Wharariki Beach

Image: Pierre Roudier | Creative Commons


Choose from shorter walks good for children or longer walks across farmland - discover a lighthouse and a spectacular rugged coastline.

Track overview

Walking and tramping

Various times under 5 hr Easy: Walking track
Advanced: Tramping track
Expert: Route

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


Puponga Hill Top Track

Coastline near Pillar Point.
Coastline near Pillar Point
Image: Chris Louth | Creative Commons

Time: 3–5 hr one way
Distance: 8 km 

Walking options
  • Walk the full length of the track from Triangle Flat to the end of Wharariki Road.
  • Walk part of the track by starting / finishing at the Pillar Point Lighthouse car park or the Cape Farewell car park, along Wharariki Road.
Triangle Flat to Pillar Point Lighthouse

Track category: Tramping track/Grade 3 Intermediate mountain bike

The track starts opposite the visitor centre car park at Triangle Flat and climbs steadily through open farmland and stunted bush along the Old Man Range to Pillar Point Lighthouse (1-2 hr). There are panoramic views all the way. Behind the light are the ruins of one of New Zealand’s first radar stations, built during World War Two.

For a round trip, continue down a 4WD track to Wharariki Road (30 min) and return to the car park via Wharariki Road (1 hr). 

Pillar Point Lighthouse to Cape Farewell

Track category: Tramping track

From Pillar Point continue along Hill Top Track over undulating open farmland to Cape Farewell. The track is exposed to strong wind gusts and has steep drop offs. Stay well clear of the cliff edge and children should be well supervised. The rewards are panoramic views of the rugged coastline.

It's a further 5 minutes walk from the viewing platform to Cape Farewell car park.

Cape Farewell to Wharariki Road end

Cape Farewell area.
Cape Farewell
Image: Chris Louth | Creative Commons 

Track category: Tramping track

From Cape Farewell the track continues over open undulating farmland, steep drop offs and panoramic views to Wharariki Beach. It is a further 20 minute walk to Wharariki car park and roadend.

Walks from Triangle Flat car park

Fossil Point

Track category: Walking track
 30 min one way 
2 km

From the car park, walk across Triangle Flat to Ocean Beach through open farm land and coastal bush; turn left along the beach to Fossil Point. Fossilised shells and worm casts can be found in blocks of mudstone fallen from the cliffs. Seals can often be seen here playing in the water. For a longer trip, continue along Ocean Beach and then take the Spit Track back to the car park.

Spit Track Circuit

Track category: Walking track
 1 hr 30 min
6 km

The entrance to the Inner Beach from the car park is through an entrance in the fence (kissing gate); walk along the beach until you reach the 4WD Spit Track. Cross over the spit to Ocean Beach and return via Triangle Flat.

Spit Track Circuit via Farewell Spit

Track category: Walking track
 3–4 hr 
12 km

Walk along Inner Beach 4 kilometres to a marked track crossing the spit to Ocean Beach. Return back down Ocean Beach to the 4WD Spit Track or continue down the beach to Triangle Flat Track for a slightly longer return trip.

Walks from Wharariki Road

Pillar Point Lighthouse

Track category: Walking track/Grade 2 Easy mountain bike 
 45 min one way
1.5 km

From a small car park off Wharariki Road the walk climbs steadily up a 4WD track to the lighthouse.

Cape Farewell

Track category: Tramping track
5 min one way
Distance: 200 m

Follow the sign posted road from Wharariki Road to the Cape Farewell road end car park. A short walk takes you to a lookout over Cape Farewell. 

Wharariki Beach (Archway Islands)

Track category: Walking track
Time: 20 min one way
Distance: 1 km

This is good option for kids. It's the most spectacular coastline in the region, with its caverns, islands, sand dunes and long stretch of beach. Access is at the end of Wharariki Road. From the car park to the beach takes 20 minutes over farm paddocks and through a section of coastal forest. At low tide you can walk along Wharariki Beach returning to the car park via Green Hills Track.

Puponga Farm Park Track/Green Hills Route

Track category: Route/Grade 3 Intermediate mountain bike
 3 hr return
10 km

From the Wharariki car park, follow a vehicle track west to Green Hills Stream and beyond. Superb farmland, lakes, cliffs and wind-carved moorlands are features of this area. Mountain biking is allowed on this track.

Getting there

From Collingwood, follow Collingwood-Puponga Main Road to Puponga. In Puponga, the road turns sharp left and becomes Wharariki Road. Follow this for the tracks on Wharariki Road, or turn right into Freeman Access for the Puponga Hill Top Track and Triangle Flat tracks.

Know before you go

  • No dogs or other pets are allowed.
  • Firearms are prohibited.
  • Camping is not permitted on both the Spit reserve and the Farm Park.
  • Take your rubbish away with you when you leave.
  • Do not light fires or smoke;
  • Care is required in windy conditions on the Puponga Hilltop Walk.
  • Keep at least 20 metres away from seals.

At Farewell Spit

Quicksand hazard at the public access area: There is an intermittent issue with quicksand within the flat sand pans at the base of Farewell Spit. This hazard exists in the flat open sand areas within the dunes, not out on the beach. The beaches, marked tracks and roads are still safe for travel.

Foot access only - no vehicles or bikes are permitted past the car park.

At Puponga Farm Park

Seemingly harmless acts, such as leaving a gate open or taking a pet for a walk can have drastic consequences for farm management. Follow these rules when visiting the farm:

  • cars and motorcycles must stay on formed roads and car park areas
  • leave gates as you find them; don't be tempted to close an open gate - it's open for a purpose!
  • hay and bull paddocks and the airstrip (during operations) are off limits to visitors
  • livestock, birds and plants are not to be disturbed or interfered with
  • at times the farm may be closed to the public. This is usually during lambing or calving, or when the fire risk is extreme. During such times, visitors are asked to keep to roads and car parks.


Whakatū / Nelson Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 546 9339
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   nelsonvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
79 Trafalgar Street
Nelson 7010
Postal Address:   Private Bag 5
Nelson 7042
Mohua / Takaka Office
Phone:   +64 3 525 8026
Email:   takaka@doc.govt.nz
Address:   62 Commercial Street
Takaka 7110
Postal Address:   PO Box 166
Takaka 7142
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