Located in the West Coast region
IntroductionHistory and nature collide with easy short walks to overnight hikes easily accessed from Westport. Gold rushes, coal mining and timber logging leave behind many relics providing great access to gorges, bush, bays and a year-round seal colony.
Find things to do and places to stay Westport area
- 102 km north of Greymouth on SH6, and
- 95 km south of Karamea.
Westport can be reached via the Buller Gorge coming from Nelson or Reefton.
Cape Foulwind is a popular place to spend time enjoying the sea air, exploring the coastline and visiting the rookery of kekeno – the New Zealand fur seal.
The headland is an important site for the seal colony as well as the sooty shearwater - a large sea-going petrel – and blue penguins.
Māori knew the Cape as Tauranga which refers to the sheltered anchorage the bay provided for voyaging canoes (waka). It was also used as a resting place as they travelled the coastal areas by foot and by sea. Abel Tasman sighted the Cape on 14 December 1642 and named it Rocky point. In 1770 it was named a “place of foul winds” by Captain Cook when his ship was beset by gales and wind. Major European settlement began in the 1860’s when the settlers established flax/harakeke and timber mills.
The seal colony is part of a series along the Tauranga Bay-Cape Foulwind-Steeples coastline and is one of six breeding colonies on the West Coast. The fur seals have chosen Cape Foulwind to breed because of its rocky shore with suitable ‘haul-out’ spots and food rich sea.
The sooty shear water/tītī, reduced to almost extinction on the mainland of New Zealand, has a small colony surviving on this headland. Somehow a small number of breeding pairs have managed to survive through clearing, burning and farming. These birds are fully protected. The adult birds come ashore in October to begin their breeding cycle, hatching occurs mostly in late January with the chicks fledging by about May.