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Bream Head Scenic Reserves is a coastal forest reserve. It is a rich archaeological landscape resulting from more than 500 years of Maori occupation.

Place overview


  • Walking and tramping
  • 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.
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      Nature and conservation

      Red crowned parakeet.
      Red crowned parakeet

      Bream Head Scenic Reserve is one of New Zealand’s premier coastal forest reserves and is the best example of its type in Northland.

      It provides a refuge for a diverse range of species brought together in a unique coastal broadleaf forest association including kiwi, kukupa (wood pigeon), threatened invertebrates, bats, skinks, geckos, several bird species from offshore islands like kaka, kakariki (red-crowned parakeet) and bellbird, and nationally and regionally significant plants.

      Bream Head also provides habitat for coastal birds and the southern most mainland colony of the threatened native flax snail – pupuharakeke.

      Bream Head. Photo: Terry Conaghan.
      Bream Head


      Bream Head is nationally important for its ecological, cultural and historic significance. DOC, local iwi, the Bream Head Conservation Trust and the community are committed to restoring Bream Head to the way it probably was before the arrival of predators when all species were able to flourish.

      This work includes a revegetation programme, weed and pest control.

      As predator numbers have dropped, North Island brown kiwi have been released into the area which is now designated as one of the country’s kiwi sanctuaries. It is also a site for the Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Operation Nest Egg program. The vision is for the restoration work to continue, resulting in an increase in the numbers and variety of native flora and fauna.

      History and culture

      Bream Head is of special significance to iwi. They regard the mountain (Te Whara) as an ancestor and consider the whole area, including the tracks passing through as wahi tapu (sacred places). These mountains were once used as urupa or burial grounds.

      Heritage sites

      Find out about Maori and World World II sites at Bream Head

      Getting there

      Bream Head Scenic Reserve is located at Whangarei Heads, north-east of Whangarei city.

      Know before you go

      • Do not interfere with pest traps.
      • To minimise disturbance to the area, and out of respect to local iwi and their ancestors, keep to the marked tracks.
      • No dogs and open fires in the reserve.
      • Tracks can be slippery after rain.
      • The rocky outcrops have steep drop offs. Children should be well supervised.
      • Northland reserve bylaws apply to Bream Head Scenic Recreation Reserve.


      Whangarei Office
      Phone:      +64 9 470 3300
      Full office details
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