Cape Brett Track
PHOTO: Brian Dobbie ©

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The Cape Brett Track traverses rugged terrain for 16 km through native and regenerating bush. Expect dramatic coastal views; steep cliffs and drop-offs to the side of the track are a feature.


Track overview

16.3 km one way

Walking and tramping

8 hr Advanced: Tramping track

Dog access

No dogs

  • Kauri dieback
    Help stop kauri dieback

    Kauri dieback disease is killing our native kauri. It spreads by soil movement, but you can help prevent it.

    • Stay away from kauri tree roots.
    • Clean your gear before and after visiting kauri forest.

About this track


Cape Brett Track traverses through native and regenerating bush. The track runs along the ridge through Maori-owned land before reaching conservation land at Deep Water Cove - Manawahuna for the last 6 km of the track. You can take a side-track (1 hr return) down to Deep Water Cove, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim and snorkel.

Mountain biking is not permitted as the track is unsuitable for this.

From the forested ridges, you can take in spectacular coastal scenery. Towards the Cape, walking alongside the dramatic cliff-face, you can see abundant fish and bird life below - often dolphins and seals will come close to shore.

From Deep Water Cove onwards, the track gets more challenging and becomes quite exposed with steep drop-offs to the sea below.

Although it is not that far to the lighthouse, it will take you about 2-3 hours, and can be quite tiring. The effort is rewarded with outstanding views of the outer Bay of Islands, north to the Cavalli Islands and south to Whangaruru and beyond to the Poor Knights Islands.

Along the track, you will come across an electric fence crossing the width of the peninsula. This was constructed in 1995 to reduce the impact of possums on the coastal bush. Ensure the gate is closed.

10,000 Steps Northland: This track equates to approximately 26,666 steps.

Cape Brett Hut. Image: Sharlene Laskey ©

Cape Brett Hut

Category: Serviced
Facilities: 23 bunk beds, cooking, mattresses
Bookings required

Getting there

The track begins from Oke Bay in Rawhiti, or can be joined from the Whangamumu Track. Access is also available from the landing at Deep Water Cove.

Cape Brett is 30 km north east of Russell. You can get to Cape Brett and Whangamumu via Rawhiti Road.

From Russell, take the Russell-Whakapara Road for 13.8 km and turning off at Kempthorne Road. Follow the road through Parekura Bay, continuing on to Manawaora Road. At the top of the road, turn left onto Rawhiti Road.

From Whangarei travel north turning off SH1 at Whakapara. Follow the Russell Road until you get to Rawhiti Road.

To access Cape Brett Reserve by sea, land at either Deep Water Cove or at Cape Brett. A water taxi is available from Russell and Paihia.


A track fee applies for the portion of track that runs over private land: 

  • Rawhiti - Deep Water Cove - $30.00 per adult, $15.00 per child.  

Track and hut fees can be paid at the Bay of Islands i-SITE Visitor Centre in Paihia.
Phone:  +64 9 402 7345 
Website: Bay of Islands i-SITE

Know before you go

  • No camping or fires.
  • Pack out all your rubbish including food scraps, to prevent rat infestations.
  • Parking at 253 Rawhiti Road (Julie Witehira), Kaingahoa is recommended. Secure parking is also available at Hartwells, Kaimarama Bay, end of Rawhiti Road, for a small fee.


To walk this 16 km undulating track, you need to:

  • be self-sufficient and have have a high degree of fitness and experience
  • take extreme caution as there are many bluffs and steep cliffs
  • remain on the track at all times
  • have 8 hours of daylight one way to complete the journey to the old lighthouse settlement
  • wear tramping/hiking boots, especially if the track is wet
  • take plenty of water to drink during the tramp
  • carry a water treatment system if you are staying at the Cape Brett hut as the quality of drinking water cannot be guaranteed during summer

Before tramping in or staying at the hut, check with the DOC Bay of Islands office about the water supply.


Pewhairangi / Bay of Islands Office
Phone:   +64 9 407 0300
Address:   34 Landing Road
Kerikeri 0230
Full office details
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