Tokatoka Scenic Reserve Track

Tokatoka Scenic Reserve Track


3 Rankers Reviews

1 Face-to-Face

3 Dargaville

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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700 m return | 40 minutes return

The conical shape of Tokatoka is the eroded stump of a former volcanic cone. It lies as a prominent high point in the vast flood plain of the Wairoa River, which threads a sinuous course past the peak. The Tutamoe Range and Tangihua Range are visible on the distant horizon to the north-east.


From Dargaville, follow S.H.12 17km south to Tokatoka and turn left into Tokatoka Road (unsealed). Follow it 1km to a small parking bay on the left, from where the start of the track is signposted.


The track surface is variable from grass, roots, soil and rock. The track ascends continuously; nearing the top there is a particularly steep but short climb of 20 metres before the summit. From the top of this peak, the near 360-degree views are stunning. It almost feels like being on top of the world and makes the 20-minute climb well worth it. You get great views up to Dargaville and back down the Kaipara, and on a clear day, you are able to see Bream Head and Tangihua range towards the east.


* This is a very exposed area; with a steep ascend over rocks. Take extreme caution at the top as the drop off is steep and there are no handrails, especially if you suffer from vertigo or are scared of heights.
* If you are taking children on this track it is recommended that you must supervise the children at all times.
* The track becomes very slippery after rain. Please take extreme care.

Polynesian History

Tokatoka is associated with chief Taoho of Te Roroa hapu around the beginning of the 1800s. The impregnable site was witness to smoke signals from Maunganui Bluff, warning of Hongi Hika’s approaching war party. With his Ngati Whatua warriors, he was able to ambush and defeat the invaders.

After a visit to Ripiro Beach to feed on toheroa, five mountain brothers, who had journeyed from the east, tried valiantly to re-cross the mighty Wairoa River. Tokatoka and Maungaraho crossed, and waited for Motu-wheteke to pluck up the courage. Okiri-ahi struggled, drowned and became a reef. Te Kewi-pahu-tai only just made the crossing and stands on the river’s edge. This legend explains some of the sacred hills in the region.


Feature Value Info


DOC Northland

Central government organisation


North IslandNorthlandDargaville


  • Walking
  • Free


Backpack On Fire 's avatar

Backpack On Fire

Ranking: 10/10

Lovely views. Steep short hike. Well worth it. We went when it was dry which was great. Wouldn’t want to do it when wet. Also not great if you aren’t good with heights or agile as it has very steep sections at the end for the summit. Small parking area for regular sized vehicles only (normal car park spot size). Definitely recommend taking the time to stop here.

Reviewed over 2 years ago

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Kim Heimberg's avatar

Kim Heimberg


Ranking: 10/10

The view was absolutely stunning, a nice spot to relax.

Reviewed over 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

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snodge's avatar



Ranking: 5/10

Hard to rate this walk. It is a very rough track. Dry when we went up but it would be extremely difficult in wetter conditions. There are no safety hand rails anywhere on the way up or at the top. I note the warning re supervision of children in the description for this place, but i would say just don't do this walk with kids. Also don't do it if you're not especially good with heights. That includes me. I'm usually fine and can do most things but this one was just scary as you approached the summit. I had to go back down slowly backwards.. My husband is not bothered by heights at all and enjoyed it, but said it was a bit of a worry getting back off the top.
The first part of the walk is uphill through some bush, there are three styles along the way where you have to climb over fences. No interpretive signs along the track, so not much point going other than for the views.
The ascent is steep. The path is just grooves in the earth as though they have been formed by people's feet over over time.
There are some reasonably good views at places as you start the more serious part of the ascent, but for the really great views you need to go right up to the top. Don't bother with this walk if you are not reasonably fit and agile and have a head for heights...and really want to see the views.
The access road is dirt for part of the way also.

Reviewed over 12 years ago

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