A hike up this important Māori landmark will take you past indigenous flora to spectacular summit views of aquamarine harbour waters dotted with islands.
Mount Manaia is an imposing jagged mountain with scenic walking paths and stunning views of the Northland Region. Hike through regenerating indigenous bush to a summit lookout point. The mountain is an important place in Māori culture and this is commemorated with concrete statues at the beginning of the walking trail.
The Mount Manaia Track is the only way to reach the summit and it becomes extremely popular during the peak season. This scenic nature trail is about 3.5 kilometres (2.2 miles) long and features magnificent views along the way. See Whangarei Harbour, Bream Head and the Hen and Chicken islands from the track’s look-out point, approximately 400 metres (1,300 feet) above sea level. Pack a picnic to enjoy at the summit or one of the many vantage points on the ascent, such as Bluff Lookout.
The track is a great way to see indigenous tree species including kauri and manuka trees. Kauri trees can attain heights of more than 40 metres (130 feet) and live for many centuries. Spot nikau palms and various species of wildflowers on the lower mountain slopes.
Look and listen for bellbirds, kakas and kakarikis (red-crowned parakeets). The area is a habitat for bats, skinks, geckos, kukupas (wood pigeons) and kiwis, a flightless bird and the national symbol of New Zealand.
Notice the five concrete statues, known as poupou kohatu, at the beginning of the walking track. In Māori culture, Mount Manaia’s five key rock formations are believed to represent five people racing across the mountaintop. Manaia is also the name of a local Māori chief and a mythical monster.
Mount Manaia is located in Whangarei Heads, near the regional capital of Whangarei. The mountain is just 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the city and can easily be reached by car in approximately 20 minutes. Free parking is available next to the Mount Manaia Club and the walking track is open year-round. Allow approximately 3 hours to complete the Mount Manaia Track. Appropriate hiking footwear is recommended.