Kahurangi Lighthouse, from beach north of the lighthouse and 15 minutes from the Lighthouse Keepers Hut
Image: Jason MacDonald | ©
Allow 4 hours from Anatori or 3 hours from Turimawiwi River to walk to Kahurangi Point. Cross Anatori River on foot and head out to the coastline. The walk to Kahurangi Point is an unmarked route along the beach; a wild and often windswept coastline in a vast, isolated landscape. The weather, sea and tide conditions can make travel dangerous and in some cases impossible.
There are two rivers that must be crossed at or close to low water. Do not attempt to cross when they are in flood and always cross cautiously as river conditions change daily. Check the tide tables in the newspaper or at the Golden Bay i-SITE Information Centre. Anaweka River must be crossed at the beach as there is no way around the wide estuary inland.
At Big River it is occasionally possible to cross at the river mouth if it's shallow enough and sea conditions allow. If not, head up the estuary and wade across where its seems the shallowest. Exercise personal judgement as to whether the crossing can be made safely.
After Big River, the beach gives way to huge inter-tidal rock platforms near Kahurangi Point. Just before the point is Kahurangi Keepers' House. This house was made originally from the nearby houses of the former lighthouse keepers and altered to its present shape in 2003.
A short walk further on around the coast takes you to the lighthouse, built in 1903. The house is not visible from the beach so look for the sign and orange marker. If you sight the lighthouse you have gone too far.
The start for Kahurangi Point Route is south-west of Pakawau in Golden Bay. From Takaka to Pakawau is a 40 minute drive, and from Pakawau head west on Dry Road over the Pakawau Saddle and down to Whanganui Inlet past Mangarakau and Paturau River. From here, Cowin Road takes you to the carpark at Anatori.
From Pakawau to Anatori is approximately 38 km on an unsealed, narrow windy road (allow an hour and 40 minutes from the Pakawau turn-off). The road passes through farm land, leave the gates as you find them. If you have a 4WD vehicle you can cross Anatori River and drive on for another 20 minutes to Turimawiwi River.
Parking is no longer possible at the Nikau Point carpark above Anatori River. This is because of coastal erosion. Park on the Anatori river flats, but at your own risk. If you have a 4WD, it is possible to cross Anatori River and continue along Cowin Road for 20 minutes to Turimawiwi River and park.
Check the tide times (use the Nelson tide times and add one hour). Time your trip to arrive at Big River at dead low tide or soon after. Crossing Big River is safest during spring tides, when there is the greatest difference between high and low water (just after the new and full moon).
Check the weather forecast for the time period you intend to stay and take into account the weather conditions prior to your departure. If there has been heavy or persistent rain fall in the hills (not necessarily on the coast) this will affect river levels. Rising rivers can also prevent you returning from your walk. Strong winds and rough seas can also make conditions unpleasant travelling along the beach and can push water levels up into the estuaries for longer periods.
Take extra food provisions in case you cannot make the return journey as planned. There is no reliable cellphone coverage from anywhere on the coast.
There are no shops or petrol stations past Pakawau.
Kahurangi Keepers' House and lighthouse are in Kahurangi National Park - no dogs are permitted and vehicles should be kept only on the beach and in the area immediately around the house.