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Bream Head Te Whara Trail, Northland

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Bream Head Te Whara TrailIntermediate

Submitted by Chris Douglas

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible



Native bush
Open farmlands
Open ridges/tops


5 (Slow)
3.30 (Moderate)
2.30 (Fast)



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This trail is part of the course of the Wild Kiwi 21Km trail run by Total Sports, the only part omitted is the 3km road run at the end.
The trail starts at the Urquharts Bay carpark, here you can view the trail map for the Bream Head (Te Whara ) Reserve.
Enter the reserve and follow the trail around the coastline to your right which is the Busby/Smugglers Cove loop, this is a great warm up before the climbing starts. You will pass the WWII gun emplacement overlooking the Refinery and continue along the coast passing an option to shortcut to Smugglers Bay. The next option is an out and back track to Busby Head at the 2.7km mark if you choose otherwise continue to Smugglers.
The next intersection will take you left at Smugglers Bay into the paddock and follow the trail to the high point of the saddle. Here take a hard right and enter the Te Whara trail leading up the hill you will see a DOC sign on the fence line.
Here the fun begins, ahead are 1207 steps to take you to the top of Mt Lion at 350m but the view from the top is well worth it. The next part you will run along the ridgeline for 2km and at 7.4km there will be a junction which you will turn right to head to Ocean Beach. You will have a bit of a climb here until you reach a point at 8.5km where you will intersect with some stairs at this point take the short out and back turn to the right for 100m and you will be able to reach the 415m peak of this trail. When you get to the end you can climb to the top for 360 deg views (not for the faint hearted). After this return to the junction and continue down the steps and the track will lead you all the way to Ocean Beach.
At ocean beach the track will lead you down to the sandhills on the beach then into the carpark, carry on through the carpark and turn left onto Ocean Beach Rd.
Head up Ocean Beach Road for 1 Km and turn left onto the Peach Cove track sign posted by DOC.
Follow this track which will lead you back onto the main ridge trail you came down and continue the 6km back to the carpark. The only difference is when you descend the 1207 steps at the bottom turn right to shortcut the track directly back to the carpark.

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Features of interest

This headland of volcanic rock sits at the entrance to the stunning Whangarei Harbour with magnificent views to Bream tail and little Barrier in the South to Cape Brett in the North. Stepped in History from the Pa sites to WWII Gun emplacements, Native bush to beautiful beaches this trail is truly stunning.

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 30%

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Easy Single Track: 25%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 10%

Sealed Road: 5%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run 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 Strava activity for each


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    The Start of the trail is the car park at the end of Urquharts Bay road. To get to Urquharts bay leave Whangarei and drive through Onerahi taking a left onto Whangarei Heads Rd. Travel 27km then turn right onto Urquaharts Bay Rd

    Public parking is available at the Bream Head Scenic Reserve. Toilets and changing rooms are available at the parking area.

    33 km

    37 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    on trails follow the DOC orange triangle markers

    Perfect throughout.

    Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.

    Water is available at the start at the toilets and at Ocean beach carpark toilets 11km

    The ridge track can be slippery in the winter and car needs to be taken with the tree roots.

    Care needs to be taken at the lookouts as there are some significant drops

  • Post run indulgence

    The Deck Cafe
    1 Reotahi Rd McLeods Bay
    Great coffee and homemade pies

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


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