Lane Cove Hut in Whangaroa Harbour on New Zealand’s North Island is a stellar spot for a weekend away by the water. Take a water taxi and bring your SUP!
- Access via an easy walk or an even easier boat ride
- Spend the night in an isolated hut
- Climb the Duke’s Nose for amazing views of Whangaroa Harbour
- Bring your togs, paddleboards, and fishing rods to enjoy the water on your doorstep
Add Lane Cove Hut to Your Bucket List
Lane Cove Hut is one of those huts you only have to see a photo of before you put it on your bucket list. Situated in the winterless north of New Zealand’s North Island, right on the edge of Te Rere Bay in the Whangaroa Harbour. It’s only a two hour walk to get to the secluded bay and the views are amazing.
I was very keen to visit Lane Cove Hut, so I picked a weekend, invited all my friends, booked out all 16 bunks in the hut, and was looking forward to a nice secluded weekend away. There was only one problem. I broke my leg.
Walk or Water Taxi?
Now, a broken leg wasn’t necessarily going to stop me from adventure. But walking a few kilometres to a hut was going to be tricky. I started doing some research – if Lane Cove Hut is on the edge of the water, couldn’t I just take a boat? And sure enough, water taxis leave from Totara North and Whangaroa!
For $35 I could be dropped off on the doorstep of the hut, backpack and all, relaxing on the deck in the sun while my mates walked the 5.6km to the hut along the Wairakau Stream Track. So I booked the boat and told my friends that the trip was still on.
The skipper looked a bit dubious when he saw me rock up on crutches and with my leg in a cast. And it wasn’t until we arrived at the hut that I understood why. It was low tide.
The boat couldn’t make it anywhere near the hut and I had to hobble across the mud flats with my leg in a plastic bag to keep my cast dry. Not quite the easy arrival I’d imagined, but making it to the hut and plonking down on the deck quickly made clear it was definitely worth the effort. What a spot for a hut!
A Weekend of Water Fun
Soon after, the others arrived and we got stuck into our usual weekend adventure shenanigans – snacking, relaxing, playing games, and some more snacking. We tried our luck with fishing, only catching the tiniest fish. We stayed up late and had hot chocolate with rum under the stars. It was bliss.
The next day, my friends explored Kaiaraara Rocks, nicknamed the Duke’s Nose. It sounded like a pretty cool rock scramble with a chain to pull yourself up the last, steep section.
Of course, by the time my pre-booked water taxi showed up, the tide was low again, but at least this time I had people around to help carry my bag while I focused on keeping my balance as my crutches sunk into the mud with every step. The skipper seemed a lot happier now that I’d made it safely back on board and he was kind enough to take me on a tour along the bays.
Whangaroa Harbour is a beautiful area, and Lane Cove Hut makes for the perfect weekend getaway. The short walk in, plus the option to take a boat, mean almost anyone can access the hut. It’s one of those places that while you’re there, you’re talking about how next time, you’ll stay two nights, and you’ll bring your paddleboard, and make the most of the water taxi to bring even more snacks.
So I guess this means that even though I made it there, Lane Cove Hut will still remain on my bucket list.
- Food (there’s water at the hut), portable stove, cooking utensils
- Sleeping bag (there are mattresses at the hut)
- Hiking gear
- Swimming gear/fishing rod
How To Get There
From SH10, turn onto Totara North Road, then turn left into Campbell Road. Head right at the next junction and you’ll find the start of the track at the end of the road. Make sure to park well off the road on the grass verge.
Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration
To the hut (one-way): 5.6 km / 241m / 2 hrs
To Kaiaraara Rocks (return): 1 km / 185m / 1.5 hrs