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Te Paki Coastal Track, Cape Reinga

View of Ninety Mile Beach. Photo: Lisa Mead
Area
Cape Reinga
Distance
45.2km
Time
Three days
Grade
Easy/Moderate
Accom.
Camping at Taputaputa and Twilight Beach
Access
Kapowairua at the end of Spirits Bay Rd. Shuttle service available from Waitiki Landing on SH1
Map
AT24
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Te Paki Coastal Track (gpx, yo 54 KB)
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This track makes for an ideal short break: three days will cover the 48km and the Waitiki Landing Backpackers complex offers a shuttle service and car storage.

The trail from Kapowairua is initially flat but its sandy nature means it is not especially fast walking.

Cross the lagoon on a long zigzag footbridge and the short climb around a headland offers marvellous views back to the starting point before arriving at Pandora and the pristine Whangakea Beach. This is the first of two micro-campsites which provide a covered open-sided pavilion with a fixed table and benches, composting toilets and water supply.

The stiff climb out of Pandora crosses numerous small but sheer streamlets before cresting the ridge to find views north and west and glimpses of Cape Reinga.

Follow the trail over the first of several Maori pa sites (Tirikawa, 286m), descending a well-defined spur, ascending again above rocky cliff faces and finally dropping into the estuary adjacent to the DOC campsite at Tapotupotu Bay.

Head up and over a rocky headland to Sandy Bay before the final climb to Cape Reinga. Along the track to Cape Maria van Diemen, the landscape changes to dramatic vistas of red and ochre dunes against dark cliffs and turquoise seas.

After crossing the estuary at the end of the 3km stretch of Te Werahi Beach climb across a gaudy landscape of dunes and pinky peach sandstone. Shifting sands and infrequent markers mean walkers must keep an eye out for the trail, but soon you’ll reach scrubland again and a more distinct path.

The camp, fringed with pohutukawa trees, perched some 20m above beautiful Twilight Beach, is another gem. Cross elevated scrubland with views towards Te Paki farm and the giant sand dunes, before reaching the long flights of stairs at Scott Point and descending to the endless expanse of Ninety Mile Beach.

Shuck your shoes and meander barefoot up Te Paki stream, bringing you to the car park and a shuttle ride back to Waitiki Landing.

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