Walking Mount Manaia

Posted by Francesca Peacey on

So the early winter sunshine has created ample opportunity for remaining in the beautiful kiwi outdoors.  This week Josh and I took some time out to hike one of our local beauty spots, Mount Manaia.  To my shame I haven't scaled this gem since my seven month old friend arrived.  We began our trek mid afternoon and in perfect conditions, sun shining, full bellies and clean nappies! After a recent doc overhaul, the 420m summit is now far more accessible.  The track now includes a new wooden walkway and additional steps which total 1088. 

Mt Manaia Track

We began the meander marveling at the early winter sunshine and that in Northland we're still in shorts.  These walks are great at inspiring new business ideas and we quickly got in to the nitty gritties of our venture, wondering where and how we can expand.  There's nothing like clear views with a chilly edge for inspiration.  The craggy peaks of Mount Manaia are swathed in legend.  It is said that Hautatu, a chief who lived on the opposite side of the harbour, crossed the water and was chasing after his wife Pito and two children who had been taken captive by Manaia, the paramount chief of Whangarei. All five were struck by lightning and turned into the rocky outcrops visible at the summit, which now create the unmistakable entrance of Whangarei Harbour.  When driving north, any local will tell you that after the Brynderwyn Hills, when you see Mount Manaia at the harbour entrance...you know you're home.  After a sweaty ascent we reached the summit.

Mt Manaia - Vilo Wooden WatchesThe summit, in lovable kiwi style, has no warning signs, no safety rails just a spectacular drop and incredible vista.  

Mount Manaia Whangarei New Zealand - Vilo

I've done this track at dusk, at noon and after a misplaced bout of inspiration...at 4am to watch the sunrise.  No matter the time of day or season, the view becomes more beautiful...more breathtaking.  

Mt Manaia - Vilo

This was perhaps the most important time I have scaled the summit, marking the first time for our 7 month old friend.  

Mt Manaia Summit - Vilo

On our return a stranger remarked, "she'll never forget this" Josh and I exchanged an eye roll but a part of me wants to believe on a primal, sensory level, our little girl will remember this hike...maybe not being plastered to Josh's sweaty torso though.  It's always been a personal slight to me if I can't beat the advised length of time by doc signage. Doc advise the hike is a two hour return.  Thankfully, we completed the track in 45 minutes up, and 34 down.

Mt Manaia - Vilo

To plan your own Mount Manaia adventure, visit https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/northland/places/whangarei-heads-area/things-to-do/mount-manaia-track/  


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