Bream Head - Busby Head / Smugglers Bay Loop Track

Track category

Walking track


1 hr 30 min


3 km


Busby Head track.
Busby Head track

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 track has been upgraded and 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.

View a track location map

The nearby Mount Manaia Track is well worth a visit. The track has been upgraded and the views across the harbour are excellent.

Getting there

Bream Head Scenic Reserve is located at Whangarei Heads, northeast of Whangarei City. The track starts from the Urquharts Bay car park.

Plan and prepare

  • 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.

To minimise disturbance to the area, and out of respect to local iwi and their ancestors, please do not venture off the marked tracks.

The Department of Conservation, local iwi the Whangarei Heads Restoration Trust and the community are committed to restoring Bream Head, which includes a re-vegetation programme, weed and pest control. You may see predator traps beside the track. We ask for your safety that you please do not interfere with them.

Dogs and open fires are not permitted in the reserve including the beach.

Northland reserve bylaws apply to Bream Head Scenic Reserve.

Help stop kauri dieback

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

  • Stay on the track and off kauri roots.
  • Clean your gear before and after visiting kauri forests.

Visit the kauri dieback website for more information on how you can help.

Track location map

Map of Busby Head Track (click map to view larger, JPG, 93K).

View larger (JPG, 93K)

Related links

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Find out more


DOC maps: Discover the outdoors - DOC's key places, campsites, tracks and huts, and visitor centres on a map

Learn more

Check, Clean, Dry between waterways and stop the spread of didymo.

Kauri dieback disease is attacking kauri trees in Northland. Stop it spreading.


Total fire ban

There is a total fire ban within the Kaipara and Whangarei Districts, effective from 1 February 2015 until further notice.

Follow the Outdoor Safety Code

1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Northland places


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

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