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Manuka Bay Track, Canterbury

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Manuka Bay TrackBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by John O'Connell

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Plantation/exotic forest
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops

Beginner - Intermediate

1:20 (Slow)
1:00 (Moderate)
0:40 (Fast)



Manuka Bay track closes for lambing from 15th August through 31st October.

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Starting from Manuka Bay: The track as with a wide 4WD track. About 750m from the start take the right fork through a gate which also displays an orange triangle. This takes you into the forest and a climb up through regenerating manuka and flax. Lots of cicadas and bird song too. About 80% of the track is shaded by the forest with occasional lookouts over Manuka Bay and the Hurunui river mouth.

At the 1.5km mark you come to a notice saying the track crosses private farm land. No permission needed, just stick to the track identified by orange marked poles. 5-10 minutes later you will cross back into the public track again. The hillside shows a history of erosion though the track is well formed. There is an occasional section that has been narrowed by some erosion but is very passable.

No toilets or water available on the track nor at either end of the track. No dogs allowed on the track. Check the DOC website for any alert notices. There was an alert notice about bait/poison traps when we were there. 

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Features of interest

There are several stunning coastal bay views on this track. In particular, the mouth of the Hurunui river was a stunning sight with the sandbar across the mouth directing the water out a narrower opening. 

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 0%

Technical Single Track: 5%

Moderate Single Track: 20%

Easy Single Track: 65%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 10%

Gravel Road: 0%

Sealed Road: 0%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Starting from Manuka Bay Road.

    1. From Chch drive north on SH1, over the Hurunui river, to Domett. Turn right onto Hurunui Mouth road. After 4-5Km take the left fork onto Cathedral Road. After another 4-5Km turn right onto the unsealed Manuka Bay road.

    2. From the center of Cheviot, at the children's playground, drive east on McQueen's Road which turns right into Gore Bay road after approx 200m. Follow Gore Bay road all the way to Gore Bay and out the far side. Pass Cathedral cliffs lookout on your right hand side (worth stopping to have a look). Pass the turnoff to Port Robinson's Bay even though the DOC website says that's the way to go, it's not. About 2.5Km after leaving Gore Bay, turn left onto the unsealed Manuka Bay road.

    Drive about 500m down Manuka Bay road and you come to a small parking space that looks like a dead end.

    At the carpark there is a shelter belt running down to the sea. To the left of this you will see an information board about Port Robinson Lighthouse which is a short 5-minute walk down the track. Worth a visit though lighthouse is an overly grand description for the small structure you will find there.

    To the right hand the shelter belt is a closed farm gate with a road beyond it. Even though there are no signs indicating the way, follow the road through that gate for 1Km to get to the start of the Manuka Bay track. It is a public access way, it's just not signposted as public access, nor is the way to the Manuka Bay track.

    Running it in reverse - starting from Hurunui Mouth road end
    The Hurunui Mouth road from Domett does run all the way down to the other end of the Manuka Bay track.

    Easy parking down at both Manuka Bay end and Hurunui Mouth road end for several vehicles.

    17 km

    19 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Very easy to navigate once you get onto the track in the forest.
    About 750m from the start, at Manuka Bay, take the right fork through a gate which also displays an orange triangle.


    Short-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    No water available on the track nor at the ends of the track.

    Track could be slippery when wet.

    In a couple of places the well formed track had eroded making it narrow but still passable so just be extra careful there.

  • Post run indulgence

    Two Rivers Cafe
    11 Hall Street, Cheviot
    Friendly service, relaxing indoor/outdoor atmosphere, interesting artworks for sale on the walls, tasty salmon bagel, delicious coffee, dog friendly -but don't bring the dog in through the front door like we did. Take the dog around the right hand side of the cafe through a closed gate into the garden at the back of the cafe.

    Cheviot Tea rooms
    33 Hall Street, Cheviot
    Great quick service for take away coffees, ice creams and cold drinks.

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