A West Coast

The Kawatiri Coastal Trail is a Grade 2, family friendly cycling and walking heritage trail and will connect the Buller District towns of Westport and Charleston.


This extraordinary West Coast adventure journeys between the mountains to the east and the coastline to the west, with views towards the majestic Paparoa Mountain Range.

Diverse landscapes combine to create a memorable journey comprising of eight gentle sections, with multiple access points, the trail is manageable for riders to fully complete, at each turn revealing unrivalled and ever-changing coastlines.

The breathtaking route meanders an enviable mix of rugged cliffs, crashing seas, wildlife, forest, suspension bridges, boardwalks, pristine wetlands, shelters and interpretive signage brimming with remarkable stories and local secrets.  With views from mountains to sea, the trail traverses highlights such as Carters Beach, Cape Foulwind, Tauranga Bay, Ōkari, Tōtara and Charleston.

The Kawatiri Coastal Trail is under construction and is opening in stages. Currently there are five consecutive sections open from Westport to Virgin Flat Road, and also the Waitakere Section in Charleston. A map of the current trail can be found here.

Trail Sections

Explore The Kawatiri Coastal Trail


Section 1
5.5 km

Westport – Carters Beach



Section 2
7.5 km

Carters Beach – Cape Foulwind



Section 3
3.5 km

Cape Foulwind – Tauranga Bay



Section 4
5.5 km

Tauranga Bay – Ōkari Lagoon



Section 5
6.5 km

Ōkari Lagoon – Virgin Flat Road



Section 6

Virgin Flat Road – Tōtara River

Under construction


Section 7

Tōtara River – Nile River



Section 8
1 km

Nile River – Charleston


The area’s unique geology, diverse ecology, extensive Māori and European history and vast seascapes make this one of New Zealand’s finest day or multi-day rides.

Following a dedicated cycle path between Westport and Charleston, the awe-inspiring heritage trail offers riders an invigorating experience along a truly spectacular coastline. Along a wide, smooth path through podocarp forest, nikau palms and expansive beaches, riders journey back in time to the days of Māori Pounamu gatherers and the glittering gold rush era.

Once complete all sections of trail can be ridden in either direction, with the option to slow down the pace and split into shorter rides, taking in major highlights along the way.


Tales from the Trail

6km Ōkari section now open

6km Ōkari section now open

Featuring the Ōkari lagoon, river and forest areas, this diverse section of the Kawatiri Coastal Trail is one of the most spectacular. The undulating section of trail is mostly grade 2 (easy) with some short areas of steeper grade 3 included. The trail dissects...

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Westreef – Our Trail Builders

Westreef – Our Trail Builders

Over the last three years, the Kawatiri Coastal Trail has been extremely fortunate to have a team of multi-skilled trail constructors from Westreef building the trail. The Westreef team, led by Project Manager Jim McIlraith provide not only their expertise and...

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Protecting our Native Taonga

Protecting our Native Taonga

In 2022, volunteer Peter Coburn began the initial predator control efforts along the Kawatiri Coastal Trail by installing his own personal traps in the boardwalk area of the Pūwaha section of the KCT. Since then, the KCT team, with assistance from some experienced...

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