Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Te Whara / Bream Head

Whangarei, Northland

Submitted by Vicki Woolley

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 20 ?

Gnarl Factor: 51 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Point to Point (one way)

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush



Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +20.2%

Average Downhill Gradient: -19.6%


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Estimated Times to Run







If you are not bringing in the Busby Head/Smugglers Bay Loop as a warmup, then take a deep breath when you leave the Urquharts Bay carpark. A short uphill trot through farmland (left at the first junction) will bring you to a stile and the start of the Te Whara Track climb.
Prepare yourself: in the next kilometre you will tackle over 1,000 stairs to reach 400m of elevation at Mt Lion. Once you are on the ridge, there are good views to be had: take care as there are also steep rocky drop-offs at these viewpoints.
Undulate along the ridge past Mt Lion - ignore the right turn onto Peach Cove Track (this drops to Peach Cove Hut at the coast) - and continue onto the Peach Cove/Te Whara Track intersection.
Turn hard right and prepare for more severe climbing over technical single track: rocks, roots and severe drop-offs abound.
Passing just below Bream head (the Gorilla), the trail descends steeply and is very technical before passing into open grassland and eventually sandy beach.

This trail includes the peak Mount Lion.

An ancient Maori route from Urquharts Bay to Ocean Beach. Spectacular coastal, offshore, harbour and city views. Kiwi audible at dusk.
From the Urquharts bay end, add in the Busby Head/Smugglers Bay Loop Track for some WWII history and coastal goodness (additional 3km).

Toilets at carpark

33 km

37 minutes




Stop at any track junctions and check you are on the right route.

Generally good.

Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

None. Carry own water.

Limestone can be extremely slippery when wet: take care if venturing out to the many lookouts/dropoffs.

Rocks are very slippery when wet.

The Deck
Reotahi Road, Whangarei Heads
Great soup, great cakes - great pies! Solid food to get you going again.

Parua Bay Tavern
1034 Whangarei Heads Road, Parua Bay
After a run like this you need a beer, hot chips and maybe a steak: you will get all this (plus a view and a grin from the locals) at the Parua Bay pub. And nobody minds if you are sweaty.

Trail Legend


Alex Watson

has completed Te Whara / Bream Head 3 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Makes a lovely winter run but maybe wear boots after recent rain.

Mike McManaway

June 3, 2021

This is a great run or walk, its pretty steep but the views are spectacular, definitely worth the sweat!

Porscha Pearce

May 30, 2020

Loved it, it was a mish up the hills but we got there in the end. When at the top of Bream head it is well worth the side trip to check out the view at the top before descending down to Oceans Beach.

Kelly Davenport

January 24, 2019

I used to live round the corner from this run, and it is stunning. Add in the Smuggler's loop for views down the harbour. Mt Lion is a good climb, well worth it for the views from the top. There are kaka around too is you listen out for them! Finish it off with a pie from the cafe in McLeods Bay :)

Katie Smith

August 31, 2017

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These overlap with this trail to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate activity for each.

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