Cliff Pa Loop Track: A Challenging Hike with Rich History on Urupukapuka Island

The Cliff Pa Loop Track on Urupukapuka Island definitely pushed me and my fitness, but the incredible views and historical sites made it all worthwhile. This track the easiest but you don’t have to be very experienced either.  There are some steep climbs and some exposed cliff edges which kept my adrenaline pumping.  But hey, the rewards were epic!

Quick facts about this walk

Location: Urupukapuka Bay, Bay of Islands, North Island
Distance: 2.6 km
Time: 50 mins
Difficulty: Easy with some steep climbs
Elevation: 126m
Track Quality: Excellent grassy track with steps
Mountain bikes?: no
Wheelchair access?: no
Wet Feet: no
Toilets: There are no facilities here
Dogs: No dogs allowed on the island
Mobile coverage: Yes but patchy
Public transport: You will need to get the ferry there or arrive in your own boat. The ferry is quite a long way from this walk, if you plan on walking the whole island, then you’ll see most of this walk.

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The well-defined track snaked its way up and down hills, demanding a good level of fitness and sure footing.  Along the way, I stumbled upon some fascinating historical sites, most notably a pa, a Maori fortified settlement, perched right on a clifftop.  Information panels scattered throughout the route added another layer to the experience, giving me a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the island.

At the Cliff Pa site you’ll get amazing views and well worth the hike up the steep steps to reach it!

Planning Your Cliff Pa Adventure

For safety and comfort, tackling the Cliff Pa Loop Track during the shoulder seasons – spring (September to November) or autumn (March to May) – is key.  The weather during these months is generally pleasant, avoiding the wetness of winter or the scorching heat of summer.  Although, I did actually do this walk in February and it was perfect weather.

Remember to pack sturdy shoes, plenty of water, and be prepared for the possibility of changing weather conditions.

How to get to Urupukapuka Island

Reaching this paradise is straightforward by ferry. From Paihia, the main town in the Bay of Islands, ferries depart regularly to Urupukapuka Island, delivering you directly to Otehei Bay.  Its a short uphill walk to the top of the hill to join the main track that takes you around the island.

Map location and track

My 3d video of the walk

See my photos of the Cliff Pa Loop Walk