New Zealand: Mount Aubrey ridge / Reotahi coastal walkway loop 4.3km

Mount Aubrey ridge walk was not on the cards for today in Whangarei. The first choice for Good Mrs and I was the hike up to Mount Manaia, a hike we understood was “a must” for the region due to spectacular views.

One problem! As we arrived at Mt Manaia Club car park from where the path commences, a sign told us in no uncertain terms that it was closed. For another month. Weeding out noxious weeds was the reason. We didn’t dare to challenge that as a group of volunteers preparing to do just that had also gathered in the car park.

The signage, as well as one of those volunteers, suggested hiking up nearby Mount Aubrey as an alternative. You can follow its ridge, then down and along the coastline back for a circuit. So we did that.

A short drive away and we were at the trailhead at Tiller Park car park. Mount Aubrey is a steep, bushclad ridge and scenic reserve rising above the settlement of McLeod Bay. With great views over Whangarei Harbour and more.

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Signage at Tiller Park car park

I am ready… although I have to admit that I was disappointed that we had to desert the Mount Manaia hike. However, Mount Aubrey ridge walk turned out to be a great replacement.

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Start of trail at Tiller Park car park

First up, a number of steps to get towards the top of Mount Aubrey. Good Mrs is providing the demo.

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Up, up, up…

You saw the distinct pinnacles at the top of Mount Manaia from Mount Aubrey.

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Mount Manaia from Mount Aubrey

OK, the views from the ridge walk were not bad. Apart from perhaps the oil refinery if you are not into those.

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Whangarei inlet

For a brief moment as I arrived here, it looked like a mirror between the flatish rocks. Quite an optical illusion, but may not across like that in a photo.

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Some rock formation

Mount Manaia to the left, the ocean in the middle and the beginning of Bream Head towards the right.

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Mount Manaia and the ocean

What goes up must come down and the descent commenced. We then enjoyed a break down at Little Monro Beach to the left.

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Down, down, down

Possums appear more of a pest in New Zealand than in Australia. Certainly comes across that way while reading these signs appearing everywhere.

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Possum poison

The second hike later in the day will be from across the water here to Smugglers Cove. Here, there were still some old defence structures.

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Across to Smugglers Cove walk later today

Looking up at Mount Aubrey from Reotahi coastal walkway.

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Mount Aubrey from almost sea level

Wahines and Tanes, here is the final photo from a carpark along Reotahi coastal walkway. A very clean public toilet with instructions in Maori in addition to English.

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Public facilities – impressive

The final part back to Tiller Park car park was along a road. Somewhat less sexy but it wasn’t for too long.

OK, if you have limited time in the area, 1.5-2hrs to spare, you can do worse than hiking this one. It may be different during foul weather, but today was perfect for hiking and we had a great time on the trail.

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