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Introduction

Come for a walk and view the historic lighthouse at Cape Brett, or visit the historic Whangamumu Whaling Station.

Highlights

You will enjoy outstanding views of the outer Bay of Islands, north to the Cavalli Islands and south to Whangaruru and beyond to the Poor Knights Islands.

You can visit the historic Cape Brett Lighthouse and learn about the historic Whangamumu Whaling Station

Note: A rahui (temporary fisheries closure) of Deep Water Cove/Maunganui Bay remains in place. Visitors can still dive, swim or anchor in the bay, but the taking of fish, aquatic life and seaweed, except kina, is prohibited.

Place overview

Activities

  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Walking and tramping
  • Kauri dieback
    Help stop kauri dieback

    Kauri dieback disease is killing our native kauri. It spreads by soil movement, but you can help prevent it.

    • Stay away from kauri tree roots.
    • Clean your gear before and after visiting kauri forest.
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    About this place

    Nature and conservation

    Cape Brett ocean view.
    Cape Brett ocean view, with Cape Brett Hut lower left
    Image: DOC

    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.

    Getting there

    Cape Brett is 26 km north-east from Russell in the Bay of Islands and can be accessed by land or sea.

    By land

    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.

    By sea

    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

    Contacts

    Pewhairangi / Bay of Islands Office
    Phone:      +64 9 407 0300
    Email:   bayofislandsbooking@doc.govt.nz
    Full office details
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