From the Urquharts Bay car park, the loop track takes you around Busby Head to the lovely Smugglers Bay and back to the car park.
The offers a fairly easy walk encompassing coastal forest, spectacular views, and a WWII era gun emplacement. The short one-way detour to the end of Busby Head is well worth the effort.
Alternatively, there is a direct route over the hill to Smugglers Bay, which takes about 15 minutes.
Located in the Bream Head Scenic Reserve. The track starts from the Urquharts Bay Rd car park.
History and culture
You will walk past the gun emplacement at Home Point. This was built during World War II as a defence against possible invasion. The six-inch naval gun was aimed with the help of a camouflaged radar station on the ridge above Ocean Beach. Inside the remote control room is a landscape painting of the Bream Bay area. It offers a unique interpretation of what the area look like before the construction of the Marsden Point Oil Refinery. Read more about Bream Head gum emplacement
The area from Home Point – Smugglers Bay contains dense evidence of Maori occupation, including a defensive pa on Busby Head, many house terraces, food storage pits and an almost continuous midden reflecting the wealth of sea food / kai moana resources in the harbour. There are a number of these sites along the ridge to Bream Head. An archaic midden at Smugglers gives in indication of the length of time Maori have occupied this area.
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.
- Make sure you are carrying plenty of drinking water.
- Tracks can be slippery after rain.
- Be careful of tree roots protruding onto the track.
- The rocky outcrops have steep drop offs. Children should be well supervised.
- Dogs and open fires are not permitted in the reserve including the beach.
- Northland reserve bylaws apply to Bream Head Scenic Reserve.