Even many locals have not walked this trail, but those that have describe it as ‘magnificent’, ‘Awesome rocks’, ‘one of the best walks I’ve done’. The Waipu Coastal Trail has for many years been a well kept secret in Waipu, although you can talk to older folk in the area who regularly walked the coastal route from Langs Beach to Waipu Cove in their youth.
Magnificent coastal views, a small rocky beach, interesting limestone rocks, native coastal bush, great fishing and picnic spots. Allow 1.5 hours one way as far as Waterman Drive. for a quick transit but it warrants a more leisurely approach for rests, views, and photos and the return trip.
In recent years the late Alan McKenzie has worked with the Whangarei District Council and locals and with the help of the Waipu Lions Club this trail is now signposted and cleared. Some of us call it the McKenzie Trail after Alan. At present it goes from Waipu Cove back onto Cove Road (opposite Waterman Drive). The final section from Waterman Drive to Ding Bay is now open.
Minimal disturbance of the landscape is an important feature making it suitable only for reasonably fit people. Walkers therefore take the trail at their own risk. Sound walking shoes, a stick and water bottle are advised, if the weather is hot. Early morning, evening or wild weather enhance the experience. Rain will mean some sections of slippery and others boggy. THE EFFORT IS WORTH IT!
Features of the Walk
- Sedimentary Limestone rocks: these a feature of Waipu (they are also in the Waipu Caves area and in walls in the area) are seen at their best here on the Coast and are unique to the North Island coastline. They are similar to those of Punakaiki in the South Island.
Pohutukawa: New Zealand’s ‘Christmas trees’ line the coast and blossoms of varying reds appear in Mid December.
- Coastal Bush: The regenerating native coastal bush at the southern end of the walk also has totara, nikau, cabbage, kohkoh trees, teatree (manuka) tree fern (mamaku), silver fern (ponga), KoheKohe and others with abundant flax, an occasional toetoe and sadly only four very young kauri.
Finding your Way
The northern end of the way begins at Waipu Cove beach – cross the small tidal stream opposite the last concrete BBQ bench on the lawn of Waipu Cove. If the tide is in, wet feet may be the start of your journey here. You can exit at Waterman Drive and walk the 1.5km along Cove Road, or walk all the way to Ding Bay.
The trail can be entered at either end where notices, stiles, orange markers and posts indicate the path. The trail, used by the early immigrants to Waipu, passes along the Esplanade Reserve in front of recent developments. A portion crosses private ‘riparian rights’ grazed land, with the owner’s generous consent to access.