Mount Manaia is a stunning rock formation left over from an extinct volcano which erupted around twenty million years ago, the top of the mountain has a distinctive jagged peak and is a local land mark of the Northland Region, Mount Manaia rises to around 403 meters above the Whangarei Harbor entrance.
Located around 30 kilometers from the Whangarei CBD Mount Manaia is a popular destination for trampers, parking is available in the Mount Manaia clubs carpark on the Whangarei Heads RD, the fantastic walk to the summit starts right at the carpark, the walk is rated as easy but only because the track is well maintained with a gravel base and wooden steps on the steep parts the track should be rated moderate rather than easy as the climb takes around one hour to the top and is fairly steep in places.
From the carpark the track rises gently through regenerating native bush and starts to wind around the mountain side anti clock wise, there are glimpses of the east coast ocean and Whangarei harbour down below through the trees, the first real viewing platform or rock is around half way up to the summit, there is a wooden boardwalk and just at the start of the board walk on the right is a small unmarked track this leads out to a stunning rock ledge with a vertical drop below, and offers an uninterrupted view out across the Harbor entrance to Busby Head.
From the board walk the hardest part of the track starts, the track steepens and the relentless wooden steps start there are around 900 steps in total so you get a great workout as well, you twist and turn through some stunning native trees with the mighty Kauri tree every where, around 50 minutes from the track start you arrive at the second look out and a massive rock formation towering above offering views down into the harbor and the Whangarei Heads.
Walking on you dip down into a small sadle with vertical drops on both sides of the track then snake up through rock formations to what looks like a massive rock balanced on an other rock, there is a short set of steps and up onto the rock platform, the views here are breath taking, looking down onto the inner harbor and Marsden Piont to the left and right up the harbor to Whangarei.
There is more on the wak back, half way between the summit and the towering rock down in the saddle there is an unmarked track to the left just up here is a short walk to the left again then up some tree roots and rocks and onto a rock platform looking out and over the inner harbor.