Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway

Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway

Mangawhai Cliffs Walkway


12 Rankers Reviews

9 Face-to-Face

4 Mangawhai

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!


Deep Nature

FREE MAP - The best of 21 nature guidebooks on one map.

Online Maps

FREE Header

Deep Nature NEW

Author Marios Gavalas, Rankers and hundreds of contributors bring you a free web map to help you get lost (and find yourself) in Aotearoa's nature.

FREE Header

Camping NZ NEW

Welcome to New Zealand's most comprehensive database of freely available camping information. This is the only travel map of its kind in NZ.


End of the surf beach.
Mangawhai ocean beach
Watch out for this sign at the end of the surf beach.


9 km return | 3 hours return

Steep cliffs clothed with stunted tea tree and flax have pied shag filled pohutukawa at their bases. High pingao covered dunes are near the carpark.

A pleasant walk of about 40 minutes gets you from the leaning rock to the Surf Club.


This is an excellent beach and cliff-top walkway through farmland and bush areas. The high quality grading of the track has made it one of the top attractions in the Whangarei area. You will enjoy outstanding views of Bream Head and all the way down to the Hauraki Gulf including the Mokohinau Islands and Great/Little Barrier.

The walk heads north along the beach for about 30 minutes, until you see signs. Follow the track that leads quite steeply up onto the first knoll. Here, the first views of the coast emerge.

As the track progresses upward towards the top of the cliff and farmland, the views expand and diversify becoming more breathtaking the higher you climb. Then after the 20 minute ascent, the walk becomes a little easier, winding above almost sheer slopes where nikau, pohutukawa and taraire cling for life among the rocks above the stony beach below.

Gaps in the tree line by the road reveal yet more views that are stunning. It pays to keep looking around as you progress along the now almost level track. One of the more interesting features is a natural formation called “the giant staircase”, a natural amphitheatre just below the track carved from the hillside.

The track meanders through private property and trampers must keep to the marked track. Beach access is at the beginning and end of the track.

Then, after climbing steeply, you get another outstanding view from a resting point. The top end of the track is signposted to the beach or back where you came from. You must do the beach walk at low tide.

The track drops from the high point through long grasses and forests of nikau and pohutukawa by a steeply descending path to the rocky beach. On the beach, turn right and note the leaning rock of massive proportions just 50 metres away. If there is water surging through the gap, you have misjudged the tide and you must return via the cliff.

Many small pebbles filter into your boots along the coast, so bring gaiters to avoid having to constantly stop and remove the annoying stones.


The variety of rocks at the foot of the cliffs range from hexagonally jointed andesite volcanic rocks to rogue boulders of honeycomb weathered sandstone.


The track weaves over pebble beaches and extensive promontories filled with rockpools. Black nerita snails speckle the multicoloured rocks and barnacles and mussels inhabit the upper tidal reaches.


Feature Value Info


DOC Northland

Central government organisation


North IslandNorthlandMangawhai


  • Walking
  • Free


Antonia Ellenrieder's avatar

Antonia Ellenrieder


Ranking: 7/10

Beautiful walk with a great view, but the walk needs better marks and explanation.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Silvana Pintao's avatar

Silvana Pintao


Ranking: 8/10

Really nice track. The entire walk is about 2 hours if you come back through the beach. Just be sure you verify the tides, because this return is only possible with mid to low tides. Otherwise you will have to come back through the same way.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Meilin's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

A really nice walk. Just a little bit sad that there was a high tide and I could not walk back through the beach.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Vincent's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

Really easy three hour loop, everybody can do it. The beaches were awesome. Hot weather, take a lot of water, especially on the beaches where the wind is present.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Anna Sternberg's avatar

Anna Sternberg


Ranking: 10/10

The beach is just awesome. Not much people and amazing waves and landscape.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in February 2014

Nina Helmling's avatar

Nina Helmling


Ranking: 9/10

Walk the low tide beach part first and come back for stunning views over the cliffs; easy walking but need shoes!

Reviewed about 8 years ago and experienced in February 2014

Camping NZ App Icon

Camping NZ App

Every camping site on your iPhone™, iPad™ or Android™ phone or tablet. Avoid camping penalties using this council approved app. Featuring offline maps.

Download from the App Store Download Android app on Google Play

N smith's avatar

N smith

New Zealand

Ranking: 9/10

lovely beach and walk

Reviewed over 9 years ago and experienced in January 2012

Hanneke P's avatar

Hanneke P


Ranking: 8/10

Lovely scenery of coast

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Richard Rite's avatar

Richard Rite


Ranking: 10/10

Medium/easy walk along the shore - most stunning and beautiful walk on the whole island.

Reviewed almost 10 years ago and experienced in March 2012

Bart Goovaerts's avatar

Bart Goovaerts


Ranking: 9/10

Beautiful but watch the tides!

Reviewed over 10 years ago and experienced in November 2011

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 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner