Arai te Uru Heritage Walk
Time: 15 min return
Distance: 360 m
Arai Te Uru Recreational Reserve is located at the South Head of Hokianga Harbour on Northland’s west coast.
The turn off to Signal Station Road and Arai Te Uru Recreational Reserve is clearly signposted from State Highway 12. You see a large Transit sign on a sharp hairpin bend just up the hill from Omapere. The entrance sign to the reserve is two kilometers down the metalled road. There is also a “no camping” sign. Grassy terraces provide sheltered picnic sites and wonderful views up the harbour away from the prevailing westerly winds. The metalled road ends at a formed area for turning and car parking.
Arai te Uru Heritage Walk leads out to the Signal Station Point on the southern head of the Hokianga Harbour. The walk out to the point takes 5 – 10 minutes and has a small loop giving an alternative return back. The vegetation is predominantly flax, manuka, bracken, cabbage trees and pines. One minute from the carpark, the walkway down to the western coast (start of the Hokianga Kai Iwi Coastal Tramping Track) intersects the track, go straight ahead as directed on the sign. Veer right (to the eastern side of the track) at the wooden railing and you find a bench seat and a spectacular view up the Harbour.
The track follows the railing around the top of the cliffs. It then enters tall manuka and suddenly opens out at the headland and grassed lookout. Here, a few remnants of the old signal station still stand. The remains bring to mind visions of the days when sailing ships traded in and out the Harbour. Due to a decline of shipping and trading in the Hokianga the station was closed in 1951.
You can take a loop track to return to the car park, which takes you on the western side of the head and joins the main track at the start of the wooden railing.