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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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Smugglers Cove

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

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Back up onto the headland

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

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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.

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A well maintained trail

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

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Views from trail

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

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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.

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Trail split

Views from up that hill.

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Back towards Urquhart Bay

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

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Gun emplacement I

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

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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.

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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.

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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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