From Whangarei, drive north along State Highway 1 for 35 km. At Towai, turn right onto Ruapekapeka Road and follow it for 4 km. You will see signs for Ruapekapeka and the carpark 300 meters beyond the intersection where Ruapekapeka Road meets Kawakawa Road. The road is unsealed and narrow in places so take care.
The car park is signposted, and it can easily accommodate camper vans.
Drive south along State Highway 1. The turn-off into Ruapekapeka Road is about 14 km from Kawakawa.
Finding your way around
The car park is located between the Main British Camp (to the north) and the Main Advanced Gun Battery (to the south).
Ruapekapeka Pā is on a hill to the south-east of the car park, on the other side of a forested gully.
The walk from the car park to the pā is gentle and takes no more than 15 minutes.
Download the site guide, or pick-up a copy at the carpark, and follow the signs on-site. There are QR codes on site for smartphone use.
Walks at Ruapekapeka
To the Pā
Tracks from the car park pass under the “Rahiri” gateway and go past the Main Advanced Gun Battery, where the 32-pounder cannon and mortar were aimed at the pā above.
You can choose whether to walk a slightly longer route through the forested gully, or to walk along a level pathway adjacent to the road.
Before arriving at the pā itself, you will need to cross a road – please take care. On the other side of the road, you will pass through “Kawiti” waharoa (carved gateway) and walk a little further up the hill to the pā itself.
To the British Main Camp
For those who are especially interested, there is also a track going north from the car park, through paddocks and to the location of the British Main Camp.
The British Camp looks just like any other paddock – but there are archaeological traces hidden beneath the ground surface. These traces will be revealed and interpreted over the next few years.
Respecting and protecting the site
Ruapekapeka is a wahi tapu or sacred site, and blood was shed here. Please respect the site.
- Do not climb on or into the historic features.
- Please do not take food onto the site. A picnic area is located near the car park.
- Do not light fires.
- Please take your rubbish away with you.
- It is illegal to remove or disturb any artefacts or other historic remains.
- Do not camp on the reserve.
- Please shut gates.
- Because of holes, uneven surfaces and water hazards, take care when exploring the reserve and supervise children at all times.