You will have heard of New Zealand’s eleven great walks. Often touted and worthy of the Great Walks status no doubt. However, you may not of heard of the Cape Brett Track? Whilst not currently part of this elite club it does share many of their traits. Stunning coastal scenery, an overnight option, native bush, freshwater streams, beaches, crystal clear water and more.
From the bush clad ridges, you’ll view spectacular vistas right across the Bay of Islands. Nearing the Cape and walking alongside the dramatic cliff-face, you can see abundant fish and bird life below. Sometimes dolphins and seals will come close to shore. From Deep Water Cove onwards, the track gets more challenging and becomes quite exposed with steep drop-offs to the sea below. Although not that far to the lighthouse, it’ll take you about 2-3 hours, and can be quite demanding. The effort is rewarded with outstanding views of the outer Bay of Islands, north to the Cavalli Islands and south to Whangaruru and beyond to the Poor Knights Islands.
Getting to the Cape Brett Track
The start of the Cape Brett Track is located near the small town of Rawhiti. Which is around a 35 min 30 km (18.6 mi) drive from the historic Bay of Islands town of Russell. There are several options for walking the Cape Brett track that you’ll need to consider. Are you going just for the day? Do you have your own vehicle? Would you like to overnight? Or do you want to overnight and walk there and back? Below we’ve highlighted the main options for you to consider dependent on your schedule, level of fitness and overall interest.
Options for walking the Cape Brett Track
If you are intending to just do a day walk you have a couple of options here. You can self drive (or have your private driver take you) to the start of the track at Oke Bay and walk to the Cape Brett lighthouse, then turn around and walk back to Deep water Cove for a water taxi return to Russell or Paihia. This is the longest option at around 20.8km (12.9mi) and at the limits of a day walk factoring in transportation and daylight hours.
One day shorter option – the preferred option for most
This is the preferred option for most doing a single day. In the morning take a water taxi from Oke Bay or Russell/Paihia out to Deep Water Cove. Begin walking to the lighthouse, have lunch and return back to Deep Water Cove for a water taxi back to your pick up point. This takes in the best part of the track and although not overly long at approx. 9 km (5.6 mi), it’s a tough walk with steep uphills both ways.
If you would like to walk it guided we have access to guides, so please enquire.
Walking the Cape Brett Track – quick facts
Distance: One way 16.3 km (10.1 mi)
– Deep Water Cove to Deep Water Cove via Cape Brett lighthouse return approx. 9 km (5.6 mi)
– Oke Bay to lighthouse then back to Deep Water cove approx. 20.8 km (12.9 mi)
Start point: Oke Bay near Rawhiti
Grade: Department of Conservation rate this as an advanced tramping track
Further information: Department of Conservation Cape Brett Track
Visit BOI: Cape Brett Track, Everything You Need To Know.
Cape Brett track maintenance fee
All hikers must now pay a track maintenance fee for crossing private land between Rawhiti and Deep Water Cove:
• Adult: $40pp
• Child: $20pp
Track and hut fees can be paid at the Bay of Islands Isite, in Paihia.