Cape Foulwind Walkway

Cape Foulwind Walkway


84 Rankers Reviews

77 Face-to-Face

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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


Showing 13 reviews of 73.

Emma Millett's avatar

Emma Millett

New Zealand

Ranking: 8/10

Good track and carpark.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Becky Fox's avatar

Becky Fox


Ranking: 8/10

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

Reviewed almost 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Anna's avatar



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 about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Daphne Andrey's avatar

Daphne Andrey


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 about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

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Alicia Speisekorn-Gil's avatar

Alicia Speisekorn-Gil


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 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Rocco's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful for me, especially the seals in the nature.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Sylvain Blanchet's avatar

Sylvain Blanchet


Ranking: 8/10

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

Reviewed about 6 years ago

Ronja and Lena's avatar

Ronja and Lena


Ranking: 8/10

Very nice.

Reviewed over 6 years ago and experienced in December 2015

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Max Backelandt's avatar

Max Backelandt


Ranking: 9/10

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

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Marion Busch's avatar

Marion Busch


Ranking: 9/10

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

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in February 2014

Brian Lexmond's avatar

Brian Lexmond


Ranking: 6/10

Expected more seals but the walk was nice.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Julian Kuemme's avatar

Julian Kuemme


Ranking: 9/10

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

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Johanna Kofler's avatar

Johanna Kofler


Ranking: 8/10

Nice little track with cute little seals to see.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in February 2014

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