The 20-metre-high rock is a remnant of a huge sheet of limestone that covered the region 50-60 million years ago. The sheet has since been lifted and tilted to expose a spear-head shaped rock that punctures the beach like a shard of glass. The brilliant white of the structure contrasts markedly with the black of the beach.
The unsealed road to White Rock follows the wide river valley of the Opouawe River and is a scenic drive regardless of the destination. From Martinborough, follow White Rock Road for 1.8 km and turn left in to Blackridge Road. Follow it 31 km to Tuturumuri and keep right at the junction to Tora. White Rock is an isolated beach 24 km further. Access is from the reserve at White Rock (the rock).
From the parking area walk to the base of the rock over the beach. Be aware of the large foaming waves that can ride well up the shore. Around high tide or in large swells, it is best to watch the waves for a few minutes first to see how high they are coming up the beach. The odd rogue one can reach much higher than its predecessors. Stay safe. If one of these waves gets you, it is all over.
Traces of fossils are preserved in the rock but be careful exploring its vicinity as the waves can be unpredictable.
White Rock is known by surfers as having some of the biggest waves in New Zealand. You can watch the boardriders at various reefs along the beach and marvel at the huge waves that crash onto the shore in violent explosions of foam.
To the south, Mount Ross (981 metres) tops the Haurangi Range, which dominates the skyline. Dramatic grey cliffs covered with regenerating forest are occasionally scarred by rockfalls and slips. Inland, clumps of rushes battle the wind that sweeps through the gullies of the pastures.
North Island ▷ Wairarapa ▷ Martinborough
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Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍