Nature and conservation
Cape Brett ocean view, with Cape Brett Hut lower left
In 1984 most of the Cape Brett Reserve was given over to the Department of Lands and Survey, with DOC taking over administration of the area three years later. In 1991, DOC purchased a large block of land between Cape Brett and Deep Water Cove and after consultation with local iwi, renamed the reserve ‘Manawahuna’.
Cape Brett features native and regenerating bush. From the forested ridges, you can take in spectacular coastal scenery.
Towards the Cape, the dramatic cliff-face provides you with a birds-eye view of abundant fish and bird life below - often dolphins and seals will come close to shore.
Along the track, you will come across an electric fence crossing the width of the peninsula. This was constructed in 1995 to reduce the impact of possums on the coastal bush. Cape Brett peninsula was once known for its magnificent blaze of crimson pohutukawa flowers in summer, however, many of these trees were reduced to grey skeletons through possum browsing. It is hoped that this fence will allow the trees to flourish once again. Ensure the gate is closed.
Cape Brett is 26 km north-east from Russell in the Bay of Islands and can be accessed by land or sea.
The track begins from Oke Bay, Rawhiti, 26 km from Russell or can be joined from the Whangamumu Track. Track fees apply for the section that runs over private land. See Cape Brett Track. This challenging tramping track requires a high degree of fitness and experience, but you will be rewarded by spectacular coastal views.
For those people wanting access to the reserve by sea, landings can be made at either Deep Water Cove or at Cape Brett. Calm conditions are necessary to get ashore at Cape Brett landing. In adverse wind conditions, you can still come ashore at Deep Water Cove, except in south-westerly winds. From there it is a 2.5 hours walk to the lighthouse.
Know before you go
- No dogs
- No camping
- No fires
- Keep on track at all times