This walkway uses the Kapuni to Auckland gas pipeline route for 11 km. The laying of the pipeline involved an immense amount of heavy construction work and these operations opened up walking access to the dramatic forest and coastal country of the region. The entire walkway is across private land.
Note: It is no longer possible to walk the Whitecliffs Walkway from Pukearuhe to Tongaporutu as the northern end of the track from Clifton Road end at Tongaporutu to the stock tunnel entrance is currently closed.
Warning: The beach between the Wai Pingao Stream mouth and Pukearuhe is accessible only at low tide. If you have planned a walk along the beach as part of your trip, please check tide times beforehand. For your own safety do not attempt the walk unless you can reach Pukearuhe while the tide is still on its way out. See Tide timetable for Taranaki.
There are three walking options along the Whitecliffs Walkway:
- Pukearuhe to Wai Pingao Stream, returning to Pukearuhe via the beach (low tide only): 3 - 4 hr / 6.5 km. Warning: active cliff erosion along the beach section - extreme caution required as rocks may continue to fall.
- Pukearuhe to Mt Messenger: 6 - 7 hr / 11 km
- Pukearuhe to the stock tunnel (return the same way): 3 - 4 hr one way/11km (22km return)
The walkway crosses open farmland to Mt Davidson, where it enters Ngati Tama land. It then follows the pipeline route along the ridge tops before descending to the Wai Pingao Stream.
Here you can divert from the main track and return to Pukearuhe by following the stream to the coast and walking south along the beach (tide permitting). There is a large active cliff slip just south of the Wai Pingao Stream - beware of falling rocks and take extreme caution along the beach.
The walkway continues across the Wai Pingao Stream bridge before climbing to the Parininihi Ridge high point and descending to the junction with the Mt Messenger Track.
Turn right to climb toward the summit of Mt Messenger before descending to the track exit at SH3.
The Whitecliffs Walkway continues along the cliff tops to the historic stock tunnel (cattle used to be brought along the beach to here at Tongaporutu on their way north). Here the track ends and you must return the same way. It is not safe to go through the tunnel as it is collapsing.
Respect private land, use the stiles and keep to the track.
Whitecliffs Walkway begins at the Pukearuhe boat ramp (please park to allow access to ramp and farmers property) which is located at the end of Pukearuhe Road, north of Urenui.
Know before you go
Be prepared for changes in the weather.
Get local advice on track and weather conditions before setting out.
If walking along the beach check tide times
Take warm clothes, including hat and gloves and waterproof raincoat.
Keep to the track.
Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.