Monkey Bay Walk

Monkey Bay Walk

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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400 m return | 10 minutes return

The views from the lookout lead all the way down the shingle beach to the Inland Kaikouras. On a clear day you can see the North Island.


At Tuamarina, 9 km north of Blenheim and 20 km south of Picton, turn into Hunter Road (Rarangi signposted). Follow this 10 km through the settlement to the parking area at the road end. The start of the track is signposted from the carpark. There’s a DoC campground and toilet behind the beach.


Steps lead up to the lookout over Cloudy Bay and Cape Campbell, with a strategically placed bench to perch up on. An elegant rock wall lines the track. It’s a short descent to Monkey Bay.

To the left of the steps at the start of the track is a short detour to a cave which enters around 50 metres into the cliff face. Bring a torch.


The sea caves were formed by the incessant pounding of ocean waves into the cleavage of the rock when sea levels were higher. As the sea retreated it left the caves abandoned higher up the cliffs.

Polynesian History

Extensive Maori remains, dated at over 400 years old, include stonewall gardens and middens. To Maori the caves were known as Te Ana Rangomai Papa and were though to be the lair of a taniwha who had eaten the local chief Tokomaru’s daughter. The taniwha was later slaughtered, so there’s no need to be concerned the same fate will happen to you.

European History

The cave to the left of the steps was known as ‘Daddy Watson’s Cave’ after an early bach owner in the 1920s who commenced rather ambitious excavations. He entertained the possibility of tunnelling to Whites Bay.

Rarangi and Monkey Bay were first opened up to visitors from the 1920s when the track from Blenheim became navigable by horses. It was a popular picnic spot and the first baches sprang up.


Feature Value Info


South IslandMarlboroughBlenheim


  • Walking
  • Free


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DOC Managed

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 😍

Nick Morrison's avatar

Nick Morrison

Rankers owner