Located in the Canterbury region
A small but vital refuge for many seabirds, Motunau Island lies close to the coastline of Pegasus Bay north of Christchurch.
This is a popular spot in Pegasus Bay for family picnicking, beach walking, surfcasting, diving, exploring native bush and viewing spectacular limestone bluffs. It was an important place to the early Māori of Canterbury.
The forest features native Silver Black Spider orchids and clematis. Kekeno/New Zealand fur seals are often clustered at the base of the towering white cliffs at the end of the beach.
For good views, you can walk on an old 4WD road from the car park through bush for 15 minutes to a gate at the road end. The land beyond this is private, so don't go further and return the way you came.
Turn off SH1 into Hurunui Mouth Rd just past Dommett (115 km north of Christchurch). Just before the river mouth, take the bridge over the Hurunui River and follow Blythe Road. From the bridge the road is unsealed. From Blythe Road take Napenape Road, which follows the shoreline to the car park.
Walk to the Balmoral Fire Lookout, a great place for a family picnic with fantastic all-round views and some interesting history.