Hike the Beaches of Farewell Spit



2.5 miles

Elevation Gain

131.2 ft

Route Type


Added by Scott Hagemann

The Farewell Spit is a 26 km stretch of sandy beaches on the northwestern tip of New Zealand's South Island. But to reach its stunning sea caves and best spots you only need to hike a few kilometers from several car parks located near the town of Puponga. Brimming with wildlife such as fur seals and seabirds, this is a great place to wander for a day or two.

Although the drive seems to be taking you to the end of the earth, reaching the Farewell Spit is just a 2 hour drive north of Nelson, and just an hour past Motueka. The aptly named Farewell Spit Cafe was a good starting point, with a great vista of the sand spit and information on tracks and trails through the park. I spent a whole two days getting lost in the caves and wandering the seemingly endless beaches.

Most points can be reached from any of the three main car parks: Triangle Flat, Cape Farewell, or Wharariki Beach. From each of those places, I hiked anywhere from one to ten kilometers spending time wading through tidal pools and wandering into dark, twisting sea caves.

I camped at Wharariki Holiday Park, which has great grassy sites and full kitchen facilities. At $18 a night it was a bit pricier than I may have wanted, but limited holiday parks in the area made it a good deal. Be warned though, I was awoken by horses in the morning with one nudging my car perhaps enticed by the sight of apples in my front seat. I'm not sure if this is a regular occurrence but they seemed to wander the camp at will.

Some of the highlights of the trip are the dunes of Wharariki Beach and the caves by Cape Farewell, where I stumbled upon several fur seal pups hiding deep in the caverns and watched others playing in the surf. The tracks further inland along the ridges are worth exploring too; don't just spend all your time on the beaches!

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Know for

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area



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