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Peach Cove Hut, Bream Head Scenic Reserve

View towards the Hen and Chicken Islands. Photo: Vanessa James
Bream Head Scenic Reserve
Peach Cove Hut (serviced, eight bunks. The hut is locked. A pin number is given once DOC has received payment – P:09 470 3300)
From the Ocean Beach car park on Ranui Road, or the Peach Cove car park on Ocean Beach Road (depending which direction you do the loop in)
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Bream Head is one of those places that captures the imagination. The headland rises steeply out of the waters at the end of Bream Bay and cuts a jagged line across the sky from SH1 as you travel north through Waipu and Ruakaka.

Bream Head Scenic Reserve is classified as a significant natural heritage environment. Its forest is the largest and highest-quality pohutukawa-broadleaf coastal forest in Northland, and it has a number of threatened, at risk and regionally significant plants and animals, including the critically endangered native land snail and the pupuharakeke or flax snail.

Set out from the Ocean Beach car park on Ranui Road. At the end of the beach the track climbs steeply up the headland and curves away through open grassland up the ridge.

Followed the track steadily uphill through thick dry grass to Naval Post No.7, where the concrete and rusting remains of the Second World War radar station rises out of the bush in front of the Hen and Chicken Islands. From there, the track drops into the broadleaf forest.

The track is narrow and covered with tree roots, and there are several sections which require some climbing.

Soon you reach Te Whara, the 476m summit (peak baggers take note), and about half an hour from the radar station, you reach the Black Thumb.

After continuing along the ridgeline and negotiating a narrow gap between two massive boulders, the track becomes a formed gravel path broken up with neat sets of wooden steps. Pass the track to Peach Cove car park and carry on along the ridge to the Peach Cove Track. This is a formed track with stairs descending steeply to Peach Cove and the hut.

There are 818 steps to the beach.

The Peach Cove car park is signposted as being two hours from Peach Cove.