Off the Beaten Track to... Cape Brett
As you head north towards the Bay of Islands region on New Zealand's North Island, make a detour to Cape Brett. This is a place of outstanding scenic beauty offering views over the Bay of Islands including the 'hole in the rock' and beyond. It is also home to the Cape Brett lighthouse – the only history lighthouse managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) that still has its internal workings.
The 14-metre high lighthouse has stood at the entrance to the Bay of Islands since 1906. In 1908 a small isolated settlement was established including three houses for the lighthouse keepers and their families. (View more about the Trace of Light film for an insight into what life was like for these families).
Cape Brett is of particular spiritual and traditional importance to local and Northland Maori.
Things to Do
- Cape Brett Walkway - The 16.5-kilometre Cape Brett track begins at Oke Bay in Rawhiti and ends below the lighthouse at the seaward end of the Cape Brett peninsula. This well maintained track takes about 8 hours to complete traversing over reasonably undulating and at times steep terrain up to a maximum height of 345 metres. The lighthouse keeper's cottage built in 1908 is now used by hikers - bookings for the accommodation and track walking permits are available from DOC. (Above average fitness is recommended).
- 'Hole in the Rock' Boat Cruise - Leave from Paihia and cruise to the outer islands of the Bay of Plenty to the Cape Brett lighthouse, passing secluded bays and sandy beaches on the islands along the way. This journey would include Motukokako and the famous 'Hole in the Rock' and Grand Cathedral Cave.
- Go seaboard - Go swimming with dolphins, sailing, big game fishing and kayaking
- Waitangi National Reserve - Visit the site where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840
- Haruru Falls - About three kilometres from Paihia are the Haruru Falls where the water falls in a horse shoe shape - very rare and quite spectacular
Useful Bay of Islands Links
To help plan your holiday in the Bay of Islands choose from the main categories below: