There are a number of walking trails in the area surrounding Camp Waipu Cove, where you can experience the native bush, birds and other delights of the New Zealand natural environment. The most popular ones are outlined below – please ask at reception for a map to help you find them.
This walk was developed by members of the Waipu Lions Club following the vision of the late Alan McKenzie, who was a local resident; and follows the coastline from Waipu Cove to Langs Beach.
On the walk, you will observe a diverse variety of land and sea birds; as well as mature coastal Pohutukawa forests and regenerating native bush including Totara, Nikau, Cabbage (Tī), Kohekohe, Teatree (Manuka), Treefern (Mamaku), Silver fern (Ponga), Flax (Harakeke), an occasional Toetoe, and four very young Kauri. Sedimetary limestone rock formations are a feature of the coastline, and are similar to those at Punakaiki on the West Coast of the South Island.
The trail is in two sections:
Sound walking shoes, a stick and a water bottle are advised, as well as sunscreen on hot days. Recent rain will mean some sections of the trail are slippery and others boggy! The entire walk is around 3km, and will take 1.5 – 2 hours each way.
The knoll beside the carpark near the caves’ entrance is a pleasant spot for a picnic, with massive limestone and karst rock formations for children to climb on and explore as well as a variety of native frees and birds. It is also the beginning of the Waipu Caves Walkway - look across the large flat grassed area for the orange post which indicates the start of the track.
Cross the concrete culvert over the creek near the entrance to the caves and start climbing your way through the Scenic Reserve. After meandering among karst limestone formations, the track climbs up steeply across areas of open grass and regenerating bush, before ending at a gate through to private farmland. The track ends on the ridgeline where you will be rewarded with panoramic views right across the Whangarei Harbour to Bream Head and out to the Hen and Chicken Islands.
Walking time is 90 minutes return, and distance is about 2km each way. The track has been classified by the Department of Conservation as suitable for people of most ages and fitness levels. DoC also notes that the track is not always well formed; and recommends staying on the track and closely supervising small children, as sinkholes are a common feature of karst landscapes.
For those who enjoy tramping and hiking, the Brynderwyn Hills Walkway is a well-known and very popular tramp from the Brynderwyn Hills summit on State Highway One down to Waipu Cove. Tasking in areas of pine and native forest, the track includes the Trig station at the highest point (Marunui Hill) which offers panoramic 360 degree views. The tramp takes approximately six hours from the Brynderwyn summit to the end of Cullen Road (12km), with a further 1-2 hours to complete one of two options down to Cove Road (7km); and is only recommended for experienced trampers and the very fit.