Waikawau Bay camp ground & Matamataharakeke walking track

Waikawau Bay is on the north eastern side of the Coromandel peninsula, and is a spectacular place to visit! Surrounded by lush green forest, sparkling blue seas and golden sands, you will wish you’d booked to stay longer! Get back to basics and camp at the Department of Conservation (DOC) campground, click 👉here for more info. Although it is one of the largest DOC campgrounds in NZ it has been cleverly zoned into areas and has plenty of large trees, throwing shade and creating divided areas. However if you want to get away from the crowds, avoid peak periods. You can read more about our awesome camping family holiday on our blog👉 here.

  • Location: 42 km north of Coromandel. From Coromandel take the Colville Road for 22 km to Whangaahei Junction, turn right into Port Charles Road, then right into Waikawau Beach Road and follow for 5 km to the camp. Access: Port Charles Road is unsealed, narrow and winding in places. Take care especially during the holiday period.

Matamataharakeke Walkway Nutshell

  • Location: Waikawau Bay campground.
  • Access: Begin at the back of the Pump paddock at the Waikawau Campsite, crossing over a stile next to the Matamataharakeke Stream.
  • DOC duration: 3 hrs    Forest family duration: 3 1/4 hrs going slowly and includes a 1/2 stop. We didn’t take any children on this walk due to the hot weather, steepness and need for a break!🤣
  • DOC track grade: Advanced tramping track.
  • Highlights/Features: Skinks! We saw so many on our walk. Plus the views! There are a series of awesome lookouts giving views over bush covered hills to coast and islands. We saw Great Barrier, Cuvier and the Greater Mercury Islands. The views from the top lookout made all the uphill worthwhile!
  • Historic Info: The track is part of the original Waikawau to Kennedy Bay route used by gold miners and loggers.
  • FYI: The track is steep going up and down, there are sections of steps on the downhill and multiple river crossing at the beginning and end of the track so please consider this if you are doing the track after or during rain. We went to the DOC office at the campground and got a map of the track, which was great and had additional information and helped us understand which islands we were looking at!
  • Although my kids are physically capable of doing a track like this I don’t think they would have enjoyed all the uphill especially in the mid summer heat! However as recommended in my blog you could take younger kids (under 10’s) along the start of the track, before it goes uphill and have a play in the creeks, returning the same way once they’ve had enough. I recommend ages 10+ would be better able to cope and enjoy this track.

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