into the open where there are magnificent views back to the campsite and beach at Mahinepua.

Outer Mahinepua Bay and the Cavalli Islands are ahead as the track...

...drops down to one of  the sheltered coves. From here I can also see the track winding it's way around the next hill....

...and up a steep stairway in the distance which is where I spot a person ahead of me disappearing over the top (click photo to enlarge)

Down in the cove the flax bushes are in flower and a few tui are flying about fighting each other for the nectar. I love early summer when the tall plump flower spikes are shooting skywards from the middle of the bushes. Blue waters, golden sand and flowering flax must be one of New Zealand's most iconic sights.

There was a tui on this bush but he departed before I could capture him so you've got the flower spike instead!

The view back towards camp gets even better from the top of the next climb; that's the cove below now from the other side.

Once the track reaches the stairway, which is on the ocean side of the peninsula...

...the views are spectacular looking north along a rugged coast, the cliffs drop into the deep emerald green sea with swirling white water rising and falling around the many small reefs and rock stacks dotted along the shoreline.

The higher you climb the better the view back to camp gets...

And towards the top of the stairs you can also see up the coast towards Whangaroa Bay & Harbour; the large island is Stephenson Island/Mahinepua Island which is just off Tauranga Bay.

There's a beautiful stand of Mamaku (Black Tree Fern) with their feathery lime green fronds spread wide through the regenerating bush on the inside of the peninsula...

...just before another short sharp climb to the top where the scrub has been tortured into shape by the prevailing winds racing up the cliffs from the sea below.

And from the top, the highest point on the walk, there are now magnificent views along the coastline looking north.

Towards the end of the track there's a short loop option which I take.

It adds more interest to the 'there & back' track and only another 5 minutes to the complete walk. I'm still pretty chuffed that DOC have been in to do the track as it would have been tough walking in the long grass with all the seed heads and black pollen floating about.

There are more reefs and rock stacks below and also sudden drop-offs from edge of the track, care would need to be taken if you had children with you.

It's not long before the end of the track and the final destination comes into view; Pakuru Point & Omiru Trig which is up on the top right beside the red dirt (wait, have I walked to Aussie?) 

I took the left hand track at the fork which proved to be the better option as it was mostly downhill until it joined up with the main track again where there's a very conveniently placed seat. From here you can also see the two islands that sit just off the tip of the peninsula; Motuekaiti & Motueka (Flat Island)

Then it was just a short uphill section to the trig station...

... and from there I could see back along the peninsula, the side track I'd taken in clear view.

Just ahead of the trig, a sign warned of dangers ahead. Of course me being me (inquisitive &/or nosy), I wanted to know what the danger was and what was on the otherside of those dozens of other people by the look of all the footprints in the red dust.

I squeeze through the bush, scratching my arm on a broken branch in the process (punishment) and come to an abrupt halt. Ahead of me are the two islands and the last thin spine of the peninsula which looks to be slippery red rock layered in dust and with steep sides. This area would be treacherous in the wet. Though today, if I was younger and my balance better (and I had someone with me),  I'd probably attempt to walk along there but then again that is why I have a very good zoom lens...

I don't have to do the hard (or scary) yards, I just zoom in on the point. And then spot that Motuekaiti Island had some large Phoenix Palms and Norfolk Pines (both non-natives) growing near a sheltered bay.

I would say that there was once a colonial homestead/holiday home in this quite sheltered bay and the palms were planted in the gardens.

I had lunch back at the seat and then headed for home, passing the only two people I saw on the track (other than the guy disappearing over the top earlier).

The following photos may look similar to some of the earlier ones but I'm now shooting with my wide angle lens so the views are even more spectacular as they take in a much wider vista, they are also a slightly different colour due to the lens I'm using and the tone is shoots. 

And finally back overlooking the camp and sheltered waters of Mahinepua Bay. It was a fabulous walk and well worth doing if you are able to, if not than you've walked it vicariously with me! 


  1. Always enjoy your photographic stories and adventures - thanks for sharing - regards Julia

    1. Many thanks for your kind words Julia, much appreciated. It's lovely to know people enjoy my blog and photos as much as I enjoy writing posts and taking photos.


Thanks for taking the time to comment, it's much appreciated.