Follow a farm track from the Onuku Farm Hostel for about 1 hour 30 minutes, winding in and out of several headlands.
From the Hostel the track enters the scenic reserve where it is signposted. Follow an open farm track which rises and falls gently while offering spectacular views of the Akaroa Harbour to a point where a staircase leads down into the creek bed of a narrow gully.
The track changes from a walking track to a tramping track as you walk down the boulder bed of the creek to where it goes over a waterfall above a sheer cliff. There are fine views along the sea-cliff faces and of the Akaroa Marine Reserve.
To reach Nīkau Palm Gully you must cross private land and obtain permission to cross it. Contact Onuku Farm Hostel before you go
Phone: +64 22 025 0706
The track goes through an active farm so be aware of stock such as sheep and cows.
From Akaroa, travel 4 km on Haylocks road. Continue past Onuku Marae then turn right onto Hamiltons Road, which is signposted for Onuku Farm Hostel.
Park in the small carpark on the left by the DOC direction sign. There is no parking available at the hostel. From the carpark, walk up the road and past the hostel to the start of the track.
The size and number of nīkau palms in the reserve makes this one of the best coastal forest remnants in Canterbury. The nīkau is the only palm tree endemic to New Zealand and this is the southern-most extent of nīkau palms on the east coast of the South Island. The dark volcanic cliffs which soak up the heat of the sun and the mild maritime climate keep the palms frost free. Nīkau palms are slow-growing and can take up to two hundred years to reach their maximum height of 10 to 15 metres.
Eligible people must be fully vaccinated to use DOC accommodation.