Mangawhai to Pākiri

  • Walking
29.5 km
Journey Time
7 to 8 hours each way
Part of Collections
Te Araroa - New Zealand's TrailTe Araroa - North Island
Track maintained by
Te Araroa Trail Trust

Te Araroa's Auckland region begins at Mangawhai Heads, a popular holiday and surf destination which is accessible by road.

From Mangawhai Heads carpark, follow the road to the walkway by 44 Wintle Street which leads down to the estuary. Follow the estuary past a camping ground, a boat ramp and holiday baches until wooden steps lead up to the Findlay Street walkway. From Findlay Street, head left into Molesworth Drive. Immediately after crossing the estuary, the trail leaves Molesworth Drive to follow the Back Bay Boardwalk for 1km, bypassing a busy road to enjoy the coastal wetlands on a path built by local volunteers. The route returns to Molesworth Drive to continue until reaching Mangawhai Village. Then a right into Moir Street, left into Insley Street and across the estuary then left into Black Swamp Road. Follow this road until reaching Pacific Road which leads you through a forestry block to the beach and the next stage of Te Araroa.

Bypass Note: You could obtain a boat ride across the estuary to the Mangawhai Spit to avoid the road walking section. Care of sand-nesting birds is required on this Scientific Wildlife Reserve - please stick to the shoreline.

Just 1km south, a stream cuts across the beach and it can go over thigh height, as can other water crossings on this track. Follow the coast southwards for another 2km, then take the track over Te Ārai Point. Once back on the beach, continue south for 12km (fording Poutawa Stream on the way) until you cross the Pākiri River then head inland to reach the end of Pākiri River Road.


No dogs allowed

Lower tide best: check best times for walking on Mangawhai Spit

Warning; when heavy rain & high tide coincide these rivers can be deep; never cross flooded rivers; Environment Wildlife Sanctuary - avoid dune nesting sites; no dogs allowed.

*Please take care all the way down the beach and avoid entering taped/marked nesting sites, particularly if needing to venture upstream to cross. Where possible, avoid the sand-dune area completely.


How to get here

Northern Start: Beach carpark, Wintle Street, Mangawhai Heads
Southern End: Beach access, Pakiri Beach

Track Elevation and Map

More information

Te Araroa Northland trail notes, including information about accommodation, transport and resupplying

General information

Carter’s Mangawhai Information Centre - Molesworth Drive, Mangawhai Heads (entrance Mangawhai Golf Club) - P: 09 431 5090 - E: 

Mountain Safety Council Plan My Trip
Page last updated: Oct 27, 2021, 9:01 AM