Ōkārito — a tiny coastal settlement north of Franz Josef — is a wilderness gem with coastal wetlands and a wild beach surrounded by rainforest, and glorious views of the snowy peaks of New Zealand’s highest mountains.
The Ōkārito Lagoon is a significant unmodified wetland, a watery wonderland and haven for an incredible 76 recorded species of native birds including the kōtuku/white heron, royal spoonbills and the rare Ōkārito rowi kiwi.
Boardwalk over wetlands, bush walk, spectacular coastal and alpine views The Ōkārito Trig Walk is a gentle well-graded uphill track that leads to a 360-degree viewpoint with breath-taking views of Westland Tai Poutini National Park, snow-capped Southern Alps, forest, lagoons and beaches. There is signage to help visitors identify the mountains, flora and fauna.
Boardwalk across estuary, native bush walk This short Ōkārito Wetland Walk follows a well-formed path and a curving boardwalk over the wetlands to a viewpoint overlooking the estuary — home to a huge variety of birdlife.
Swamp, forest of kamahi and rimu, alpine, glacier, coastal views
Wetland boardwalk, coastal forest, sheltered estuary Beginning with the boardwalk on the Ōkārito Wetland Walk, the track continues through wind-shorn coastal forest (rimu, rata, silver pine) before dropping down to Three Mile Lagoon - a sheltered estuary fringed with rimu forest. A bridge crosses the lagoon but there is no track beyond that. Note: Walking along the beach to or from the Three Mile Lagoon is only recommended within one hour each side of low tide. Check tide times at the car park.