Kaipara South Head

Starting point Warehouse Covered Carpark, Albany
Distance 110 km
Gravel 16.2 km, optional
Petrol Available at Dairy Flat, Waitoki, Helensville
Toilets Available at Helensville, Lake Ototoa, Shelly Beach
Lunch Shelly Beach or MacNut Cafe

The road up to Kaipara South Head is a nice twisty country road with some good views, but the good quality road ends without any real destination. A well-munted road leads on to the Waionui Inlet, but that's only recommended for adventurous riders. The gravel itself is not deep and wouldn't pose problems for any bike, but there are lots of potholes and some trenches running diagonally across the road, which might cause problems for road bikes. Waionui inlet has a sandy beach with mangroves, and a view across to a sandspit which is the breeding ground of the fairy tern, of which there are only 40 birds left in the world. At low tide it is apparently possible to ride out to the small island at the north end of the beach, but I haven't tried this myself.

Suggested route

  Warehouse covered carpark on Coliseum Drive. Head towards Albany Expressway.  
  ↓200 m  
Turn right onto Albany Expressway. This becomes Dairy Flat Highway.  
  ↕12.9 km  
  Turn left at the Caltex petrol station onto Kahikatea Flat Road.  
  ↕14.1 km  
There are toilets in Helensville, and a petrol station. Turn left onto State Highway 16.  
  ↕11.2 km  
Continue straight through the roundabout onto Parkhurst Road. Parkhurst Road becomes S Head Road.
  ↕33.4 km  
There's a basic long-drop toilet a couple of hundred metres down Donohue Road, on the left before Trig Road. Donohue Road is gravel. Turn left into Trig Road. Trig Road becomes Tasman Road. The rest of this route is gravel. Riders not wanting to ride on gravel should turn back here.
  ↕5.1 km  
  Turn right onto Inland Road. Inland Road becomes Lagoon Road. Note that there is an earlier intersection of Tasman Road and Lagoon Road, but you cannot reach the destination that way.  
  ↕3.0 km  
  Reach the destination at Waionui Inlet. At low tide you can walk along the beach. Return the way you came.
  ↕3.0 km
Turn left onto Tasman Road  
  ↕5.1 km  
Turn right onto S Head Road
  ↕17.3 km  
Turn left onto Shelly Beach Road.  
  ↕5.4 km  
If the cafe at Shelly Beach is closed or doesn't appeal, there's MacNut cafe on the left heading back towards Helensville, and several cafes in Helensville. Arrive at Shelly Beach.

Return to the roundabout where Parkhurst Road joins State Highway 16, and turn right to head towards Auckland City or left for North Shore destinations.


Waionui inlet
Tasman and Lagoon roads
Shelly Beach cafe