Whangarei Harbour from the top of Bream Head Track

Image: Russell Street | Creative Commons


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
  • Help stop kauri dieback
    • Stay away from kauri tree roots.
    • Clean your footwear and gear before and after visiting kauri forest.

    How you can help save kauri

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Bream Head Scenic Reserve

About this place

Nature and conservation

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 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 at Whangarei Heads, southeast 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
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   whangarei@doc.govt.nz
Address:   2 South End Ave
Whangarei 0110
Postal Address:   PO Box 842
Whangarei 0140
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