Cape Foulwind Walkway

Cape Foulwind Walkway

88%

Details

84 Rankers Reviews

77 Face-to-Face

285 Walking

11 Westport

Maps

Photos

Cliffs at Cape Foulwind
Sleeping fur seals - Cape Foulwind
Lighthouse at Cape Foulwind

Information

3.4 km one-way | 1 hour 15 minutes one-way

Fine coastal views along this exposed coastline are complemented with a lighthouse and fur seal colony.

Timing

This is an exposed hilltop coast. Best make sure you are protected in wind and rain.

Access

From Westport head 12 km south on SH6 past the cement factory, then head right before the railway line along Lighthouse Road to the parking area and toilet.

For Tauranga Bay and the seal colony, continue along SH6 a further 4 km to Tauranga Bay. Turn right at the signpost along Coast Road to the large parking area with toilets and picnic tables.

Track

Most start from the Tauranga Bay carpark, as this is closest to the seal colony. The well-formed track skirts the headland with viewpoints over Wall Island and then the seal colony.

Continue along the metalled track climbing to the cliff top with views over the Tasman Sea. Pass the Astrolabe Viewpoint and the old quarry viewpoint to the lighthouse.

From here it is 15 minutes to the carpark, or return via the same track.

Fauna

Seals are known as pinnipeds (wing footed) because of their webbed flippers instead of paws or feet. Streamlined bodies and blubber keep them warm. Their ears and nose flaps close when diving. Their preferred diet is squid, octopus and hoki.

This is a permanent colony. Males arrive in November and December to stake out territories. This can be a battlesome affair, with huge chunks of blubber being removed from their thick skins by sharp teeth. It’s 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.

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.

The Cape Foulwind lighthouse is 9 metres high concrete tower. It was first lit in 1876 and automated in 1926.

Feature

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

Details

Feature Value Info

Location

South IslandWest CoastWestport

Categories

  • Walking
  • Free

Contact

Reviews

Showing 13 reviews of 73.

Emma Millett's avatar

Emma Millett

New Zealand

Ranking: 8/10

Good track and carpark.

Reviewed about 2 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Becky Fox's avatar

Becky Fox

England

Ranking: 8/10

Seal colony walk is nice, fairly hard walk, good cafe there, clean facilities.

Reviewed about 2 years ago and experienced in January 2017

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Anna's avatar

Anna

Ireland

Ranking: 9/10

Peaceful walk to the lighthouse. Keep going to reach the seal colony. Saw around 30 seals playing and sleeping on the rocks. A fun place to stop and see these lovely animals.

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Daphne Andrey's avatar

Daphne Andrey

Switzerland

Ranking: 8/10

We walked to the seal colony and further to the Lighthouse in Westport. A nice 1.5 hour walk, it is free but bring water!

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in November 2016

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Alicia Speisekorn-Gil's avatar

Alicia Speisekorn-Gil

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

It is a little place on the West Coast of the South Island. On the Cape you have the possibility to see a wildlife seal colony. The Cape also offers a great cliff and a beautiful lighthouse you can visit.

Reviewed over 2 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Rocco's avatar

Rocco

Germany

Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful for me, especially the seals in the nature.

Reviewed almost 3 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Sylvain Blanchet's avatar

Sylvain Blanchet

France

Ranking: 8/10

15 minute walk along the seaside. The question is, how did some men build this monument?

Reviewed over 3 years ago

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Ronja and Lena's avatar

Ronja and Lena

Germany

Ranking: 8/10

Very nice.

Reviewed over 3 years ago and experienced in December 2015

Max Backelandt's avatar

Max Backelandt

France

Ranking: 9/10

Enjoy the track along the cliff up to a seal colony. Lots of explanation about Maori history.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Marion Busch's avatar

Marion Busch

Estonia

Ranking: 9/10

Well maintained track, had seals as promised. Super happy with that! Track had also very good information boards. Easy walk.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in February 2014

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Brian Lexmond's avatar

Brian Lexmond

Netherlands

Ranking: 6/10

Expected more seals but the walk was nice.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Julian Kuemme's avatar

Julian Kuemme

Germany

Ranking: 9/10

See some seals from the lookout on the rocks below. Round track to the lighhouse.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Johanna Kofler's avatar

Johanna Kofler

Germany

Ranking: 8/10

Nice little track with cute little seals to see.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in February 2014

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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 😍

Nick Morrison's avatar

Nick Morrison

Rankers owner