Anchor Bay, Tawharanui, Ecology Trail, North Coast Track, Fishermans Track, Flat Rock, Omaha beach, Mt Tamahunga, Hen & Chicken islands, Little Barrier Island, Great Barrier Island, North Coast Track, South Coast Track, Tokatu Point lookout track, Marine Park, Tokatu Point, Tokatu Loop Track, Maori Bay
Tawharanui (East) Loop
Head to carpark at Anchor Bay, Tawharanui. From the carpark we head towards the beach, veering right. We start out on a gravel road and pass some loos and an information kiosk on the right. I recommend stopping at the kiosk as there are maps of the various tracks in this area. These tracks are colour coded, so the key on the map really comes in handy.
We start off on the Ecology Trail with yellow markers. This first part of the trail is also shared with the North Coast Track (white) and the Fishermans Track (orange). We pass Flat Rock and some more loos and a drinking fountain on the left and a shelter opposite on the right, then we head left and down to the beach following the yellow marker posts as the Ecology Trail branches off on its own. We walk along the beautiful white sandy beach with gentle rolling waves in the clear blue sea. The trail leads us around the rocks to another beach. This one is quite rocky and more secluded, but still beautiful. After about 20 minutes or so from starting out the trail heads upwards.
As we gain a wee bit of height the views of the Tawharanui beaches and beyond are quite stunning. Past Tawharanui we also see Omaha Beach beneath Mt Tamahunga and out to sea we notice The Hen & Chickens Islands, Little Barrier & Great Barrier Islands as well. The yellow marker posts lead us through a paddock full of very relaxed cows until we reach a gravel road which is the North Coast Track. At this road we head left. After about 10 minutes or so we reach the Trig along with panoramic views. From here, in addition to our views we can now see out to the Coromandel, Kawau Island and also Orewa.
We continue past the Trig for a minute until we reach a junction which was also about 50 minutes from starting out. Here the North Coast Track Ended and the South Coast Track began on our right and to our left was the Tokatu Point Lookout track. We head left. This starts off as a dirt track (easily wide enough for a quad bike) through an abundance Tea Tree. After about 10 minutes we pass a junction on the left of the Tokatu Loop Track. Continuing straight ahead we then reach a cross road junction less than 10 minutes later. To the left leads to the Marine Park Marker track, straight ahead is towards Tokatu Point and to the right is the other end of the Tokatu Loop Track. We head straight for about a minute and reach the commanding views from the point.
From there we back track to the junction, then check out what's at the end of the Marine Park Marker track. About 2 minutes later we reach a spot with more great views & a massive yellow triangle to be observed by the boaties marking the marine reserve. We then back track to the junction again and take the remaining track yet to be explored, the Tokatu Loop Track. This is grassy-dirt track (although dried & deeply cracked due to the awesome hot summer) surrounded by Tea Tree and flax, but once down the bottom of the loop you get a pretty impressive view over the rocky coast & clear water below. From here it was back up again with a couple more view points and then after 25 minutes or so we reach the junction where the loop meets up again with the Tokatu Point Lookout track.
We head left and back track to the junction of the North Coast Track now on the right and the South Coast Track on the left. We head left walking through farmland for about 15 minues until we reached our next junction. To the left is Fishermans Track which also leads to Maori Bay and Straight on the South Coast Track continues. The signage omits the fact that the Fishermans Track is also straight on as well. We head left to check out Maori Bay. After a couples of minutes we reach some stairs leading down to the bay. After another couple of minutes we're down at the stoney and rocky coastline of Maori Bay. After a wee look about, we back track to the last junction and then head left down South Coast Track (& also Fishermans Track).
After a minute or so we reach the next junction. The South Coast Track continues straight ahead and the Fishermans Track branches off to the right. We head right and follow the birdsong into the bush. The track runs alongside a creek and their is lush green canopy overhead with lots of Nikau and other ferns & palms, as well as some cool Puriri too. The music from the birds overhead creates a wonderful tranquil atmosphere. After about 10 minutes we reach the junction of the Ecology Trail on the right and the Fishermans Track continues straight ahead. We head right and cross the creek, over a small bridge and shortly afterwards, we climb some stairs amongst some young Kauri.
After a few minute at the top of the stairs we reach another junction. The Ecology Trail is to the right and there is an unmarked/unnamed track to the left. Being curious as always, we head left. This track is fairly narrow and runs parallel with the creek for a while until it bends right. After 15 minutes or so the track ends at a fence with a stile and we can see the gravel road beyond. Upon reaching the road, our orientation is obvious that we are back on the North Coast Track, as we see the beaches below. We now head left following the gravel road downwards (& the white markers). After about 10 minutes or so we cross over a bridge over a stream and we're back at the junction where we headed down the beach for the Ecology Trail. This time it was for a cooling dip in the sea. From here he back tracked 5 minutes or so back to the carpark. Total loop time, just under 3 hours.
Level of Difficulty
3 Hours (Summer 2013)
Not all tracks showing on Topo Map