2.5 km
45 minutes
Information for this trail was last updated April 2024

Anaura Bay is a beautiful bay with a 2km curve of sandy beach. The walkway at the northern end of the bay was designed as a loop track, along Waipare Stream, through Anaura Bay Scenic Reserve, under pine plantation forest, and through paddocks with kanuka and ti kouka (cabbage trees). Walkway signs are still in place at the Nuhiti Bridge (northern end) and at Waipare Stream (southern end), but only a short section of the walkway is currently open.

Look out for the walkway sign at Nuhiti Bridge, about 100m past the entrance to the Department of Conservation campsite at Anaura Bay. The track begins with crossing a stile then climbs beside the stream through young coastal forest with abundant birdlife to an open paddock. A brief climb through this paddock brings you to a ridge saddle with glimpses of views through trees of Anaura Bay, Motuoroi Island and the coastline to the south. The larger part of the walkway is closed from here because of storm damage, and you will need to retrace your steps back to Anaura Bay Road.


History of the trail

Anaura Bay was once the domain of Tautini, a grandson of the chief Hauiti from Ūawa, who lived at Toiroa, a  on the ranges between Anaura and Tokomaru bays. Tautini married Hinetamatea, whose name the meeting house at Anaura Bay bears.

Local Māori gave James Cook a friendly welcome when he entered Anaura Bay aboard the Endeavour on 21 October 1769. The crew filled their casks with water from Hawai Stream, where an Historic Places Trust plaque now records the event, and were given fish, wild celery and kumara (sweet potato). On shore, Cook recorded in-depth descriptions of Māori horticulture.

Prolific planting of karaka trees provided food, as recorded in a rafter design at the Hinetamatea Marae, which complemented a diet of kaimoana (sea food), kumara, yams, taro and gourds.  The Endeavour crew was amazed at the orderliness, regularity and number of gardens in the area. 

In pre-European times, Motuoroi Island, at the southern end of the bay, was inhabited by people skilled in the art of working with pounamu (greenstone) brought from the South Island. But when Cook visited, the large, fortified pa on the island was deserted.

The grand homestead Waipare stands at the northern end of the bay. The kauri timber was shipped in kitset form from Auckland and brought ashore by raft for assembly on site in the 1880s. The homestead remains basically in its original condition.

These days, the bay is home to the marae and a sprinkling of houses. A permanent camping ground and a seasonal Department of Conservation camping area are regularly visited by holidaymakers from Gisborne and further afield. 


Tips & Logistics

The walkway is located at the northern end of Anaura Bay, 13km north of Tolaga Bay, and 7 km following a winding side road to the coast.