Dune Lake Walk

Dune Lake Walk - Ship Creek

Dune Lake Walk

Ship Creek



3 Rankers Reviews

2 Face-to-Face

12 Walking

1 Haast

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

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!



One of the best places to experience a wild West Coast beach


1 km return | 30 minutes return

Forest dunes by a windy West Coast beach. This is an introduction to the vast Haast coastal dune system.

It opens out to provide magnificent photo opportunities from platforms overlooking the dune lake to the sweep of coastline south-west to Jackson Head.


Ship Creek is well signposted 20 km north of Haast on SH6. There’s a large parking area with toilets.


From the carpark a short section passes interpretation on the Marine Reserve and then forks to form the loop.

Entering the dune forest, the track passes a viewpoint over the raupo fringed lake.

There is a 3-way junction. All roads lead home. Another viewpoint commands a view straight down the beach and dune series.

Return to the carpark either via the beach or track.


The dune systems of Haast are among the finest in the world. In most places fancy coastal property has obliterated the dune profiles. The dune systems are like solidified waves and here they are preserved.

Pedologists have studied the soil profiles, from the newest dunes near the coast, to the oldest at the toes of the hills - a sequence of over 6,500 years. Each parallel ridge represents an ancient shoreline. As debris transported by the rivers is dumped at the coast, it is mechanically ground up by wave, water and wind. Persistent westerlies then blow the light sediment inland, where it collects in waves and is consolidated by vegetation. As the plant material dies and decays, it forms embryonic soils, which deepen in a positive feedback loop. Over time, the prodigious rainfall leaches nutrients out of the soil. The rainforest can live with it, but grasses for farming can’t. That’s part of the reason this forest is still intact.


Feature Value Info


South IslandWest CoastHaast


  • Walking
  • Free


Simon Nienhaus's avatar

Simon Nienhaus


Ranking: 10/10

Very nice lookout over the bay.

Reviewed about 3 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Conservation Campsite Pass

Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 78 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.

Get the Pass

Gail Hunter's avatar

Gail Hunter

Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful, interesting couple of walks here. One through cool swampy forest and the other over the beach. Lots of information points, we learnt loads about the history of this area. Spent about 2-3 hours wandering around this unique spot.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Top Ranked NZ Deals Pass

Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.

Get deals pass

Carole Carter's avatar

Carole Carter

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Beautiful beach, dune lake, short walking track, rainforest background, lovely place to stretch legs after driving over Haast Pass.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in March 2012

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