I went on my own to a great track just 25 minutes drive from here today. It’s through the bush with quite a big hill up and down, across a creek (where I had a swim on the way back), along a fiord-like inlet with mangroves to a neat place where quite a few people anchor their boats over the holidays, Then up a steep cliff that required clambering up a chain fastened in the rock to an amazing lookout called Duke’s Nose. You can guess what it looks like.. Next a dip in the sea before making my way back. When I’ve gone with other people it always takes 5 hours plus. It was nice to go at my own pace, still stopping several times for food and swims and finishing in 4 hours. I forget that others don’t comfortably go my pace. There are multi-coloured cliffs surrounding much of the walk with a really high waterfall tumbling over one. It is a truly beautiful place.

I was impressed to find young families ready to head up the cliff-side to Duke’s Nose after I’d just had the place to myself for twenty minutes. The primary-aged children were so excited.

Generally recognised as Northland’s “best short walk” the Wairakau Stream Track gives access to the western arm of Whangaroa Harbour. It’s an area only accessible by foot or boat.

A few years back I interviewed Tony Foster. He runs a tourist business that includes taking people on the walk I did today. He can include people doing the walk one way and taking his water taxi through beautiful Whangaroa Harbour the other. Here’s a link to the interview I did with Tony:

Here’s where I found the photo:


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Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See

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