Cape Foulwind Walkway

Image: Miles Holden | DOC


A seal colony, a lighthouse and panoramic views of mountains and coastline feature on this spectacular coastal walkway. With the beach close by as well it's a good option for children. It's also one of our best short walks.


  • New Zealand fur seal/kekeno breeding colony
  • Panoramic views of mountains and coastline
  • Cape Foulwind lighthouse



  • Fitness required: Low to moderate
  • Gradient: Flat and undulating


Track overview

3.4 km one way

Walking and tramping

1 hr 15 min one way Easiest: Short walk
Easy: Walking track

Seasonal restrictions

The busiest time for fur seals is November to February.

Dog access

Dogs on a leash only

About this track


Shorter option: Tauranga Bay carpark to seal colony viewpoint

Time: 15 min
Distance: 500 m

Cape Foulwind short walk takes you from Tauranga Bay along a rocky headland to a viewpoint overlooking a New Zealand fur seal breeding colony.

Panels along the track tell stories of Māori history, sea voyages and early explorers.

Longer option: Seal colony viewpoint to Cape Foulwind lighthouse

Time: 1 hr
Distance: 2.9 km

From the seal colony, a longer walking track leads to Cape Foulwind lighthouse.

Return the same way or arrange transport from Cape Foulwind car park. 

Getting there

The nearest town is Westport (16 km).

To get to Tauranga Bay, follow SH67A Cape Foulwind Road for approximately 11 km and turn left onto Tauranga Bay Road and follow for another 5 km. When you get to the Tauranga Bay Stop Sign, turn right and follow the road until you reach the Seal Colony Carpark.

The longer option can also be accessed from the Cape Foulwind lighthouse car park (northern end).

Nature and conservation

The seal breeding season from November to February is the busiest time of year for New Zealand fur seal/kekeno.

History and culture

Cape Foulwind was named by Captain James Cook in 1770 after his vessel was blown off course by the prevailing westerly winds. 

Know before you go

What to expect

Elevation change: +/- 7 m

  • Rapidly changing weather – this is a coastal walk.
  • Significant fall hazards along walkway, keep to the track and keep children nearby.
Be prepared

Ensure you take:

  • Waterproof and windproof jacket, hat and gloves.


Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 731 1895
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   4294 Coast Road
RD 1
Runanga 7873
Postal Address:   4294 Coast Road
RD 1
Runanga 7873
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