Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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Whananaki Estuary and Bush

Hikurangi, Northland

Submitted by Chris Taylor

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Closed More info

This track is currently closed: there are signs up and orange barrier netting at the entrance to the TA section of the track (Onekainga track) on Whananaki North road

Please notify us if this has changed.

Grunt Factor: 28 ?

Gnarl Factor: 69 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest



Open farmlands

Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Easy Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +10.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -10.9%


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Estimated Times to Run







A great run for a summer's day. Start from Whananaki South and head north across footbridge. Turn left off bridge and follow track signs along estuary fringe. Track turns right inland towards and then meets up with Whananaki North Road. Turn left and follow road for roughly a km, looking for sign on right where track turns Northward off road. This part of the trail is marked with orange marker posts and runs along the fence line of a farm for a while before turning north-eastwards away from the fence line and into the paddock up a steep hill.

Keep following the orange markers until you hit the bush and the single trail resumes. From this point there is an increase in elevation through the bush until you are rewareded with some stunning views over the bays north of Whananaki. The trail then turns westwards and descends to a small stream. This trail can take you all the way through to Kaikanui Road if you want to extend the run, however, it is obviously possible to turn around at any point. For this version of the run, cross the stream (several times) and then head to the top of the next hill before turning around and going back to the start.

This trail includes the peak Onekainga.

Whananaki Foot Bridge - apparently the longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere at 395 metres long. This is part of the Te Araroa Trail.

There is a bit of parking near the start and otherwise on the side of the road.

22 km

28 minutes




The trail is fairly well defined in the bush section. Just watch for the orange DOC markers, particularly in the section the crosses the paddock.

Very patchy.

Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

Take your own water.

I ran during the summer and no issues. But sections of the track will be wet and muddy during winter.

Livestock in the paddock - treat with respect.

Hikurangi Four Square
Good selection of colds drinks :)

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Trail Reviews

Track is currently closed at TA entrance on whananaki north road. I only found out when i ran to that point.
NB If track open i would definitely NOT travel there via whananaki south rd from Hikurangi as this entails 9km of dusty very narrow windy metal road. MUCH quicker to turn off SH1 at Whananaki north road, easy sealed road to holiday camp and site where there's a store, heaps of parking and toilets. Then just walk over the foot bridge to start!
Difficult to find the start of estuary track after crossing footbridge and I didn't enjoy the section on the road as it was new year's and heaps of big SUVs towing boats and campers roaring along... not much space to get off the road here.
I think the bush part of the track to onekainga summit and beyond would be very lovely if it were open: I have run the morepork track from the other side of the bush and that is really good forest trail (the 2 tracks meet in the middle).

Denise Limby

January 2, 2022

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