Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

Save Trail Save

I've done it Done

Mangawhai Heads

Wellsford, Northland

Submitted by Geoff Neal

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

Save Trail Save

I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 14 ?

Gnarl Factor: 67 ?








Login as a VIP to see driving directions, distance and time.

Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe


Undulating, small hills only

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest



Open farmlands

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +9.6%

Average Downhill Gradient: -9.1%


Login as a VIP to see the trailhead information.

Estimated Times to Run







From the carpark, run out the beach for approx 3.8km. It's a mix of sand and rock-hopping. After the rock arch you'll see the easily marked stairs on the left which will return you back home along the cliff tops.

If you prefer to run faster, then after about 1.4km of beach, take the clifftop route inland and do an out and back instead.

Rock arch and crazy rock formations

Lots of parking and toilets right by the start. Very safe with lots of people about.

34 km

33 minutes




At 1.2km you'll have the option of heading left to go the cliff section first. I think it's probably best to run out the beach first.

Must go +/- 2 hours either side of low tide if you want to do the full beach bit through the rock arch.

Very patchy.

Short-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Cellphone

Must have been some at the carpark but I didn't check.

Can only run beach bit +/- 2 hours either side of low tide.

If you take the beach route to complete the full loop, then you'll need to watch your footing while rock-hopping. Ankle rolling central in parts.

Trail Legend

Glenn Fulton

Glenn Fulton

has completed Mangawhai Heads 3 times in the last year.

Learn about Trail Legends.

Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

For an FKT your run must use the full extent of the beach as described below.

You and Mangawhai Heads

As a VIP member you can record private notes for this trail, see all of your times and more.

Register Now

Already have an account? Login now

Trail Reviews

A beautiful route. The tide was too high when I was there so had to stick to the high ground.

Paul Kleynhans

December 31

The run along the cliff path is beautiful, stunning views, well maintained and inspires you to run your best. Wasn't such a fan of the loose rocks back along the shore which extend most of the way back from the arch to where you turned off the beach to head up the track. If you want more track run and hills then turn back up the track after marveling at the rock arch and return the way you came.

Ian Macleod

October 26, 2022

A stunner!

James McIntosh

January 23, 2022

Just beautiful! As others have said, check tides (you won't get through the rock arch for an hour or two either side of high tide). If you're running along the bottom and it's already wet feet on an incoming tide at the cliff with the column rock formations, you won't get through the arch! If you're not sure get the extra hill work in your legs and do the out and back on the top route (it's surprisingly hilly).

Maggie Davies

January 22, 2020

Login to submit a review

Trail Running Community

Find people who are interested in or have completed this trail run.

You must register or login to view this feature.

Register Now

Other trails nearby
Atiu Creek Runabout.

Atiu Creek Runabout.

Length: 14.1km

Level: Beginner

Find more trails and peaks nearby