Northland Days and Resupply Plan
Updated: Jun 11
Cape Reinga - Mangawhai
This section is mostly well populated, walking through towns with small convenience stores (dairies) and larger supermarkets are only a couple of days apart.
Resupply in Kaitaia for 5-6 Days
Would recommend doing the shorter days into Ahipara to help your body recover. Most people hobble off the beach, resupplying for this section is hard because you're new to trail so you want to try and keep your pack weight down, but you need to carry up to six days of food.
Cape Reinga - Twilight Beach* 12km
Twilight - The Bluff 28km
The Bluff - Hukatere 30km
Hukatere - Waipapakauri** 18km
Waipapakauri - Ahipara*** 13km In Ahipara there is a small store that you can easily grab food for getting to Kaitaia, to save you carrying one days snacks, lunch and dinner if you want to.
Ahipara - Kaitaia 15km
*alternatively for night one, some hikers chose to walk on from Twilight to the bottom of the stairs onto the beach another 4km away. This makes the next day more manageable but does mean for the last 4km you need to carry plenty of water out from twilight for your evening camp and starting day two.
**here there is the alternative option of pushing on to Ahipara. This will mean you could get away with one day less food, but it may be best to make that call on the day, when you can see how you're feeling. I'd recommend taking a couple of relaxed days, swimming in the ocean and actually enjoying the beach!
***it would be possible to get to Kaitaia from Waipapakauri in one day too. Also, plenty of people hitch between Ahipara and Kaitaia, its a bit of a sketchy road walk to be your first, survivable but not recommended in the dark or poor visibility as there is barely a hard shoulder let alone any sort of walkway until a couple of kms from Kaitaia.
Resupply in Kaitaia for 5 Days
Kaitaia - Private Campsite 20km
Camp - Makene Rd 17km
Makene Rd - Apple Dam* 19km Grab second breakfast or brunch from the cafe enroute! They have basic supplies if you want to carry less through Raetea, but aren't open every day of the week. Worth checking ahead when you resupply to see when you plan to arrive.
Apple Dam - Puketi DOC Campsite 25km
Puketi - Kerikeri 28km
*Apple dam isn't the loveliest camp ground. I spent the night freedom camped beyond the campsite, but due to Kauri Die back this is no longer recommended.
Resupply in Kerikeri for 5 Days
While you can pick up food in Paihia, the selection was way better in Kerikeri, so IMO it would be better to resupply there. This section has lots of great evening meal options that would be worth checking out before you resupply.
Kerikeri - Paihia 24km Plenty of dining out options in town if you want them, and a small foursquare centrally located if you want to top up your supplies.
Paihia - The Farm ?km (route subject to change) The Farm was super TA accommodating there is a small coffee shop that opens around 08.30 and sells hiker essentials such as pb, chocolate and bliss balls. They were hoping to extend their selection so hopefully there's even more for you too! If you're planning to arrive in good time ie-before 17.00, it's worth noting that for approx. $15 you can have a cooked evening meal.
The Farm - Helena Bay 15km Get in touch with Dave and Alex! They're the best and may well offer to cook up for you for koha and save you carrying an extra dinner.
Helena Bay - Sandy Beach* 31km On your way through Whananaki you can pick up limited food items from the dairy near the school.
Sandy Beach - Ngunguru 18km
*other walkers opted to stay in Whananaki, and made it to Ngunguru in good time the next day, BUT the freedom camp at Sandy Beach is B.E.A.U.Tiful... Just saying!
Resupply in Ngunguru for 2-3 Days
There are options to stay in a couple of different places in this section, that would make it a three day stint instead of two. This may well be the only option if the tides fall at the wrong time of day to get through both crossings before early afternoon. Ngunguru village shop is small and pricey, but you can grab everything you'll need for a few days on the trail. There is also a takeaways if your hankering for something that you don't have to cook yourself.
Ngunguru - Ocean Beach 30km
Ocean Beach - Ruakaka* 26km
*note that it isn't always possible to get across to Ruakaka the day you leave ocean beach, so you should look at arranging your boat/ transport around to and take that into consideration when you resupply. Having said that, there are plenty of options to grab food from takeaways around Whangarei Heads if you chose to stay on that side of the inlet.
Resupply in Ruakaka for 2 Days
Ruakaka shops have a decent sized supermarket, a pharmacy and a few cafes and bakeries.
Ruakaka - Waipu Cove 18km Walking through Waipu you may want to grab something in town, we noticed a bakery not far off trail and a pub too.
Waipu Cove - Mangawhai 27km Mangawhai and Mangawhai heads are easy enough places to grab dinner out if you want to.