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View from the deck of Mt Heale hut, Great Barrier Island.

View from the deck of Mt Heale hut, Great Barrier Island

Auckland region.

The Aotea Track offers a range of spectacular landscapes, panoramic views and rich history. Due to storm damage, the track is currently a two day walk on a combination of easy walking tracks, boardwalks, steep climbs, stairways and bridges to the new Mt Heale Hut - returning the following day. It is suitable for reasonably fit beginners or experienced trampers.

Aotea Track brochure (PDF, 2,088K) (opens in new window)

Alert/Important notice

Great Walk/Easier tramping track Great Walk/Easier tramping track 


4 hours one way


10 km one way 
  Rental CarsGBI Rent A Car & Island Shuttle Buses

(09) 4290767 
Transfers to your the start of the tracks or your accommodation should be arranged before you arrive

Email info@greatbarrierisland.co.nz



Read NZ Hearld writer's, Cliff Taylor's. account of his tramp of the Aotea Track - 21st May 2012

All information from this page has been supplied by Department of Conservation,



Great Barrier Island Walking Track Map
Great Barrier Island Aotea map.


Walking Tracks

1. Old Lady Track

2. Warrens' Track

3. Bridle Track

4. Coopers Castle Track

5. Kiwiriki Track

6. Line W Track

7. SS Wairarapa Graves

8. Onepoto Site

9. Kaiaraara Track & Kauri 

10. Palmers Track

10a. Windy Canyon

11. South Fork Track

12. Peach Tree Track

13. Tramline Track

14. Kaitoke Hot Springs Track

15. Pack Track

16. Witheys Track

17. Mount Whangaparapara

18. Old Mill Track

19. Te Ahumata Track

20. Forest Road

21. Harataonga Coastal 

22. Harataonga Loop Track

23. Burrill Route

Tramping track
What to expect on a tramping track:
- Challenging day or multi-day tramping/hiking
- Track is mostly unformed with steep, rough or muddy sections
- Suitable for people with good fitness. Moderate to high level backcountry skills and experience, including navigation and survival skills required
- Track has markers, poles or rock cairns. Expect unbridged stream and river crossings
- Tramping/hiking boots required

Walking track
What to expect on a walking track:
-  Easy to moderate walking from a few minutes to a day
- Track is mostly well formed, some sections may be steep, rough or muddy
- Suitable for people with low to moderate fitness and abilities
- Clearly sign posted. Stream and river crossings are bridged
- Walking shoes or light tramping/hiking boots required

Easy access walk
What to expect on an easy access walk:
-  Easy walking for up to an hour
- Track is well formed, with an even surface. Few or no steps or slopes
- Suitable for people of all abilities and fitness
- Stream and river crossings are bridged
- Walking shoes required

Walking track 1. Old Lady Track – 45 min 
Off Port Fitzroy Hill is a short walk following a stream along the valley through a mature coastal forest. You can take a side trip, a steep climb of
30minutes (signposted) to Lookout Rock, from where Port Fitzroy Harbour can be viewed. 
*Beware steep drop offs.

Walking track 2. Warrens’ Track – I hr return 
Beginning  by the Port Fitzroy DOC Area Office, this is a gently graded climb passing through a kauri plantation to a waterfall. From the waterfall return via Bridle Track (
30min).The stream has many deep pools that are good for swimming. 
*Beware steep drop offs. 

Walking track 3. Bridle Track – 15 min 
Alternative walk between DOC Area Office and Port Fitzroy Store. Easy grade through indigenous and exotic forest.

Tramping track 4. Coopers Castle Route – 2 hr 
Begins at top of Port Fitzroy /Okiwi Hill at Aotea Rd and ascends the southern ridge, with views of both sides of the island. Travel under the forest canopy to signposted junction to Coopers Castle lookout, a large andesitic rock bluff, offering extensive views. 
Care is needed at bluff, vertical fall to bush below. Main route descends from lookout junction to join Kaiaraara Track. 

Tramping track 5. Kiwiriki Track – 4 hr 

Much of this track follows the old riding track from Port Fitzroy to the Wairahi Valley. From the northern end turn off on Forest Rd the track rises gently to Bush’s Beach Track junction. (30 min) – a side trip of 5 min to the beach. It is a further 10 min to the junction with Line W Track, you then descend to cross Coffin’s (Houroaroa) Creek. The track climbs steeply and follows the dividing ridge. It veers right, and then drops steeply to valley floor and signposted track junction.  At this point a 15 min shoreline side trip to head of Kiwiriki Bay can be made. Continue along main track to cross Kiwiriki Stream. Track climbs the valley and central ridge to Forest Road at Maungapiko (1 hr 30 min).   There is a 20 minute side trip at the lookout.

Tramping track 6. Line W Track - 30 min
From Kiwiriki Track junction, track climbs steadily to Forest Road.

Walking track 7. Tapuwai site/SS Wairarapa Graves Walkway – 30 min 
From road end, follow signposts to beach. Turn left and wander along this beautiful beach to Tapuwai Point and grave sites surrounded by picket fence. Grave site of those who lost their lives when the SS Wairarapa ran aground on the rock north of Miners Head October 24 1894. 

Walking track 8. Onepoto Site – 15 min 
From the end of Kawa Road, follow signpost to beach and wander/boulder hop along the beach to the graves. This is the second grave site for those who lost their lives when SS Wairarapa was wrecked.

Walking track 9. Kaiaraara Track and Kauri Dams– 3 hr 
The track begins from Forest Road past the Kaiaraara Hut. It then rises steadily up to the north east fork of the Kaiaraara Stream to the Coopers Castle Route junction. It then continues upstream to the side track leading to a preserved kauri dam (1hr 30min) and climbs steeply to the top kauri dam. It then climbs even more steeply up wooden steps (that were built to protect the black petrel nesting grounds and sensitive ecosystem) to the summit of Mt Hobson (Hirakimata). There are great views of the Hauraki Gulf on a fine day. 

* Beware steep drop offs. 

Places to stay

Kaiaraara Hut, Great Barrier Island.

Kaiaraara Hut

This is a 28-bunk serviced hut in the Great Barrier area.

Mount Hobson
The forest around Mt Hobson was spared from logging because access was difficult. Fire on the lower slopes resulted in the stunted growth of the forest that you can see along the track. The lower areas were logged and you can see a wooden H-frame on Palmers Track which was used to support the log-hauling operation between Awana and Okiwi. Please keep to the track to avoid damaging rare native plants. 

Walking track 10. Palmers Track – 3 hr 
Begins from the summit of Whangapoua Hill/Aotea Rd. and climbs through Windy Canyon (15 minutes return to Windy Canyon Lookout) to central ridge. Great views of Okiwi and Awana. Follows ridge, climbs steeply to Mt Hobson (Hirakimata).

*Beware steep drop offs. 

Walking track
10a. Windy Canyon Lookout – 15 min return. 
Starts at Palmers Track entrance on summit (300m) of Climbs 100m through the andesitic rock bluffs of Windy Canyon to central ridge. Spectacular views of the Okiwi Basin and Kaitoke.
*Beware steep drop offs. 

Tramping track 11. South Fork Track – 3 hr Track begins at Forest Road approximately 1 kilometre south of Kaiaraara Hut, or can be accessed off Kaiaraara Track. It follows an old bridle track, crosses the stream twice then climbs steadily up and over a swing bridge to the central ridge. It levels out at the junction with Peach Tree Track and continues around Mt Heale to Mt Hobson (Hirakimata) summit. 

Tramping track 12. Peach Tree Track – 1 hr 30 min 
Drops rapidly from South Fork Track below Mt Heale to meet with the Tramline Track.
Whangaparapara - Claris 

Tramping track 13. Tramline Track – 6 hr 
From Aotea Road the track follows the old tramline constructed and used by the Kauri Timber Company, during 1920’s and 1930’s, then descends abruptly to Awana Stream and waterfall. Steep climb to plateau and Perry’s Hill before dropping to Kaitoke Stream. The track crosses a number of creeks above and around the Kaitoke swamp, ascending to cross Forest Road on the way to Whangaparapara. 

Easy access walk 14. Kaitoke Hot Springs Track – 1 hr 
A popular easy walk, crosses the Kaitoke Stream and follows the edge of the Kaitoke Swamp to sulphurous hot springs. A series of pools for bathing are dammed at a fork in the Kaitoke Creek. Take care as the stream water may be hot. 

Do not put your head under the water in the hot pools. 

Tramping track 15. Pack Track – 45 min 
Follow the Tramline Track from Whangaparapara, cross footbridge and turn left at signpost, rises up ridge and down to Wairahi Stream. Climb steeply to Forest Rd. 

Tramping track 16. Withey’s Track – 1 hr 15 min
Named after Bill Withey, steam hauler operator for the Kauri Timber Company. Links with the Pack and Tramline Tracks, a roundabout hike from Whangaparapara. Follow Tramline Track from Whangaparapara to signpost. Climbs ridge steadily on left before dropping to Wairahi Stream, following this up to junction with Pack Track. Allow extra time for photo stops. 

Tramping track 17. Mount Whangaparapara – 1 hr 10 min 
On the Tramline Track from Whangaparapara, cross stile and climb track to left. Steady climb to summit, steep in parts. Views of Whangaparapara Harbour and surrounds. 

Walking track 18. Old Mill Track – 1 hr 
Cross first stream at Whangaparapa suspension bridge from Whangaparapara, turn left through camping area to climb steeply to ridgetop. Descend and climb again before descending  to the site of Kauri Timber Company Sawmill. An historic steam traction engine is a remnant of this sawmill. At low tide you can walk around the shoreline to the old whaling station remains. 

Tramping track 19. Te Ahumata Track – 1 hr 
This track follows an old mining road between Whangaparapara Saddle and Blind Bay Road. Gradual climb to signposted junction (30 mins). Rapid climb to Te Ahumata Trig where you will see an interesting variety of ‘bonsai like’ native plant forms. From junction follow track to saddle or turn to go to Blind Bay road. Please keep to track to avoid damaging rare native plants. 
*Beware of mine shafts in the area – keep
to the track.

Tramping track 20. Forest Road – 5 hr 
The old Forest Road links Whangaparapara and Kaiaraara. Many of the tracks in the central area lead from or to this road. Built in the early 1950’s by the NZ Forest Service to provide access for fire control and other operations. The only vehicle access to Whangaparapara until the 1970’s. From north Forest Rd begins at the road-end of Kaiaraara Bay road at a locked gate and travels through to Whangaparapara Rd. An easy grade, through a fine example of regenerating coastal forest. 

Caution, walkers, this is a mountain bike
route. Continues to be used by DOC & Emergency services vehicles. 

Tramping track 21. Harataonga – Coastal Walkway
- 5 hr 
There are two entry points onto the Harataonga Walkway.  The Okiwi end starts at a signpost on Aotea Road, at the south end of Okiwi.  Alternatively you can leave from the Harataonga campsite.
An easy grade, following the old coastal road. From Harataonga campsite head west  across stream and paddocks, through gate and follow track. Magnificent coastal views. Track ends at Aotea Rd at south end of Okiwi. Not signposted at Aotea Rd entrance. 
Beware of sheer drops. 
As the track passes through private property please keep to marked track. 

Tramping track 22. Harataonga Loop Track – 30 min 
Short diversion from Harataonga Coastal walkway. Leave the main ridge north of Harataonga to climb coastal ridge that follows south to pa site. Track drops down to Harataonga Stream and campground. 

Tramping track 23. Burrill Track – 8 hr return 

Begins at Mabey Road climbing steeply to the central ridge, you then follow the ridge north to Tataweka. The track was formed in the early 1970s for mining prospecting access for copper. Return the same way. 

Great Barrier Island Information Office
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Last modified: October 10, 2016