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7 Best Walks at Farewell Spit

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Walking and Hiking trails at Farewell Spit

Explore the magnificent coastline at the top of the South Island on these walks at Farewell Spit. Farewell Spit is one of New Zealand’s most protected areas, providing important wetland habitat for a wealth of New Zealand birds and marine mammals. It’s more protected than a national park, meaning that access to the spit is limited up to a certain point for hikers, which is clearly marked on the spit. Otherwise, there’s much more to discover along this coastline in an area known as the Puponga Farm Park. See the picturesque Wharariki Beach with its Archway Islands, the dramatic coastal cliffs of Cape Farewell and Pillar Point Lighthouse.

Find Farewell Spit at the northwest tip of the South Island in Golden Bay. While you’re here, you might also be interested in 19 Epic Natural Attractions in Golden Bay and 10 Golden Bay Must-Dos.

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1. Fossil Point (30 minutes one way)

See a fascinating piece of the coast before the point where Farewell Spit touches the mainland. From the Triangle Flat car park, walk to Ocean Beach through farmland, coastal forest then left as you walk onto the beach. Here, you’ll find cliffs and fallen blocks of rock with fossilised shells and worms. Look out for seals playing in the area too, but keep your distance.

Location: Triangle Flat car park
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2. Spit Track Circuit (1h30min loop)

Make your time on Farewell Spit a little longer on the Spit Track Circuit. From the Triangle Flat car park, take the entrance to the Inner Beach via the fence/kissing gate. Walk along the Inner Beach until you see a 4WD track which is the Spit Track. Use the Spit Track to cross over the spit and return along Ocean Beach and Triangle Flat.

Location: Triangle Flat car park
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3. Spit Track Circuit via Farewell Spit (3-4-hour loop)

Walk to as far as public access allows on Farewell Spit on the Spit Track Circuit via Farewell Spit. Walk along the Inner Beach (see description above) for around 4km until you reach a marked track crossing the spit to Ocean Beach. Either return to the car park via the 4WD Spit Track or along the Triangle Flat Track for a slightly longer walk.

Location: Triangle Flat car park
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4. Pillar Point Lighthouse (45 minutes one way)

See the Pillar Point Lighthouse at the end of this walks following a 4WD track. The track is also accessible to mountain bikers, graded as an easy trail.

Location: Wharariki Road
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5. Cape Farewell (5 minutes one way)

See the dramatic cliffs and arch on this short walk to a lookout over Cape Farewell. The car park at the end of Cape Farewell Road is easily found signposted just off Wharariki Road. Check out more attractions like this in the area with our 19 Epic Natural Attractions in Golden Bay.

Location: Cape Farewell Road
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6. Wharariki Beach – Archway Islands (20 minutes one way or 1 hour one way)

Walk to the most stunning part of Wharariki Beach, famous for its Archway Islands, caves and wildlife. It’s either a 20-minute walk over farm paddocks and a short section of coastal forest or 1 hour if you go via the Dune and Nikau Lakes. At low tide, you can return to the car park via the Green Hills Track (2 hours one way). Note that it is not safe to swim at the beach. See more beaches worth hiking to in our list of 22 Stunning Beaches in New Zealand.

Location: End of Wharariki Road
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7. Hill Top Walk (3-5 hours one way)

Another way to get to Wharariki Beach is via the Hill Top Walk. Start this track from Cape Farewell Track, which continues over rolling farmland with stunning views over Wharariki Beach.

Location: Cape Farewell Road
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