Smuggler's Bay Walkway

Image: Florian Bugiel | Creative Commons


With coastal forest, spectacular views and WWII gun emplacements as well - there is plenty to keep kids interested on this short, easy walk.


Track overview

3 km loop

Walking and tramping

1 hr 30 min Easy: Walking track

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


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 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.

Getting there

Located in the Bream Head Scenic Reserve. The track starts from the Urquharts Bay Rd car park.

History and culture

You will walk past the gun emplacement at Home Point. This was built during World War II as a defence against possible invasion. The six-inch naval gun was aimed with the help of a camouflaged radar station on the ridge above Ocean Beach. Inside the remote control room is a landscape painting of the Bream Bay area. It offers a unique interpretation of what the area look like before the construction of the Marsden Point Oil Refinery.

Read more about Bream Head gun emplacement.

The area from Home Point – Smugglers Bay contains dense evidence of Maori occupation, including a defensive pā on Busby Head, many house terraces, pātaka kai/food storage pits and an almost continuous midden reflecting the wealth of kai moana/seafood resources in the harbour. There are a number of these sites along the ridge to Te Whara/Bream Head. An archaic midden at Smugglers gives in indication of the length of time Māori have occupied this area.

Know before you go

  • Do not interfere with pest traps
  • This area is grazed, livestock may be present.
  • Farm vehicles may operate in this area.
  • To minimise disturbance to the area and out of respect to local iwi and their ancestors, keep to the marked tracks.
  • Be careful of protruding tree roots.
  • This track is not suitable for bikes. Mountain biking is not permitted.
  • The rocky outcrops have steep drop-offs. Children should be well supervised.
  • Northland reserve bylaws apply to Bream Head Scenic Reserve.


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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