There is more than 100km of walking tracks on Waiheke Island and the Matietie Historic Reserve Track is a short route, mainly following the coastline as it loops around headlands and dips into sheltered bays.
A section of the Headlands network, the Matietie Historic Reserve Track is a good taster of what the island has to offer. It’s a one to two-hour circular walk with beach, bush and great views.
Starting beside the ferry terminal in Matiatia Bay, the first section takes 10-minutes along the pōhutukawa-lined beach and is accessible one hour either side of low tide. A sign marks the turn-off from the beach and a wide gravel road leads through a valley for 330m, gradually gaining 40m.
It’s easy to overlook a route marker leading through a small area of bush on the left, near the top of the hill, but once on this narrow track it’s only a few minutes to Delamore Drive. The way down to Owhanake Bay is easily seen across the other side of the road. It’s well signed, and there is a seat for taking a break and enjoying the view. Delamore Drive is named after the family that farmed the area and gifted land to establish the Matietie Reserve.
Steps lead down to Owhanake Bay. The track is graded as a tramping track but it is actually well-formed and wooden stairs have been built on the steeper sections. In dry summer weather, it’s walkable in sandals, though the track may be muddy in places during wet periods.
At Owhanake Bay, the track turns left (west) and winds around clifftops with occasional views through the bush to the boats anchored below. It’s easy walking, but quite narrow here, and where it drops down to the bays, there are more steps.
Near Cable Bay, the view opens to show the waters and islands of the Hauraki Gulf.
Cable Bay is memorable for a large dog-on-wheels sculpture, sitting on a railway track. Sculptures are a feature of the next section of the walk too, as the trail passes a number of large properties complete with manicured gardens and interesting and impressive examples of garden art.
There is no formed track here; but there are yellow-topped wooden markers showing the way through mown grassy areas between the gardens and the cliff edge.
The final section of the track passes through native bush and around hills punctuated by shingly beaches. Kereru can often be heard flapping noisily in pōhutukawa that cling to the hillsides surrounding these little bays.
Just as it starts to feel like you could be miles from anywhere, Matiatia Bay is revealed around one final headland. From here it’s a short downhill walk back to the beach.
- Total Ascent
- 90 mins
- From Matiatia Wharf
- Matietie Historic Reserve Track (gpx, 6 KB)
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