Bream Head/Te Whara Track

Track category

Tramping track


5 hr


7.5 km


View of Bream Head Track with Taranga/Hen Island in the background.
View of Bream Head Track with Taranga/Hen Island in the background

The Bream Head/Te Whara track follows an ancient Maori trail from Urquharts Bay to Ocean Beach. Te Whara was the principal wife of the rangatira Manaia.

A reasonable level of fitness, skill and experience is needed to walk the main tracks at Bream Head Scenic Reserve. The hill access leading onto the Mt Lion, Ocean Beach and Peach Cove tracks are all steep.

From Urquharts Bay, the track climbs steeply up Mount Lion until it reaches the ridge line. Once on the ridge the track becomes undulating and easy going. The ridge track eventually intersects with the Peach Cove track. From there you climb to the Te Whara / Bream Head summit. From the summit the track heads down to Ocean Beach and passes a WWII naval radar station.

View from Bream Head Track near Matariki / Mt Lion.
View from Bream Head Track near Matariki / Mt Lion

The track passes through some of the best coastal forest in the North Island. At the Bream Head summit, you can enjoy a magnificent coastal panorama taking in Motukokako (Cape Brett) in the north to Tawharanui (Cape Rodney) in the south and includes the offshore islands Tawhiti Rahi and Aorangi (Poor Knights), Marotere (Hen and Chickens group), Hauturu (Little Barrier) and Aotea (Great Barrier) in the far east.

To minimise disturbance to the area, and out of respect to local iwi and their ancestors, please do not venture off the marked tracks.

The Department of Conservation, local Iwi, the Bream Head Conservation Trust, and the community are committed to restoring Bream Head, which includes a re-vegetation programme, weed and pest control. You may see predator traps beside the track. We ask for your safety that you please do not interfere with them.

View a track location map

Getting there

Bream Head Scenic Reserve is located at Whangarei Heads, northeast of Whangarei City. The track can be walked from either end starting at the Urquharts Bay car park or the Ocean Beach car park down Ranui Road.

Plan and prepare

  • Please make sure you are carrying plenty of drinking water.
  • Tracks can be slippery after rain.
  • Be careful of tree roots protruding onto the track.
  • The rocky outcrops have steep drop offs. Children should be well supervised.
  • Dogs and open fires are not permitted in the reserve including the beach.
  • Northland reserve bylaws apply to Bream Head Scenic Reserve.

Help stop kauri dieback

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

  • Stay on the track and off kauri roots.
  • Clean your gear before and after visiting kauri forests.

Visit the kauri dieback website for more information on how you can help.

Track location map

Map of Bream Head/Te Whara Track (click map to view larger, JPG, 93K).

View larger (JPG, 93K) 

Related links

Bream Head Conservation Trust website

Watch a video: View the Northland walks video


Find out more



DOC maps: Discover the outdoors - DOC's key places, campsites, tracks and huts, and visitor centres on a map

Learn more

Check, Clean, Dry between waterways and stop the spread of didymo.

Kauri dieback disease is attacking kauri trees in Northland. Find out how to stop it spreading.


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Northland places


Whangarei Office
Phone:      +64 9 470 3300
Full office details

Give feedback on a recent visit to a DOC place