IntroductionA 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
3.4 km one way
The busiest time for fur seals is November to February.
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.
This walkway section is accessible for assisted wheelchairs and buggies.
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.
This section is not recommended for wheelchairs and buggies due to steep gradients along parts of the track.
Return the same way or arrange transport from Omau car park.
There is also a return option to the Omau car park, Cape Foulwind and/or Tauranga Bay by walking through the Kawatiri Cycle Trail.
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 car park.
The longer option can also be accessed from the Cape Foulwind lighthouse car park (northern end).
The walkway is closed to mountain bikes.
Information kiosk, picnic table and toilets are located at the Tauranga Bay car park area.
What to expect
Elevation change: +/- 70 m
- Rapidly changing weather – this is a coastal walk.
- Significant fall hazards along walkway, keep to the track and keep children nearby.
Ensure you take a waterproof and windproof jacket, hat and gloves.
The seal breeding season from November to February is the busiest time of year for New Zealand fur seal/kekeno.
Cape Foulwind was named by Captain James Cook in 1770 after his vessel was blown off course by the prevailing westerly winds.