Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Paihia - Russell Loop

Paihia, Northland

Submitted by Dan Boulton

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 17 ?

Gnarl Factor: 19 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe


Undulating, small hills only

Dog Friendly

Native bush



Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +6.3%

Average Downhill Gradient: -6.3%


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Estimated Times to Run







Starting from Paihia, run along the beach front heading south. At the end of the beach take the headland around the rocks for about 1km until you reach the causeway. At the end of this cross the bridge and turn left and start the Awaroa Trail through to Opua, a great fast single track through great bush that takes you to the Opua car ferry. The ferry runs every 10 min and costs $1.

Getting off the ferry head up the hill for 300m and then turn left down a road with the sign saying walking track. At the bottom, look to your right for a sign which says Russell Walkway. This takes you all the way to Russell via some great bush single track and coastal boardwalks. At Russell stop for a coffee or a beer at the Duke of Marlborough before catching the ferry back to Paihia.

Lots of amazing coastal views of the Bay of Islands. Two ferry rides (not included in the KM's or time above).

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Parking available at both places.

0 km

0 minutes




Generally good.

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

Drinking fountains in Paihia and Russell, and a shop in Opua.

Nil, good all year round trail. May need to consider high tide when heading south of Paihia.

Duke of Marlborough
Russell Waterfront
Oldest pub in NZ, great location.

Third Wheel Coffee shop
Great coffee and cabinet food

Trail Legend

Jenny  Hirst

Jenny Hirst

has completed Paihia - Russell Loop once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Awesome mix of rocky shore, boardwalks, single coastal track and native bush. Can confirm that the track is open the whole way now, despite signs still up saying the bridge just past the motor camp is closed.

Richie Hudson

March 4, 2023

Great winter run.

Plenty of mud around Orongo Bay in July and the boardwalk over the inlet near Te Haumi camp is still not repaired, but as has been said by others a bypass is straightforward. Just follow your nose along to the road if you're coming north, and if heading south go over the road bridge and head left down the private accessway just after the bridge.

John Scott

July 22, 2022

Would be 5 stars once track is reopened. Went for the high tide scramble, which is fun but definitely slow! The bush after the Opua ferry is superb. Great fun!

Simon Dunlop

January 4, 2022

Just to add on the track closure south of the campground, where a bridge is under repair. You don’t need to go all the way on the road; just 400m further and before the liquor store is an unmarked left turn (unsealed). Take this, go past a gate and turn off where signed to go through a meadow of long grass to rejoin the track after the closed section. Then all good to English Bay from there.

David Ching

January 2, 2022

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