Cape Foulwind Walkway – a Cliff-top Coastal Beauty

carpark and cliff tops cape foulwind walkway

To break up the drive home from our recent trip away to Karamea we had a night at Cape Foulwind just outside of Westport.  This is a gorgeous seaside community perched on the cliff-top high above the Tasman Sea complete with local pub and super friendly locals.

star tavern cape foulwind

We headed down to the Star Tavern for dinner and were met by publican Derek – literally “hi I’m Derek”, shakes our hand and then asks what he can get us.  Then he introduces us to anyone that happens to be standing at the bar and we are embraced as part of the community. Talk about welcoming and knowing the meaning of hospitality!  Our meal was just as good as the hospitality and set us up well for the night after our long day.

cape foulwind walkway

Next morning we awaken to clear sunny skies. The Cape Foulwind walkway is just along the road and it is something we’ve always wanted to do but with usually having the dogs with us we haven’t had the opportunity.  This trip we are “childless” so head out for a morning stroll.  I say stroll given that there is a photographer amongst us and I know there will be lots of stopping……..

cape foulwind walkway towards headland

The Cape Foulwind walkway is a cliff-top coastal walk approximately 2.9kms long, winding its way around the headland to Tauranga Bay and a seal colony. It is a well-formed undulating trail passing the edge of rolling farmland on one side and steep granite bluffs with sandy beaches on the other side.

It is a rugged coastline with fabulous rock stacks and steeples out at sea and lots of bird life and crashing waves.

lighthouse cape foulwind

The Cape Foulwind end of the trail starts at the lighthouse and that is where our journey begins. While it is called the lighthouse walk you don’t actually go up to the lighthouse for the views – more right past it.  The lighthouse sits up on a grassy knoll and the track is slightly below.  The trail is beautiful, winding its way along the cliff edge.  We see some horses off in the distance and the trail leads us directly to them.  Not a bad view while you munch grass and loll about in the sunshine!

cape foulwind walkway and farmland

horses enjoying views cape foulwind walkway

The views are magnificent – out to the rock formations and the headlands of the point. We slowly meander our way along towards the Tauranga Bay end.  Such a gorgeous day for a walk – blue skies and sunshine and given that is it the start of September it is surprisingly warm almost to the point of hot.

cape foulwind walkway towards tauranga bay

We pretty much have the track to ourselves for the first half hour and then a couple of runners pass us by.

tauranga bay end cape foulwind walkway

Tauranga Bay seal colony viewing platform

rocks and seals tauranga bay

Eventually we reach the Tauranga Bay end and the viewing platforms for the seal colony.  There is a gorgeous couple here trying to take a photo of themselves without success so I offer to help them out.  Then we all just watch in wonderment at the waves crashing in on the rocks and the seals basking  in the sunshine oblivious to the show going on around them and the pups playing in the surf.

cape foulwind walkway towards lighthouse

Time to head back as we still have the drive home to see our “pups” who will be waiting patiently at home for us.  We meet some more walkers and another runner on our return journey.  It is nice to see people out enjoying the sunshine.

headland cape foulwind walkway

Cape Foulwind lighthouse and Tauranga Bay Seal Colony are two places I recommend to our guests for stopping when traveling along the Great Coast Road, as you can do both ends without doing the whole walk.  If you have time though I would definitely recommend doing the whole walkway.

For us though it is a quick drive into Westport for a grocery shop and perhaps a stop at the bakery and then time to hit the road. I can almost hear our puppies from here……..

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  They enjoy getting out and about and exploring the many wonders that help make up the West Coast of the Southern Alps named one of the top ten regions to visit in the world by Lonely Planet.


About coastingnz

Jan and Stephen live on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, NZ and run Breakers Boutique Accommodation. They both enjoy the outdoors and are passionate about things to see and do on the West Coast and would like to share their experiences with you.
This entry was posted in beaches, Nature, NZ flora and fauna, NZ history, outdoors, photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Cape Foulwind Walkway – a Cliff-top Coastal Beauty

  1. Pam says:

    Just loved reading of your experience with being welcomed into a small community – this is the real “heart” of New Zealand that travellers should experience. Fantastic information here Jan!

  2. Beautiful walk. And I loved the pub. I would suspect, however, that you had some ‘not so patient’ pups waiting for you. 🙂 –Curt

  3. bulldog says:

    Jan I (from experiencing it) thought that all New Zeelands were friendly people… you lot just seem to be one big happy family… I’m so glad that Stephen gets to take the photos as it enhances the beautiful image we all have of your country… (rugby players not included, .. lol) … for a minute there I thought your shopping was going to bypass the bakery .. whew glad to see it didn’t…

    • coastingnz says:

      Thanks Rob. No bias at all but I too love Stephen’s photos and love sharing and showing off our beautiful country. Even better still is getting out and exploring it – we are always getting wowed ourselves which is just so cool. You’ll love our latest road trip – away on holiday currently but drives include factoring in the search for the perfect bakery stop……. LOL

  4. joshi daniel says:

    superb mood and beauty 🙂

  5. Gil Zetbase says:

    Excellent pics!
    Have a nice day!
    Photographer Gil Zetbase

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