Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Lynched at Sailors Grave

Tairua, Waikato

Submitted by Simon Wickham

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done

Closed More info

Another victim of Kauri Dieback unfortunately.

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Grunt Factor: 16 ?

Gnarl Factor: 52 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush




Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +12.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -14.1%


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Estimated Times to Run







You can run this track many ways:
1) The way it is mapped here, a point to point from SH25 to Sailors Grave via Lynch Stream (or in reverse, vice-versa)
2) an out and back in either direction - its good enough to do both ways (15km)
3) a point to point from SH 25 to Sailors Grave and then on road back to Tairua (14km)
4) an out and back 50/50 road/trail from Tairua to Sailors then up Lynch Stream to SH25 and then return back (27km)
This desciption covers (1) above, point to point SH25 to Sailors Grave. Start on a downhill, cross the bridge over Manuka Stream and head over a spur or two till you see a sign for the Kauri Loop which you can take (it adds less than 5mins) then carry on the main track down to the stream valley and then over another spur before a downhill to the next stream crossing which you follow for a while.
This takes you to the base of your first and only big climb of the day which rewards you with a couple of really big Kauri at the top. These were spared the mill (perhaps their conscience got the better of the loggers that stripped the rest of the valley). These are about 30m below the top so keep heading up from the tress where you should see an oversized orange track marker (triangle). You want to make sure you turn right here and down the track (ignore the pink and blue markers that are used by the Kiwi Protection team to mark bait and traps for pests). Take the right hand turn track downhill a short way and then up and over a small hump before the fun downhill to the coast begins. This next section is a beaut. Some technical slippy trail here in winter, in summer its fast. The track heads down and connects up with the Lynch Stream which you follow all the way to the coast. It criss-crosses the stream a few times, one of which is worth a stop as there's a small waterfall (an old trip dam site) that has a nice wee pool for cooling off and filling water bottles (of course DOC recommends boiling all stream water in NZ but I've found taking a cooker and billy on a short trail run is a real drag so I drink the fresh glistening stream water and live life on the edge!!). Head down the track until you hit the bay where the stream meets the sea. Look to your right (south) and you'll see a track heading over the headland for your next move (unless its low tide then you can, if you wish, take the coastal rocks and headlands back to Sailors Grave - low tide route only).
The bush track leads over a hill and undulates across two spurs then down into Otara Bay. This is a golden spot, literally golden sand and very few, if any, others will be on the beach. Run along the beach south until a small stream crosses the beach. You'll see a track heading into the bush and over the last headland into Sailors Grave. There's a short lookout diversion on the way worth a look. When you emerge from the bush run along the grass that fringes the beach and you'll soon see to your right a white picket fence that marks the Sailors Grave (a poor fellow called William Sampson drowned in the surf here in 1842 when his dinghy from the HMS Tortoise overturned). There's also a geocache here too if that sort of thing floats your boat. Run across the stream and up the stairs and you'll be at the carpark. You should stop here though and enjoy the cold stream and the beach! If your ride has ditched you head on up Sailors Grave Rd and down SH 25 to Tairua (another 7-8km to the ice-cream store)

This has it all in small amounts - Kiwi and moreporks at night - daytime just as good. You'll get in and out of stream beds, run through regenerating Kauri, climb to two large original Kauri that were spared the mill, run on pristine beaches and costal track and end up at two great beaches (Otara Bay and Sailors Grave)

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Gravel carpark on roadside - plenty of parking no safety issues. Public Transport - yeah right, you're not in the big smoke now mate. Best either get yourself dropped off to do this one way and picked up at Sailors Grave which is a great spot for those waiting to hang on the beach or dam the creek or take a short walk over the hill to the splendidly quiet Otara Bay (no road access)

8 km

10 minutes




Just don't miss the right hand turn above the two big Kauri - ignore the pink and blue markers for the Kiwi Protection Zone team

Very patchy.

Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map

Streams are usually reliable except in the peak of a hot dry summer when some run a little low and slow. Plenty the rest of the year

No real major issues

Slippery rocks in the creeks, the downhill to the coast can be a bit slippy in winter but still lots of fun

Manaia Bar and Kitchen
Cold tap beer and great pizza/tapas and meals. Best in Tairua. Coffee's good too.

Surf and Sand Takeaways
Forget the greasy fish and chips a double scoop of tip-top boysenberry is what you want. On a hot day let it drip down your hand and lick it off like you did when you were a kid - yum! Then chuck on some jandals and some boardies and head to the one lane bridge for some bombs off the bridge at high tide - that's how you roll like a local. Otherwise get in your B'mer and head to Pauanui

Old Mill Cafe and Restaurant
Nice meals on the estuary by the marina and wharf. Great brunch and good coffee.

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Trail Reviews

I think this track is closed. I attempted to do it Xmas 2020 and there was no sign of the track... either by DOC signage or any evidence this track ever existed.

Annelise La Roche

May 25, 2020

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