Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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Wairakau Stream to Dukes Nose

Kerikeri, Northland

Submitted by Gary Richardson

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 21 ?

Gnarl Factor: 40 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush


Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +11.0%

Average Downhill Gradient: -11.0%


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Estimated Times to Run







The real star of this run is the climb in the last 750m, from Lane Cove up to Dukes Nose. Note, this is quite a technical climb at the last 100m, involving use of climbing rails up near vertical rock face. Easily achievable for most people, but if you are nervous about heights you may want to stop before the last climb.

From the carpark you will head about 1.3km up a winding gravel and clay 4WD track, nice and open and a good warmup. After going through a kauri dieback cleaning station you will arrive at a signposted junction at the top of the hill, where the trail towards Lane Cove along Wairakau Stream is marked. This is now some pretty cool twisting single track, mostly downhill with a few damp stream crossings which are easily jumped (in summer).

Once at the stream you will have to wade the two crossings to the grass flats on the other side. Continue over the rocky terrain and keep an eye out for the ‘disappearing’ waterfalls that come and go depending on recent rainfall. Follow the south-western arm of the Whangaroa Harbour to the Lane Cove Hut, day shelter and toilets in Pekapeka/Ranfurly Bay. From here you can either return if you are not keen on heights, or head to the right at the junction and climb up to Dukes Nose. Note the last 100m involves climbing rails and chains and could be pretty hair-raising to some. The view at the top is spectacular.

The return is a reversal of all of the above. Note, you can arrange a water taxi to collect you at Lane Cove if you prefer a one way trip, but it must be pre-arranged. Google Whangaroa Water Taxi for details.

The view from Dukes Nose across Whagaroa Harbour is breath taking. You can see right out the harbour entrance to Stephenson Island, and down further south towards the Cavalli Islands and Mahinepua Peninsula (another nearby great run here).

This carpark has room for about half a dozen cars. Walkers heading to Lane Cove for the day will use it too, so in summer be early to ensure a park. If it is full you can park further back down the road easily enough. You will be parking on the side of the road, please be courteous and don't park like an idiot so we can all fit in!

42 km

39 minutes




This is pretty straightforward, follow the stream and track is well marked.

Very patchy.

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

The stream and waterholes are good for water; drink at your own risk of course like all NZ streams.

I haven't been in winter, but imagine the bottom half of the track could be slippery although there is not much clay. And the 750m up to Dukes Nose could be very slippery, so beware.

The climbing rails to Dukes Nose need to be treated with respect, especially in damp weather. Check the DOC page for more details (google "Wairakau Stream").

Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club
At the Whangaroa Marina, about 20 minutes back south (turn left over the one way bridge)
Good beers, neat people. Grab one of their burgers and if you still have energy, nearby is the St Pauls Rock climb (more climbing rails) and a neat view.

Trail Legend


Grant Allerby

has completed Wairakau Stream to Dukes Nose twice in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Loved this trail!! Has technical single track, goods hills and even a few river crossings. The finish push to the Dukes Nose added a whole new element with the ascent up the boulders with the hand rails. Spectacular views of the surrounding Harbour really made me realise how amazing this all is.

Pat Kalin

August 8, 2022

Such a great run! Nice varied terrain, an awesome rock scramble and stunning views at the top. Highly recommend!

Amy Whitehead

November 29, 2020

This is one of the best trails out there, both fun terrain for running and amazing views at Dukes Nose and along the trail. Highly recommended.

Ian Gilmour

August 3, 2020

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