This week the Herald is profiling different hikes you can do to get fit. We have enlisted Robert Bruce, founder of Got To Get Out, to write about his favourite adventures. He says that getting outside and exploring nature is not only beneficial for the body, but a proven and easy way to improve your mental health.

The adventure in a sentence:

The Cape Brett Lighthouse walk is a must do for those who've got to get out and experience stunning scenery, along with a decently hard 16km trek to get the blood pumping.

Where is it?


The Cape Brett track is accessible via Russell, in the Bay of Islands.

The drive to the start is around five hours from Auckland. The hike is a solid eight-hour slog up and down hills, across ridges and through regenerating bush to the old lighthouse keeper's house.

Where to stay?

Got To Get Out stayed at the lighthouse keeper's house when we visited this year.

The house is now converted into a lovely DOC hut which you must book before your visit.

You don't have to stay in the hut if you don't want to walk eight hours to the hut you can catch a water taxi to the lighthouse from Russell or Paihia.

The hike is around eight hours long in both directions. Photo / Robert Bruce
The hike is around eight hours long in both directions. Photo / Robert Bruce

About the adventure:

The views during this walk are unbelievable, and the feeling of achievement once there makes all the climbing worthwhile.


From the moment you start the track you are greeted with breathtaking views across ridge lines and cliffs.

The walking track is well formed, easy to follow with regular stops to check out the view.

Got To Get out crew trekked there at Easter last year - the weather was stunning and tracks weren't busy at all.

There's even a long-drop at the halfway point if you've got to go.

How long does it take?

Five hours driving from Auckland and eight hours each way to the lighthouse keepers house at Cape Brett.

Difficulty rating (1-5): 2-3

A pretty good level of fitness is needed and of course the right gear for an overnight hike.

You need a decent size pack, water, food and sleeping bag if you are planning to stay in the hut overnight.

Cape Brett is full of rugged coastlines and stunning views. Photo / Robert Bruce
Cape Brett is full of rugged coastlines and stunning views. Photo / Robert Bruce

What to bring?

Sunscreen, hat, protective clothing, togs, towel, and maybe a pair of sandals.

Take some warm gear for in the hut as it can get cool.

Don't forget a head lamp - you don't want to get lost finding the lavatory at night.

Other vital info:

We stayed in private accommodation right at the entry to the walk on the Friday night, meaning we could leave our cars there and have a nice place to sleep before embarking on the walk.

We also opted to water-taxi back from Cape Brett and straight to the beach outside the accommodation. It saved us a long walk back before the drive to Auckland.

Why I recommend it:

The rugged coastlines, stunning views, incredible sunset and the charming historic lighthouse meant the Cape Brett hut is a must do adventure if you've got to get out.