Whale Bay to Matapouri Bay Loop...

Whale Bay to Matapouri Bay Loop Walk


2 Rankers Reviews

0 Face-to-Face

8 Tutukaka

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.


4 km return | 1½ hours return

This walk takes in the attractive sandy beaches of Whale Bay and Matapouri Bay and the memorable coastal scenery of the craggy headlands that jut out to meet a frothing sea.


From Matapouri Bay continue north 1km to the summit of the hill where Whale Bay Scenic Reserve is signposted from the parking area.


This walk is administered by Whangarei District Council and is unmarked. It is well-formed and signposted.

The track is metalled to Whale Bay, where there are toilets.

After climbing out of Whale Bay, follow the signpost along the headland track. The worn grass track runs between the fenceline and cliff top for 15 minutes, passing the trig before bearing right. The track deteriorates and can be muddy for the 15-minute descent to the gravel beach on the opposite side of the headland from Matapouri Bay.

Walk along Matapouri Bay to the first wooden accessway and follow Morrison Road. Turn right into Ringer Road, where Morrison Recreation Reserve is signposted (15 minutes).

The 15 minute climb to the carpark above Whale Bay is signposted and follows the fence line.

Polynesian History

Matapori Bay means ‘Invisible Place’ or ‘Hidden Place’, testimony to how the encroaching headlands shelter it’s half circle of sand. Because the western headland hides Matapouri Bay from the open sea, it was once known as Otito, meaning ‘a lie’.

European History

Whale Bay received it’s European name during the period of early settlement. A group of Maori saw a large floating object and asked Mr. Wooley of nearby Wooleys Bay to borrow his telescope. On sighting the remains of a dead whale, all men of the region in their canoes rowed out and towed it to Whale Bay.

Crowds camped on the beach for three weeks, tolerating the powerful stench. Whenever the Wooleys received a visitor for milk, the smell accompanied them. The tail bone was eventually given to the Wooleys as a gift, which they used as a fire screen.


Feature Value Info


North IslandNorthlandTutukaka


  • Walking
  • Free


Jamie Serieux's avatar

Jamie Serieux

United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Lovely beach and nice walk down to it.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Avoid Camping Fines!

Each camping location is approved by a regional council in NZ. So if it shows on the map, you’re allowed to stay.

The Rankers Camping NZ app, is also in association with…

kanoe's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 8/10

Quite a lovely, short walk with access to several beaches - most notable are Whale Bay and Matapouri Bay. There are some amazing pockets of Nikau Palms and many great views of the coast and the Poor Knights Islands. We explored most of mapped trails with a mountain buggy but the trails are NOT easy with a stroller.

The little advertised Mermaid Pool Track (not on WDC maps) is very good but is very difficult to navigate (not child friendly and impossible with a stroller). The Mermaid Pool Track can be accessed from the end of Matapouri Bay at low tide only and it is not recommended in wet weather.

The best of the Headland Track is the Pirate's Perch Lookout.

(Although parking is available close to the Whale Bay entrance, it is recommended to park in Matapouri and take one of the tracks in as security for the Whale Bay parking lot has had problems in the past.)

Reviewed over 7 years ago

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