Imaged credits (clockwise from left): Whananaki Inlet (Bronwen Wall); Horeke Boardwalk (; Maropiu Road near Dargaville (Jonathan Kennett)
This rewarding loop – also known as 'the Heart of the Octopus' – takes in the full Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Great Ride as well kauri forest, beautiful coastal scenery, and the rich arts and culture of Northland/Te Tai Tokerau.

Starting from Whangārei, the ride heads out to the Pacific Coast and dips in and out of bays en route to Opua in the Bay of Islands. It then follows Pou Herenga Tai – Twin Coast Cycle Trail across to the Hokianga Harbour where it heads south through Waipoua Kauri Forest and down to Donnelly’s Crossing. It then cuts a track back east via a series of backroads to Kamo and a cycle path back into Whangārei.

The section between Rawene – on the southern side of the Hokianga Harbour – and Donnelly's Crossing, forms part of the Kauri Coast Cycleway Heartland Ride. You can find out more about it here.

Bike transport on the Hokianga Harbour can double as a super-scenic cruise (


  • Pou Herenga Tai – Twin Coast Cycle Trail from the Bay of Islands to the beautiful Hokianga Harbour
  • Waipoua Forest & Trounson Kauri Park
  • Whangārei’s arts, culture, eating & drinking
  • optional cruise on the Hokianga Harbour
  • arty Rawene and pretty Opononi
  • tranquil Whananaki Inlet

Tāne Mahuta – NZ's largest known living kauri tree – a must-see on the Twin Coast Mega Loop (Destination Northland)

Connecting bikepacking routes

This route takes in Pou Herenga Tai – Twin Coast Cycle Trail and connects to three Heartland Rides north and south: the Far North Cycleway, Kauri Coast Cycleway and Kaipara Missing Link.

A more detailed route description and map for this ride can be found in the Kennett Brothers guidebook, Bikepacking Aotearoa.