Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway

Image: Fraser Clements | ©


The rugged beauty of New Zealand’s coast unfolds with panoramic views offering spectacular photo opportunities along this walk from the shoreline to the clifftops. It's suitable for children and is one of our best short walks.


  • Unique rock formations.
  • Opportunity to see passing whales and schools of sharks.

  • Fitness required: Moderate
  • Gradient: Moderately steep with many steps


Track overview

9 km return via same track

Walking and tramping

2-3 hr Easy: Walking track

Seasonal restrictions

The link track between Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway and Cove Road is closed 1 September to the end of October for lambing and calving. The Walkway remains open during this period and is accessible from the carpark near the Mangawhai Surf Life Saving Club.

Dog access

No dogs
  • 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 cleaning station when you enter and leave.
    • Always stay on the track.

    How you can help save kauri

About this track


This walk provides breathtaking coastal views that extend from Bream Head in the north down to the Tāwharanui Peninsula in the south. The Coromandel Peninsula and Great Barrier Island/Aotea are often seen on the horizon.

The track starts along the beach, then climbs quite steeply for about 20 minutes to a lookout point. It then winds past ancient pōhutukawa teetering on the sheer slopes before descending to the stony beach below. From here you can walk back along the beach (8 km), but only at low tide. Keep to the marked track as it crosses private property.

Getting there

Mangawhai is 25 km from Waipu to the north and 26 km from Wellsford to the south.

Access to the track is from the Kaipara District Council car park near the Mangawhai Surf Life Saving Club at the end of Wintle Street.

Nature and conservation

Pōhutukawa and nīkau palms feature on this walk. You may see New Zealand pigeon/kererū devouring the fruit or possibly a kākā making an occasional visit from the offshore islands.

History and culture

The local iwi Te Uri O Hau arrived here on their ancestral waka (canoe), Mahuhu Ki Te Rangi, around AD 1250. In the 1800s, Chief Te Whai resided here at Manga ‘where the rivers meet’, where the name Manga-Te-Whai comes from. 

Know before you go

What to expect
  • Track surface: Coastal section is unformed, rough and rocky
  • Change to elevation: +/- 115 m
  • The return loop along the beach is only possible at low tide. Check the Mangawhai Heads tide timetable before you go. If water is surging through the huge rock archway, return via the cliff track.
  • There is an ongoing risk of loose and unstable material, particularly along the coastal section.
  • Wasps and wasp nests may be present.


Whangarei Office
Phone:   +64 9 470 3300
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   2 South End Ave
Whangarei 0110
Postal Address:   PO Box 842
Whangarei 0140
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