Internationally Acclaimed Walk
Recognised by Lonely Planet as one of their choices for New Zealand’s top short tramps, the Mangawhai Cliff Walk is an experience anyone with moderate levels of fitness should explore. The high-grade track, maintained by DOC, enjoys an outstanding coastal panorama from Bream Head and the Poor Knights to the North, to Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel to the South.
The walk begins at the Mangawhai Heads Surf Club carpark and follows the sandy beach to the North. Look for a DoC sign in the dunes, after about 15 to 20 minutes, which marks the formal start of the track. Leaving the beach you will rapidly climb a steep track and several staircases; take a breather at the first lookout and enjoy the extensive views before you. From there the track weaves along the vertiginous cliff edge through gullies of nikau and pohutukawa. At the trail end your path descends steeply to a rocky bay, complete with a massive rock archway. From there your route south explores boulder strewn, shingle beaches and secluded bays, until you reach the northern end of Mangawhai Heads beach.
Some dos and don’ts:
Do allow at least three hours to leisurely complete the circuit, wear sturdy walking shoes and bring plenty of water, especially in the summer.
Don’t get caught the section from the rock archway to Mangawhai Heads beach is accessible only at low tide. If the water is surging through the archway you will need to retrace your steps via the cliff top
Look for a sign to the left of the track before descending to the rocky bay, showing the Missing Link track, part of the Te Araroa National Walkway leading to Cove Road.
Mangawhai Cliff Walk continues to be one of the most popular guided events of the Mangawhai Walking Weekend. The March 2019 weekend of walks, entertainment and fine food and wine, celebrates its twentieth year.
Online bookings will open 4 January 2019, with the event running from 28 to 31 March.
Photo credit: Josie Gritton