New Zealand: Smugglers Cove circuit 4.6km

Smugglers Cove is a sandy beach which is actually true to its name. According to legend, Smugglers Cove was once a genuine smugglers’ hideout. Scottish settlers smuggled crates of whisky ashore there to avoid paying duty.

From the end of Urquharts Bay Road, a well tramped circuit encompasses Smugglers Cove Beach. As well as old defence posts / gun emplacements and spectacular views:

Overview of Bream Head Scenic Reserve, the area incorporating Smugglers Cove. Today’s circuit to the far left of the map.

Overview of Bream Head Scenic Reserve

The path splits early. You go one way and return the other. Good Mrs and I continued the “direct route” towards Smugglers Bay, being our primary destination for today. Good Mrs is therefore on the “right track”.

Different routes to Smugglers Bay

Did I mention that today was “a little bit breezy”? This headland was somewhat exposed one could say. Smugglers Cove is down the hill behind us.

Headland between start of trail and Smugglers Cove

Good Mrs then decided that the winds were too much for her and called it quits. I continued the hike. Below is Smugglers Cove.

Smugglers Cove

Looking back up the hill from where I arrived. Not many hikers out today with the winds, but I saw a few.

Back up onto the headland

Smugglers Beach from the western side as the trail started to climb again.

Smugglers Beach

An off-shoot trail continued along a headland out south towards Busby Head, but I didn’t venture there. Instead I continued the circuit clockwise north.

Superb trail. Extremely well maintained, wide and with water run off channels alongside it. Impressive.

A well maintained trail

A few clearings up on the ridge like this one. Another day, less windy, I may have a break there.

Views from trail

Plenty of birds circling around this rocky outcrop below from the previous picture. I stopped briefly to enjoy the spectacle.

Rocky outcrop just below the trail

The trail continued here to the left and down, while straight ahead was a shortcut back to its beginning. Through a paddock with plenty of cows.

Trail split

Views from up that hill.

Back towards Urquhart Bay

I soon arrived at those gun emplacements. This one first.

Gun emplacement I

And then another. Interesting concrete constructions from another era. I read that only 3 test shots were ever fired from here…

Gun emplacement II

Homestretch. This is a short hike, made somewhat more challenging today through the strong winds. Although, I suspect, breazy may be the case more often than not.

Back to the beginning

Close to the hike’s end was a memorial timber bench dedicated to Sir Edmund Hillary, of first Mount Everest climber fame.

Perhaps not the most pristine endorsement but strangely fitting nevertheless.

Sir Edmund Hillary memorial bench

I arrived back at Urquharts Bay Road’s parking lot where Good Mrs was snoozing in the car. After a leisurely sandwich lunch by the water nearby, we were on our way again.

Second hike for today completed. Two different but equally satisfying short walks. I recommend both which can easily be completed in a single day by most people. Enjoy!

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