A popular Whangārei bike trail is off limits for at least the next three days after a fire tore through part of it.

The fire on Abbey Caves Rd started around 4pm on Saturday and burnt about 3ha before it was brought under control.

It took firefighters from Whangārei, Onerahi and Hikurangi and four helicopters about two hours to put the fire, on Whāngarei District Council land, out.

The cause of the blaze is unknown at this stage.