Cape Brett is an isolated promontory in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, that can be reached by boat or by hiking the 16.3-km Cape Brett Track. It features a lighthouse that was built in 1909, and accommodation is in what was a lighthouse keeper's cottage. The cape is 26 km north-west of Russell.
Flora and fauna
Water taxis can drop you off either at Cape Brett (only possible in calm sea conditions) or at Deep Water Cove. It is a 2.5-hour hike to reach Cape Brett from Deep Water Cove.
A more strenuous (yet very rewarding) way to reach Cape Brett is via the Cape Brett Track, which starts from Oke Bay, Rawhiti, 29 km from Russell. From there it is 16.3 km (8 hours) to reach the light house and Cape Brett Hut. Walking this track requires a high level of fitness and experience. It is well worth the effort though as the track passes through native and regenerating bush and you'll see some spectacular views along the way.
Fees and permits
Track and hut fees can be paid through the Department of Conservation's online booking system or at the Paihia i-SITE.
The Oke Bay to Deep Water Cove section of the track is private land so if you start the hike from Oke Bay you will need to pay the $30 track maintenance fee ($15 for children 15 years or younger). This fee includes the return journey the next day.
The track maintenance fee is $10 ($5 for children) for walking any part of this section as a day trip (so not staying overnight in the hut).
The Deep Water Cove to Cape Brett section of the track is managed by the Department of Conservation and no fee is charged.
$15 per night for adults, $7.50 children under 15.
- 1 Cape Brett Lighthouse. Built in 1909
- Hiking the track is the main activity
Eat and drink
No supplies are available along the track or at the hut. Take all your food for the hike, the overnight stay and the hike back. Take plenty of water, as there is none available along the track. There are watertanks at the Cape Brett hut, but this water is not treated, so make sure to boil the water or use some other water treatment before drinking it.
- 1 Cape Brett Hut. This used to be the lighthouse keeper's cottage. It has 23 bunk beds and toilets. The kitchen has running water and gas cookers. There is no shower, but you can wash at the taps outside if you're not too shy. Bring a flashlight or some candles for lighting, a sleeping bag and cooking utensils. The mattresses all have a plastic cover, so bringing a sheet is a good idea to make it a bit more comfortable. Hut bookings are essential. Use the Department of Conservation's on-line booking system or book through the Paihia i-SITE. The hut is locked and you will be given the combination lock code after full payment has been received.
Camping is not allowed because of fire risk.
- Check the weather forecast before heading out.
- Stay on the track at all times.
- Some sections of the track pass by very steep cliffs. Take care in windy conditions.
- Fires are not permitted.
- Secure carparking is available in a couple of places in Rawhiti.
Make sure you take out all your rubbish (including food scraps).