IntroductionHarihari Coastal Walkway is one of the most scenic walkways on the West Coast, with spectacular views of forest, rivers, mountains and coastline.
Start by following the old logging tramway, built in the 1930s to haul logs from the forest for two early sawmills. Make your way through regenerating forest to join an old pack track, once part of the coastal highway. Go over a lateral moraine to reach the Poerua River and the distinctive whitebaiters’ baches.
Where the river meets the sea, the path across the sand is constantly shifting according to the tides and the weather. Like all West Coast River mouths, this is a treacherous place. Do not attempt to cross.
Return to the carpark the way you came.
Note that due to coastal erosion and flood damage the track down the Wanganui River to the Doughboy and beach is closed and no longer maintained by DOC.
Harihari is 72 km southeast of Hokitika on SH6.
Harihari Coastal Walkway starts at the end of La Fontaine Road. To get there from the southern end of Harihari, turn onto Wanganui Flat Road and after 6 km turn left onto La Fontaine Road. It’s a 20 km, 20-minute drive. Take care on the gravel roads.
Exploring along the beach is only recommended four hours each side of low tide. However, the actual times can be affected by natural influences such as tide heights and storm surge.
Check the current track conditions and weather forecasts at the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre before starting your trip.
Always take warm and waterproof clothing as the weather can change rapidly.
Carry drinking water, insect repellent and sun protection at all times.
A variety of birdlife, and vegetation, is often observed. Seals may be present at anytime of the year, if encountered you should:
- stay at least 20 m away
- don’t disturb seals by making loud noises or throwing things
- keep dogs and children away
- don’t feed the seals
- never attempt to touch a seal.