Whangamumu Track & Whaling StationBeginner
Submitted by Simon Clendon
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Front country - easily accessible
Out and Back
Undulating, small hills only
Native bushBeachCoastalOpen tussock/grasslands
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This is a great short run to experience some Bay of Islands beauty without completing the much longer nearby Cape Brett Walkway.
The run starts beside the road to Rawhiti just before the end of the first gravel section. Climb over the stile and an easy start takes you beside some wetlands and then into regenerating bush. Part of the track goes through private land where you must keep to the track. The trail is well marked and easy to follow.
You soon start ascending the main hill to a height of about 150m ASL. There is a track junction near the top where you turn right to Whangamumu. Turning left would take you to the Cape Brett walkway but I suggest you save that for another more adventurous day.
Before long you will come to a lookout that affords wonderful views of Whangamumu Harbour. Pause, take in the view, and snap a selfie! From here it is a fast downhill on slightly technical trail to the beach. Turn left on the beach and follow the large orange DoC markers to a small up-and-over track to the derelict Whaling station. There are a number of pictorial signs describing the various relics.
Return the same way you came to complete the round trip.
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Features of interest
The destination of this run is the historic Whangamumu Whaling Station.
Whangamumu Harbour acted as a base for an onshore whaling station in the 1800s and early 1900s. The Whangamumu Whaling Station was the only one in the world that caught whales with nets, and it was Northland's longest running and most successful station.
Today the physical remains at Whangamumu represent the last factory based whaling station Northland. The remaining historic structures include vats or tanks that held whale oil, the slipway on the beach front, and the old boiler.
- Source DoC
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 5%
Moderate Single Track: 10%
Easy Single Track: 80%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 5%
Access to the Whangamumu Track is from Rawhiti Road, 1.1 km from the Manawaora Road and Rawhiti Road intersection.
* From Russell, take the Russell-Whakapara Road for 13.8 km and turn off at Kempthorne Road. Follow the road through Parekura Bay, continuing on to Manawaora Road. At the end of the road, turn left onto Rawhiti Road (gravel).
* From Whangarei travel north turning off SH1 at Whakapara. Follow the Russell Road until you get to Rawhiti Road.
- Source DoC
There is limited parking beside the road at the start of the track. Secure-ish car parking facilities are available for $3 at a nearby property (20m back along the road)
There are a couple of intersections but they are well marked. Just head to "Whangamumu". When you hit the beach go left and you will see large orange DoC markers nailed to trees guiding the way. If it is high tide then you will get wet feet but it is shallow and stable underfoot.
Short-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
No drinkable water, although there are a couple of streams of unknown quality (boiling is recommended). You should bring all the water you think you will need from wherever you are staying.
Northland is temperate so no heavy duty clothing is required, especially in summer.
If the tide is high then you will get wet shoes on the coastal track to the whaling station.
Post run indulgence
No shops or cafes anywhere close by (at all!)
Russell is the nearest proper civilization and it is over half an hour away on windy road.
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