St. Paul's Rock
NZ Gps: 35° 2' 48.0732" S 173° 45' 3.1752" E
Heyhey, gotta love a monolithic protrusion rising 212m over Whangaroa Harbour! This bare rock knob is the eroded core of an ancient volcano. That's neat and all, but what's neater is the 20-minute track that ascends it...and the commanding view you get for that paltry effort. Since the access road climbs 60m, the track up is a mere 150m, and funfun, the scurry up the final gully involves chains and whips.
The panoramic view is epic! There are good rocks to sit on and nothing blocking the harbour's green octopussy goodness. Delight all around you. (The grid lines in the water are old oyster beds.) Makes me want to kayak...
If you're cruising by on SH10 on the way to some other more touristy 'highlight', stop by here for a fun track. From SH10 the drive is only 10 minutes, and you could be up and down in an hour...then you can hurry on to wherever the other guidebooks tell you is good.
On SH10, 10km north of Kaeo, turn at signs for Whangaroa. Head 4.6km then left for 2km to town. Go past the hotel 400m and turn right at the sign for St Paul's Reserve and go up 1km to the road-end carpark (just past the track sign.)