Location: Mahurangi Regional Park, end of Ngarewa Drive: take Mahurangi West Road off SH1, 5km north of Puhoi Tunnel)
Access: Car park at top of hill above Sullivan's Bay (first car park along Ngarewa Drive
Length: 3.0 km
Grade: Undulating; farm track and informal paths
Status: on leash
Restrictions: Closed for lambing at some times of year
Cafes and restaurants: Puhoi Store, Puhoi Cottage Cafe and Puhoi Pub in Puhoi (12 km)
More information: http://regionalparks.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/mahurangi
The entrance to Cudlipp Point track is in the small car park at the top of the hill, where Ngarewa drive turns and plunges down to the sea. As a loop it can be walked in either direction. Somehow, anticlockwise always seems more logical, and for that we simply climb over the gate-cum-stile and follow the gravel track. This leads downhill through an area of pasture, for about 300 metres, where it ends in a grassy terrace on the estuary of the Te Muri river.
It's worth dallying here for a while, because it's the last real watering hole for the dogs - and because its a nice spot from which to look across to the beach on the other side. We can't get there with a dog, but if we'd been on our own we could have forded the river here (at low tide, anyway) to the old cemetery - the final resting place of over 100 Maori and early European settlers.
From the terrace, the grassy path leads uphill through bush and pasture, for a few hundred metres, then swings east along the cliff-line, before taking us through a fence into a larger area of bush. As we walk, we're likely to hear tuis, shining cuckoos and grey warblers variously singing, cooing and tweeting in the trees.
It's up-and-down for a while here, as we dip our way into and out of a couple of narrow valleys that run off the headland. But quite soon we emerge into another area of grass, and cross this to a stile where the path suddenly veers north. Before heading off that way, we can cross the stile and follow a short path through bush to a lookout point which gives good views across to Te Haupa Island and the southernmost tip of Scandrett Point. Back in the field, it's then a fairly easy stroll up onto the ridgeline, and down into the car park.
As an alternative, there's also a smaller loop that can be tacked onto this walk, by taking a right fork near the top of the ridge, down towards Sullivan's Bay. This brings us onto the end of Ngarewa Drive and the lower car park. The nearby beach, however, is off-limits for dogs, so to complete the walk, it's a quick slog up the road for 200 metres back to where we left the car.