Anyone wanting to stretch their legs will find the Kaipara a great place to do so.
The Kaipara boasts an impressive variety of walks and tracks, ranging from gentle strolls to a chance to climb Northland’s second highest peak or look down on New Zealand’s longest drivable beach from the summit of the Maunganui Bluff.
This page includes a brief summary of some of the walks available. This summary has been put together in collaboration with local tramping and walking groups, drawing on their local knowledge. Many of the tracks listed are not formal walkways. Kaipara District Council accepts no responsibility for any harm to people or property arising from use of the routes listed here.
Further information on walking tracks is also available on the Department of Conservation's website.
For the sake of our iconic Kauri please be sure to follow instructions concerning staying on tracks or cleaning footwear to contain the spread of Kauri Dieback Disease.
Ruawai Stopbank Trail
- The Trail runs south along the stopbank from Ruawai Wharf for 4km to the end of Simpson Road. It is suitable for all ages and abilities. The ride offers views of the Kaipara Harbour and access to a very special wide-open space.
- Cyclists may choose to loop around Wilson’s Landing Road or continue along Simpsons Road for a longer ride, either to Tinopai or the café at Matakohe Museum.
- The Ruawai Flats were once a tidal swamp and over the past 100 years a man-made system of drains, floodgates and stopbanks have transformed it into some of the most fertile and productive kumara and dairy farmland in Northland. See the floodgates operating, learn about the history of the area from informative signs and observe the wildlife as you ride.
- Facilities – there are parking, toilets and drinking fountain at the Ruawai Wharf and a Café in Ruawai township.
- Ripiro beach is 107 km long and is New Zealand’s longest driveable beach, longer than the erroneously named Ninety Mile Beach. Baylys Beach is home to the famous local shellfish delicacy called the Toheroa, which was overfished in the 1960’s and 70’s and as a result, public gathering of the shellfish is now prohibited. You may however, find some tuatua’s. As the sands move over time pre-historic embedded kauri logs up to 50,000 years old are often exposed. Historically the wreck of the Alcemene was found here, a three-masted French warship that sank here in 1815.
- Start from either Baylys Beach or Glinks Gully entrances where there are toilets, parking and vehicle access to the beach.
- The beach is rideable 2 ½ hours either side of low tide (check Pouto tides) as the low tide exposes the hard sand. Ride as far as you like in either direction - we suggest riding into the wind first so you have an easy return trip.
- Facilities – toilets, parking, Sharky’s Café and Takeaways at Baylys Beach.
Kai Iwi Lakes Trails
- The trails around the lakes do not cross any creeks or streams and this is the secret of the crystal-clear water. No surface water flows into or out of the lakes and as a result they reliably retain their spectacular blue colour. These are among New Zealand’s largest dune lakes. Enjoy a swim anywhere along the trail.
- Lake Taharoa Trail - This ride follows the lake edge around the biggest of the Kai Iwi Lakes (Lake Taharoa) for around 8km and suits all ages and abilities (easy grade). Head north anti-clockwise from Taharoa Domain. There is an optional detour up the hill for a spectacular view.
- Lake Waikare Trail – A shorter trail of approximately 4kms with occasional steep sections around the pristine waters of Lake Waikare. Start from the reserve at the far end of the lake and head clockwise.
- Lake Kai Iwi – A quick but at times challenging ride of approximately 4 kms. Track entrance is found on the right on the Taharoa domain near the campground.
- Facilities – there are toilets, parking and camping facilities at Taharoa Domain and sometimes even a coffee cart.
- Safety – there are also trails around Lakes Waikare and Kai Iwi and these both contain occasional difficult sections.