Cape Foulwind Walkway

Cape Foulwind Walkway

Tauranga Bay to Seal Colony


11 Rankers Reviews

9 Face-to-Face

5 Westport

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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800 m return | 20 minutes return

One of the best places to observe a fur seal colony - live. Want to know how pups learn to swim? Or land on the rocky shores? How do males stake out their territories? This is a natural history programme / soap opera - but for real.


From Westport head 12 km south on SH6 past the cement factory. 4 km after crossing the quarry road, the road leads to Tauranga Bay. Turn right at the signpost along Coast Road to the large parking area with toilets and picnic tables.


The well-formed track skirts the headland with viewpoints over Tauranga Bay and then the seal colony. There’s a huge wooden viewing platform above the action.

Return via the same track.

The walkway continues another 1 hour to Cape Foulwind.


Seals are known as pinnipeds (wing footed) because of the webbed flippers instead of paws or feet. Streamlined bodies and blubber keep them warm (hence their hunting for fur). Their ears, nose flaps close when diving. They feed on squid, octopus and hoki.

This is a permanent colony. Males arrive in November and December to stake out territories. This is a battlesome affair, with huge chunks of blubber being removed from their thick skins by sharp teeth. Darwin all the way. Females who occupy their domain are theirs for the taking. The poor females have only recently given birth to last year’s pups and receive the males, who impregnate as many as possible during the breeding season. They then leave, kick back for the rest of the year and go fishing. Females then nurture their young, suckling and conducting courses in swimming. Nurseries of pups are often witnessed trying to avoid being pulverised on the rocks by the crashing breakers. Once weaned, they must then avoid being eaten by orca or sharks and the cycle repeats again.

European History

The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman passed here in 1642 and named it Rocky Cape.

Captain Cook gave it the welcoming name used today.


Famed New Zealand poet, James K. Baxter, likened the seals to boulders on the boulders.


Feature Value Info


DOC West Coast

Central government organisation


South IslandWest CoastWestport


  • Walking
  • Free


Thomas and Sonja's avatar

Thomas and Sonja


Ranking: 9/10

Nice walk, saw some seals on the rocks as well as in the sea, enjoyed the walk without many other tourists.

Reviewed over 4 years ago and experienced in March 2017

Holloway's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Very good. Wish we had time to walk further.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in February 2017

Chris's avatar


New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

Great walk, this was one of the best parts of our trip. Seeing seals in their natural environment was really special.

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Constantin Goldberg's avatar

Constantin Goldberg


Ranking: 9/10

It was an amazing moment to see the seals in their nature area. I did love to see that.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Jean-Pierre Guillon's avatar

Jean-Pierre Guillon


Ranking: 10/10

Amazing to be able to observe the seals in the Bay, peace and liberty surrounded by a beautiful landscape. Bring some binoculars for a closer look! But a camera zoom is good too.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in March 2016

S Black's avatar

S Black


Ranking: 10/10

Although the seals aren't super close, they are delightful and free. We saw plenty of pups playing together in a rock pool and generally being silly, slipping around and play fighting. We even saw a mother feeding her baby on a warm rock. The walk was easy and informative.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Helene Andersen's avatar

Helene Andersen


Ranking: 8/10

We saw a seal colony - it was fun and you could easily see them!

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in March 2014

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Tiit Pullerits's avatar

Tiit Pullerits


Ranking: 10/10

We had the chance to see the seal colony, which included many baby seals frolicking around. Many helpful information boards along the way.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in February 2014

Sarah Christman's avatar

Sarah Christman

United States

Ranking: 8/10

Little walk out to the point to see seals!!

Reviewed about 8 years ago and experienced in February 2014

Danyelle Miller's avatar

Danyelle Miller


Ranking: 9/10

Lots of seals!! And little pups (we were there in January). Easy access.

Reviewed about 8 years ago and experienced in January 2014

Oliver Kalmbach's avatar

Oliver Kalmbach


Ranking: 9/10

Many seals swimming in the Tasman Sea.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

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 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner