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Tapotupotu Bay to Cape Reinga , Northland

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Tapotupotu Bay to Cape Reinga Beginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Anne-Louise Robertson

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Very hilly

Native bush

Beginner - Intermediate

2:30 (Slow)
1.45 (Moderate)
1.15 (Fast)



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Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

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There are currently no male FKTs for Tapotupotu Bay to Cape Reinga .


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This provides a shorter, logistically simpler, alternative to a full Cape Reinga to Spirits Bay run.

The track starts at the left hand corner of the beach up a clearly visible track. It climbs steadily, then steeply for 1km before descending for 2km to the Sandy Bay. The trail is really runnable after the first ascent. There are a couple of diversions to viewpoints if you fancy (not necessary if you are chasing a FKT!)

The trail goes through manuka trees as the trail snakes along the ridge then steps wind down more steeply to Sandy Bay. At Sandy Bay, the signage is a bit lacking but at the edge of the beach head straight across to where the headland juts out and the path goes up through the vegetation a few metres back. You will need to search a bit! The track climbs quite steeply and at first it's quite rocky and loose but that soon gives way to a runnable grassy slope and then gravelly trail.

The track emerges onto the Cape Reinga tourist track with 400m of free running on tarmac to the lighthouse. Dodge the tourists, enjoy the views, take a selfie and then head back and take the time to have a swim at Sandy Bay on the way!

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Features of interest

Coastal flora and fauna.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 0%

Technical Single Track: 10%

Moderate Single Track: 20%

Easy Single Track: 70%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Run starts at Tapotupotu Bay DoC Camping Ground. Access is via a well-groomed metalled road.

    Plenty of parking for visitors. Shuttle buses also run between the DoC Campsites and Cape Reinga.

    110 km

    94 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Sandy Bay

    Generally good.

    Short-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.

    No streams or other water sources on the route.

    Track is exposed on the ridges - would be interesting in wind and rain. Check tide times.

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