Trail Info

Trail type: Walking
Direction: One way

Walking Duration: 3 hrs
Times given are for walking the tracks one way only.
Distance: 5.85 km

Fitness: Intermediate
Cycling Grade: 3

Dog Friendly: Unknown

End of Pukekawa Road (from the North) or McAuslin Road at Sandy Bay (from the South)
-35.5337, 174.4644 - view map

The Whananaki Coastal Walkway is one of the longer walks in the district with unspoilt coastal scenery and a monument in memory of the freighter Capitaine Bougainville which caught fire and sank off this coast in September 1975.

It was carrying meat and dairy products to Sydney with 29 crew and 8 passengers on board. 16 people died in the mountainous waves and cold, as lifeboats capsized.

The survivors came ashore on the Whananaki South beach and the monument names those who were lost.

The monument is about 2 kms south of Whananaki South and is only accessible by foot.

What to expect

  • fantastic coastal scenery, remote and exposed
  • fairly good walking surfaces but grades and length make this a walk for people with a reasonable level of fitness
  • the beach part of the track is accessible at low tide only
  • gates are locked along this walkway. Stiles are available to cross fences. 

From the south

Limited parking is available on McAuslin Road at Sandy Bay. Please park respectfully.

The walk follows an easy grade metal track for the first 3.5 km, then it becomes a grass surface.

At the pine plantation, the Bougainville Memorial Walkway is signposted off to the right. A grass path winds through the trees for 1 km to the monument. 

At low tide, it is possible to continue along the path (with a slight scramble down the rocks onto the beach below) and join Pukekawa Road and the Whananaki Coastal Walkway, 630 metres to the north.

From the north

Car parking is available for vehicles with good ground clearance at Whananaki South at the end of Pukekawa Road.

The Whananaki Coastal Walkway rises up on the right and is a grass track at this point. At the pine plantation, the track to the Bougainville Memorial is signposted off to the left.

An alternative route to reach the Bougainville Memorial (at low tide only) is to walk along the beach for a short distance then up the rocks marked by an orange waymarker post, through the pine plantation to the monument above.

Dress to allow for rapid changes in the weather and good footwear is recommended.

How to get to Sandy Bay

Take the route north from Whangarei through the settlements of Tikipunga, Glenbervie, Ngunguru, Tutukaka, Matapouri and Woolleys Bay.

Sandy Bay is the next bay and the last settlement on the coast before the road turns inland. McAuslin Road is signposted off to the right at the point where the road curves to the left.

How to get to Whananaki South

Take State Highway 1 north from Whangarei. Follow the highway for approximately 16 km and turn right into Whananaki North Road (signposted Opuawhanga / Whananaki). 

After approximately 8 km, turn right onto Hailes Road and follow the road into the settlement of Whananaki South.

Credit photo to Denise & John Farr - NZMCA Members

Credit Content to Whangarei District Council

View official site

0 Reviews

Completed this trail? - rate it now

No reviews for this article yet.

Rate this trail

Please login to review this trail.

User Photos

No photos uploaded yet

Upload photos of this trail

Please login to upload photos.


End of Pukekawa Road (from the North) or McAuslin Road at Sandy Bay (from the South), -35.5337, 174.4644