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“A Great Walk in everything but name”
Review of Cape Brett Walkway

Cape Brett Walkway
Reviewed 4 September 2016

New Zealand has nine tracks classified by the Department of Conservation as official Great Walks. The Cape Brett Walkway isn’t one of them, but in terms of sheer beauty, it really should be. At just over 16km (10 miles) each way, and with numerous steep climbs and descents, it is however challenging but so very rewarding. For most, this is a two day hike, from Rawhiti to the Cape Brett lighthouse, spending a night in the converted lighthouse keeper's cottage on day one before returning the next day via the same route. Expect to take 6 - 7 hours each way or even longer as you’ll stop many times along the way to enjoy the stunning coastal vistas and clifftop views. The last 2kms is particularly spectacular but you better have a head for heights as the track follows the cliff edge with sheer drops to the ocean, 100m below.

The overnight hut is basic but comfortable with 23 bunk beds spread over two rooms and a central area. There’s also a communal kitchen/dining area with gas hobs and various pots and utensils. There is however no electricity so take a torch or candles. Some toilet paper would also be a good idea. While there is running water, we were advised to carry in all the drinking water we needed as there seems to be an ongoing problem with salt getting into the water supply. We tasted the water and while it wasn’t unbearably, it definitely didn’t taste great.

If the thought of a two day hike doesn’t excite you, there is a shorter option which is to catch a water taxi which comes ashore in Deep Water Cove and from here it’s about 2 - 3 hours walk to the hut. If you do decide to do the entire walk from Rawhiti bear in mind that you will need to pay for a walkway permit as the track passes through private land. You can pay for this and for your overnight stay in the hut online on the DOC website.

Finally, parking is something else you’ll want to consider if walking the full route from Rawhiti. There is no parking area at the start of the track itself and it’s not advisable to leave your car on the side of the road overnight. A number of the locals do however allow visitors to park on their grounds for a small fee, with 253 Rawhiti Road mentioned as the ‘official’ parking area on the DOC website. Just look out for the sign at the postboxes on your right as you come down the hill into Kaingahoa Bay. Drive into the gate and park immediately to your left. Don’t forget to bring some cash to put in the small cash box nailed to the post, $5 per car per day (as at August 2016).

7  Thank OutThere-Kiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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9 - 13 of 20 reviews

Reviewed 14 April 2016

We caught the water taxi (Dive Ops) from Rawhiti to Deep Water Cove. There is parking at Rawhiti for a $5 fee. The ride takes about 20 minutes to Deep Water Cove. The lady gave us lots of information on the walk. We walked the from Deep Water Cove to the hut at Cape Brett. This is probably the hardest part of the walk but you are rewarded with great views. The hut has gas and running water but not drinking water. Don't forget your torch, candles or headlamp. The toilets are not so great with people not using the sawdust. We swam at Cape Brett in lovely clear water. Pack your snorkel if you have space .The hut has a lot of information on the history of the site - do leave some time to read the books.
We walked back to Rawhiti the next day. Unfortunately it rained which made the downhills really slippery. This walk does require a high level of fitness but well worth doing. The walk from Deep Water Cove to Rawhiti requires a permit from DOC and the hut can be booked online on the doc website or through Paihia visitor centre

2  Thank dlcNz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2016 via mobile

Truly spectacular walk, but save yourself by taking a water taxi to Deep Water Cover and then hike in the 3 hours to the Lighthouse Keepers Hut. This is by far the best part of the walk. The walk from Rawhiti takes 8 hours each way which was too much for our kids (13, 11, 9).

For the return, we left the hut at 9:00 and were back at the Cove by 11:30 thanks to our lighter packs.

The swimming in Deep Water Cover is awesome. At the cape, the swimming is more adventurous, you need to be very careful of the rocks, and stay clear of the seals, cause they are big!

5  Thank Andrew C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2016

This hike was a lot hard than I anticipated, but the views were fantastic! It says the hike is 8 hours, but mine was 6 from Rawihiti to the hut at Cape Brett. A lot of up and down with careful footwork needed on a sometimes narrow path with steep drops. I do not think many people do this hike, so I was actually the only one at the hut that night, Althea it sleeps up to 23. I walked down the next day to Deep Water Cove and had the place to myself to swim. Fantastic! I was even startled by a sting ray while swimming. :)
I only give it a 4, as they warn against the water in the hut being contaminated by salt, so I did not use it.
To get there and back, I hired a water taxi from Paihia. Since I was the only traveler, it was pricey....

Thank Traveluster101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 August 2015

Wow!! What an experience!!

We took the "easy" option of a water taxi (Dive Ops) to the Cape and thoroughly enjoyed arriving in plenty of time to enjoy the afternoon exploring the historical site of the lighthouse station with the added bonus of a boat ride through the Cathedral Cave and Hole in the Rock.

Overnighting in the DOC hut was a treat with only 1 other tramper there. Surprisingly there was plenty of kitchen utensils already there - running water and gas for cooking also supplied. Remember to take toilet paper though!!

We departed early morning with a hope of seeing the sunrise over the lighthouse but were thwarted by cloud cover and did not see the sun burst through until we had summitted and were heading down Mt Rakaumangamanga.

As we would be classified as novice trampers I could see why the labels from the DOC recommended high fitness and experience levels. We completed it in 7 hrs 20 mins with plenty of rest periods.

The walk itself was one of the more physically challenging experiences I have endured - and totally enjoyed in my life. The ups and downs, the vistas, the changing scenery and bush types topped with the bird life and total solitude made it an experience to remember.

The chance meeting of friends along the track certainly cheered us both us and spurred our way onwards.

Even though it's winter we were committed to a celebratory swim in Oke Bay at the end. We had earned it.

This is a part of NZ that must been seen and experienced!!

8  Thank Johnny C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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