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Cape Foulwind Walk

Home  »  South Island Walks  »  Westport  »  Cape Foulwind Walk – Walk detail

Cape Foulwind is a very easy 7 km walk which will take you around 3 hours. The track is along the coast which can get quite close to the cliffs, with great views out to sea. When captain Cook arrived in 1770 it was so rough he named it Cape Foulwind.

Quick Facts

        • Location: South Island NZ
        • Distance: 7 kms
        • Time needed: 3 Hours
        • Difficulty: Very Easy
        • Wheelchair Access: Yes
        • Route: Double back
        • Elevation: 38m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: Yes
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights


  • Track Quality

    You could not find an easier walk along the coast. The track is covered in sea shells and drains well after heavy rain.

  • Hazards

    The track does get very close to the cliff.

  • Transport


  • Water


  • Driving Instructions


  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    13 Km in to Westport

  • Area & Track History

    Able Tasman arrived here in 1642 and named it Rocky Point. When Captain Cook arrived in 1770 it was so rough he named it Cape Foulwind. The cape was cleared of all its timber to make way of farming around 1864 by the early settlers. Then in 1876 a wooden lighthouse was built on Cape Foulwind to guide the ships up and down the West Coast during the gold rush and timber area. The famous ship to sink on Cape Foulwind was the Rifleman in 1846. In 1883 quarrying started on Cape Foulwind, the 25 ton rocks were railed to Westport to build a breakwater on the Buller river. The last rocks rolled out of the quarry in 1960.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Cape Foulwind Walk

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.

Point 1: Cape Foulwind Car Park

Cape Foulwind Car Park is an easy 12km drive from Westport. There is plenty of parking on a sealed carpark and there is an information board there so you can read up on the history Cape Foulwind.

Point 2: Seal Colony

You will walk past the site of the 1876 Cape Foulwind lighthouse just minutes into the walk. The present lighthouse was built 50 years later. It was so hot the day we were there it was hard to imagine that you can freeze up here in the winter. The walk to the seals was very easy with good views of the coast line. You could see where the train line ran below the cliff but I could not see the rail tunnel running south to Tauranga Bay. The track surface was excellent, if it did rain you would still be walking high and dry. As for the wild life, you can smell the seals before you see them and you will have to watch out where you walk. The Weka were running in and out of the flax bushes as if we were not there.

Point 3: Tauranga Bay

From the Cape Foulwind seal colony it is a short 3 minutes walk to the public toilets and an ice-cream truck. Tauranga Bay is the busiest end of the walk because the tourist buses stop here so mum and dad can walk out to the seals colony with ease. Wheelchair access out to the Foulwind seal Colony is only from Tauranga Bay. It was a hot day when we arrived at Tauranga Bay, we were in no rush to get back on the road so we took off for a beautiful walk along the Tauranga Bay.

All walks in Westport…

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Contact info

Cape Fowlwind Walkway, Cape Foulwind 7892, New Zealand

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