Te Paki Coastal Track

Te Paki Coastal Track - Pandora to Tapotupotu Bay

Te Paki Coastal Track

Pandora to Tapotupotu Bay

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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9 km one-way | 5 hours one-way

Pandora is named after HMS Pandora, a survey ship which visited the coast in 1849.


Tapotupotu Bay is reached by turning right onto Tapotupotu Road, 2.5km before Cape Reinga. It is 3km along the winding unsealed road to the bay.

The track at Tapotupotu is signposted from the far side of the Tapotupotu Stream opposite the most easterly point of the campground.

Pandora can only be reached by walking the length of Spirits Bay and crossing the Waitahora Stream.


The Te Paki Coastal Track is a 48 km, 3 day tramp traversing New Zealand’s northernmost tip.

The descriptions here have broken the tramp into bite size chunks, with Cape Reinga at the fulcrum.

This is the second in a trio of walks ending at Cape Reinga.
1. Kapowairua to Pandora
2. Pandora to Tapotupotu
3. Tapotupotu to Cape Reinga

At low tide from Pandora you can skirt the base of the headlands by walking over the rocks. Otherwise a high tide route is signposted and marked with orange posts over the two headlands. The long grass has a worn track through it, but can be steep and muddy (45 minutes).

The tack then climbs steadily along a vehicle track for 45 minutes to a signposted junction with Darkies Ridge.

From here it is 2 hours to reach Tapotupotu along an old vehicle track and grass track lined with orange posts. The track heads to a cliff top ridge and descends steeply to Tapotupotu Bay.


Around 5 million years ago, the Aupori Peninsula, including Te Paki, was a series of islets, an archipelago separated by shallow seas. With the onset and waning of Ice Ages, sea levels fluctuated and large sandspits formed, sculpted by the prevailing south-westerly winds. Te Paki thus became joined to the greater North Island landmass, but still retains an island character. It feels like a different land.

European History

The camp which occupied the grass clearing at Pandora was run by Captain Hector McQuarrie in the 1920s. The bush huts were made from local materials and there were colourful canvas roofs. The wreck of the steamer Kahu provided timber for the ‘excellent floor’ of the dancehall and the salvaged sail gave shelter.

The camp was advertised as being ‘Away up where New Zealand Ends’ and was frequented by the well-heeled of the ‘carriage trade’ needing an escape. It was an arduous journey up Ninety Mile Beach and over the steep hills to the camp, but rewarded with scenic beauty and solitude.


Feature Value Info


North IslandNorthlandKaitaia


  • Walking
  • Free


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DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

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Nick Morrison

Rankers owner