The track leads you under nīkau palms and kauri stands with glimpses of northern rātā hanging from pōhutukawa among a cluster of jagged bush-covered peaks.
As you climb towards the summit of Mount Manaia, 420 m above sea level, the gradient gets steeper and the views get more impressive.
Mount Manaia is 28 km east of Whangārei. Park in the Mount Manaia Club’s lower car park on Whangārei Heads Road above McLeod Bay. The track begins just above the car park.
Mount Manaia is the tūpuna/ancestor and chief of Ngātiwai and many Iwi and hapū (sub-tribes) of not only Whangārei, but the Northland region. The craggy peaks represent his family who were turned to stone through karakia (ritual chants) in a dispute over the infidelity of his wife.
As Mount Manaia is a wāhi tapu (sacred place) for Ngātiwai and other Iwi and hapū (sub-tribes) in Northland – respect the area and keep to the marked tracks.
Auckland and parts of the Waikato are at Level 3. DOC huts and campsites are closed in these regions. The rest of New Zealand is at Level 2.