Cape Brett lighthouse

Image: Charles Meeks | Creative Commons


Come for a walk and view one of New Zealand's Landmarks / Whenua Tohunga, the historic lighthouse at Cape Brett, or visit the historic Whangamumu Whaling Station. Enjoy outstanding views of the outer Bay of Islands, north to the Cavalli Islands and south to Whangaruru and beyond to the Poor Knights Islands.


Guiding light: The light at the end of Cape Brett/Rakaumangamanga has guided and protected visitors to New Zealand for hundreds of years. 

The light reflecting off the crystalline rocks once helped guide the earliest waka to a safe landfall in this new homeland. For the last 100 years the Cape Brett lighthouse has lit and protected the coast for all seafarers. 

Historic Cape Brett lighthouse.

Place overview


  • Boating
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Walking and tramping
  • Stop kauri dieback and protect kauri
    • Kauri dieback disease is spread through soil.
    • Scrub soil off shoes and gear and check it's all removed before you go.
    • Use a hygiene station when you enter and leave.
    • Always stay on the track.

    How you can help save kauri


In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Cape Brett and Whangamumu area

About this place

Nature and conservation

In 1984 most of the Cape Brett Reserve was given over to the Department of Lands and Survey, with DOC taking over administration of the area three years later. In 1991, DOC purchased a large block of land between Cape Brett and Deep Water Cove and after consultation with local iwi, renamed the reserve ‘Manawahuna’.

Cape Brett features native and regenerating bush. From the forested ridges, you can take in spectacular coastal scenery.

Towards the Cape, the dramatic cliff-face provides you with a birds-eye view of abundant fish and bird life below - often dolphins and seals will come close to shore.

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. Cape Brett peninsula was once known for its magnificent blaze of crimson pohutukawa flowers in summer, however, many of these trees were reduced to grey skeletons through possum browsing. It is hoped that this fence will allow the trees to flourish once again. Ensure the gate is closed.

Getting there

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.

Know before you go

  • No dogs
  • No camping 
  • No fires


Pewhairangi / Bay of Islands Office
Phone:   +64 9 407 0300
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   34 Landing Road
Kerikeri 0230
Postal Address:   PO Box 128
Kerikeri 0245
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