Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Whangamumu Track & Whaling Station

Russell, Northland

Submitted by Simon Clendon

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 11 ?

Gnarl Factor: 26 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush



Open tussock/grasslands

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +10.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -10.9%


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Estimated Times to Run







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.

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

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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)

26 km

32 minutes




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.

Very patchy.

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.

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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