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Coronation Scenic Reserve

Image for the Coronation Scenic Reserve page.
This page contains information about the walkways in the Coronation Scenic Reserve - tracks for the keener walker, with views over the city from high vantage points and including an interpreted Māori pā site.
Updated: 20/08/2020 3:50 p.m.

The Coronation Scenic Reserve is an area of bush-clad hills adjacent to the Western Hills Drive which forms a natural boundary to the west of central Whangarei. 

It was purchased as a scenic reserve in 1912 and commemorates the coronation of King George V. 

The reserve is steeped in history and contains two Māori pā sites and over 100 storage pits. Gold mining took place adjacent to the Rust Track in the 1870’s but proved to be uneconomic.

Four walking tracks are maintained within this reserve and additional routes link with the Whau Valley Dam and the Quarry Gardens. These routes are not maintained and are not completely on public owned land.

Times given are for walking the tracks one way only.

Frank Holman Memorial Track

Currently closed for repairs.

Grade:      4
Time:       90 minutes 
Distance:  3.2 km

Starting at Kauika Road West, the path crosses over the footbridge into the reserve and onto the beginning of the Frank Holman Memorial Track. It turns left, following the edge of the reserve before heading up the hill. The track is not surfaced and is quite steep so it can be slippery after heavy rain. 

The track passes an impressive stand of mature native trees on the way to the summit. From here there is an option to turn right to complete a circular walk via the Kauika Road link. The main track continues up to a high ridge, passing by one of the pā sites. Please follow the orange waymarks as the woodland rides open onto the adjacent private property. 

Where the track becomes surfaced, the Selwyn Avenue link is sign posted off to the right. The Rust Track forks to the right further along, just before the track zig-zags down to Russell Road.

Kauika Road link

Grade:       3
Time:        25 minutes
Distance:   605 metres

From Kauika Road West, the path crosses over the footbridge into the reserve and turns to the right before climbing up the steep hill. There are a large number of steps which can be very slippery after heavy rain.

About 300 metres up, there is a track to the right that leads to a lookout. From here, there are some impressive views over the city and harbour. The main track continues up to meet the Frank Holman Memorial Track at the summit. Taking the track to the lookout adds 10 minutes to the walk.

Selwyn Avenue link

Currently closed for repairs.

Grade:        3
Time:         30 minutes  
Distance:    680 metres

This signposted track starts from the Quarry Craft Centre at the end of Selwyn Avenue where there is a grass carpark. The track is surfaced and there are numerous steps and board walks. 

After about 300 metres, there is an offshoot track that leads to an interpreted Māori pā site. The main track continues up to meet the Frank Holman Memorial Track at the ridge.

Taking the link route to the pā site adds 10 minutes to the walk.

Rust Track

Grade:        2
Time:         15 minutes
Distance:    300 metres

The Rust Track entrance from Western Hills Drive is not suitable for car parking and pedestrians should take care beside this busy road. This unsurfaced track can be slippery as it continues up to meet the Frank Holman Memorial Track near its eastern end. There is little evidence of the gold mining to be seen today.

Follow the link below to download a printable map of the tracks. 

Coronation Reserve tracks map [154kb]

To see information about the Quarry Gardens, follow the link below.

What to expect

  • peaceful native bush with some impressive mature trees 
  • interesting archaeology with pits, pā sites and remaining evidence of gold mining
  • expansive views across the city
  • art and crafts and nearby Quarry Gardens as a destination 
  • this is a great place for the keener walker, on the edge of the city. 

How to get to Coronation Reserve

The Coronation Reserve (sometimes called the Western Hills) lies immediately west of Whangarei and is within walking distance (1km) of the central city. 

There is residential street parking at Kauika and Russell Roads. The Selwyn Avenue entrance is behind the Quarry Craft Centre, where there is a grass car park.

Location:  multiple entrances:

  • Kauika Road West,
  • Selwyn Ave through the Quarry Arts Centre,
  • Russell Road (not far from the Whangarei Quarry Gardens).


 Track grades

1  A well made path
   with easy access
   for most  people
   including families.  

2  A short walk generally
   on well made paths
   but may include
   steeper sections.

A longer walking track
   usually well made
   including steps and
   more suitable for
   people with
   reasonable fitness. 

4 A relatively easy  
   tramping track
   which is generally
   narrower than other
   grades and may be
   on steep terrain. 
   May be challenging
   for some walkers
   and wearing tramping
   boots is advisable.


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