A seal colony, a lighthouse and panoramic views of mountains and coastline feature on this spectacular coastal walkway. With the beach close by as well it's a good option for children.
Cape Foulwind is a prominent headland on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, overlooking the Tasman Sea. It is located 16 kilometres west of the town of Westport.
It was previously named Rocky Cape by Abel Tasman, the first European to visit it, in 1642. In 1770 it was named Cape Foulwind by Captain James Cook after his vessel was blown off course by the prevailing westerly winds.
- New Zealand fur seal/kekeno breeding colony
- Panoramic views of mountains and coastline
- Cape Foulwind lighthouse
- 3.4 km one way
- Fitness required: Low to moderate
- Gradient: Flat and undulating
- 1 hr 15 min one way Easiest: Short walk
Easy: Walking track
The busiest time for fur seals is November to February.
Shorter option: Tauranga Bay carpark to seal colony viewpoint
- Time: 15 min
- Distance: 500 m
Cape Foulwind short walk takes you from Tauranga Bay along a rocky headland to a viewpoint overlooking a New Zealand fur seal breeding colony.
Panels along the track tell stories of Māori history, sea voyages and early explorers.
Longer option: Seal colony viewpoint to Cape Foulwind lighthouse
- Time: 1 hr
- Distance: 2.9 km
From the seal colony, a longer walking track leads to Cape Foulwind lighthouse.
Return the same way or arrange transport from Cape Foulwind car park.
The nearest town is Westport (16 km).
To get to Tauranga Bay, follow SH67A Cape Foulwind Road for approximately 11 km and turn left onto Tauranga Bay Road and follow for another 5 km. When you get to the Tauranga Bay Stop Sign, turn right and follow the road until you reach the Seal Colony Carpark.
The longer option can also be accessed from the Cape Foulwind lighthouse car park (northern end).
What to expect:
- Elevation change: +/- 70 m
- Rapidly changing weather – this is a coastal walk.
- Significant fall hazards along walkway, keep to the track and keep children nearby.
- Be prepared
- Ensure you take waterproof and windproof jacket, hat and gloves.