Kawatiri Coastal Trail | Te Huarahi Takutai o Kawatiri

What level of fitness or skill is required for the Trail?

The Kawatiri Coastal Trail is Grade 2 (Easy) and therefore suitable for all fitness levels. The Trail surface is mainly gravel, and it is predominantly wide, smooth and flat, with a few gentle gradients. We recommend riders view maps of the Sections they are intending to ride. The Trail will be 50 km once complete, with each Section ranging from 2 km to 10 km.

Which Sections of the Trail are currently Open?

The Kawatiri Coastal Trail is under construction and will open in stages. The full 50 km Trail is due for completion mid 2023. Currently the Pūwaha, Omau and Waitakere Sections are fully Open. The Kawau and Tauranga Sections are partially Open. More information can be found on the Trail Section Pages.

How does the traffic lights (COVID-19 Protection Framework) affect the Trail?

The traffic lights (COVID-19 Protection Framework) protect Aotearoa New Zealand from COVID-19. For the Sections of Trail that are currently open, there will be no restrictions of use. You can find more information about what is expected of Trail users at Green, Orange and Red settings here.

How long does it take to cycle the Trail?

The Kawatiri Coastal Trail will be 50 km once complete. The Trail comprises of 9 Sections, each differing in length from 2 km to 10 km. The Trail can be ridden in its entirety or split into Sections. Approximately 30 minutes of cycling equates to covering about 15 km at an average speed of about 30 km/h. Most riders could complete the Trail in one day. However we recommend slowing down the pace and riding across 2-3 days, making the most of the variety of experiences along the way. Accommodation providers partnered with the Trail will shortly be listed on the Trail website. All options for overnight stays can be found via Westport i-SITE.

How much does it cost to ride the Trail?

There is no charge to ride the Kawatiri Coastal Trail, however if you wish to make a contribution to the on-going maintenance of the Trail, you can donate via our Givealittle Page

Are there maps available for the Trail?

Download the Map or pop into the Westport i-SITE. The Trail is well signposted to help you find your way. Once GPS Mapping is complete, individual Section maps will be available for download on each of the Trail Pages

What is the address / location for each Section Trail Head?

Comprehensive Trail Head locations will be available here once GPS Mapping is complete. In the interim Trail users should note the following start / end location points.

Pūwaha Section:  Buller Bridge Carpark (The Esplanade) – Carters Beach Domain (Marine Parade)

Kawau Section: Carters Beach Domain (Marine Parade) – Cape Foulwind (Lighthouse Road)

Omau Section:  Lighthouse Road Carpark (Cape Foulwind) – Seal Colony Carpark (Tauranga Bay)

Tauranga Section: Seal Colony Carpark (Tauranga Bay) – Ōkari Lagoon (Ōkari Road)

Ōkari Section: Ōkari Lagoon (Ōkari Road) – Virgin Flat Road

Tōtara Section: Virgin Flat Road – Hands Road (Charleston)

Rahui Section: Hands Road (Charleston) – Nile River suspension bridge (Beach Road)

Waitakere Section: Nile River suspension bridge – Rotten Row (Charleston)

Tauhinu Section: Rotten Row (Charleston) – SH6 (4 Mile Road)

What should I carry with me on the Kawatiri Coastal Trail?

Carry warm clothing and a rain jacket in case there are changes to the weather. Pack water, snacks and a picnic. There are some places to stop for food and drink at the businesses and towns along the trail. It’s advisable to carry basic bike repair tools, an appropriate means of communication such as a mobile phone, and a first aid kit.

Do I need a mountain bike?

Due to the gravel surface of the Kawatiri Coastal Trail, it is advisable to use a mountain bike or comfort/hybrid bike. The Trail is suitable for everything from children’s bikes and uprights, to touring bikes, mountain bikes and e-bikes. We recommend all cyclists wear a helmet for safety purposes. Bikes and equipment are available to hire from local service providers which you can contact direct or through the Westport i-SITE.

Can I walk the Trail?
The Kawatiri Coastal Trail is suitable for cyclists, walkers and runners. We advise users to be aware and considerate of others on the Trail.
What weather can I expect on the Kawatiri Coastal Trail?

The Kawatiri Coastal Trail is sheltered by the Paparoa Range, making the Trail a good all-year-round ride or walk. With some of the highest sunshine hours, temperatures average 20 ̊ C in the Summer months, and 13 ̊ C across Winter. 

The best months to ride the Trail are from November to July, with the most rainfall in September and October. Check the weather before leaving, carry warm clothes, a rain jacket, and sunblock is essential in summer.

Is there mobile phone coverage on the Trail?

Mobile phone coverage is generally good on the Pūwaha, Totara, Rahui, and Waitakere Sections. However it can be patchy on Kawau around Cape Foulwind, Omau, and Ōkari. Reception is poor along Tauranga, and limited along Tauhinu.

Are there toilet facilities on the Trail?

Yes there are public toilets dotted along the Trail. At this stage there are facilities at the Buller Bridge Trail Head and Carters Beach. Packing your own tissues and hand sanitiser is a good idea.

Can I camp along the Trail?

No, camping is not allowed on the Kawatiri Coastal Trail.  A range of accommodation can be found along the Trail in Westport, Carters Beach, Cape Foulwind, Charleston, the surrounding countryside and popular nearby destinations such as Punakaiki, Reefton and Karamea. Accommodation providers partnered with the Trail will shortly be listed on the Trail website.

Can I get lost on the Trail?

The Kawatiri Coastal Trail is well signposted and users are never far from a road or town. So as long as you stick to the Trail it’s unlikely you would get lost.

Are there things to see and do along the Trail?

Yes, each Section of the Trail has its own unique offerings with plenty of opportunities to step off the track and explore. You can visit the Westport i-SITE for advice before setting off, or look at the Regional Highlights on this website. You can also take a look at the Blog where you’ll find ride suggestions and itineraries for different interests.

Is there transport available to get me to and from my vehicle?

Bike hire, shuttles and luggage transfers will become available from operators based on and around the Trail, with Westport and Charleston the major hubs. Whilst casual bike hire is usually easy to arrange on the spot, it pays to book in advance during the peak season (December to March). It’s essential to book shuttles in advance, either through the Westport i-SITE or with the service provider themselves. Please note there is a cost involved for these services.

Is there secure parking available on the Trail?

There are no secure parking options available at this time. Parking in the area is generally safe. Visitors to the Trail should consider leaving their vehicle in an appropriate car park, with any valuable items out of sight.

Are Dogs permitted on the Kawatiri Coastal Trail?

No, Dogs are not permitted on any Section of the Kawatiri Coastal Trail, except where the Trail intersects the urban areas of Westport, Carters Beach and Charleston. This is due to the wildlife reserve, farmland and private land which the Trail traverses.

Are Horses permitted on the Kawatiri Coastal Trail?
No, Horses are not permitted on any Section of the Kawatiri Coastal Trail. This is due to the wildlife reserve, farmland and private land which the Trail traverses.
Are motor bikes, e-bikes or scooters permitted on the Kawatiri Coastal Trail?
Motor bikes are not permitted. This includes any e-bike or scooter larger than 300Watts (300W).
Who do I call if I have an accident?

If you have an accident that is a medical emergency call 111. You can use your phone to locate a GPS position to help services find you. If possible, we recommend you carry a personal locator beacon to help services find you on the 50 km network (once complete).  We will be installing km markers that will assist in locating you, when the Trail is completed. If you require a shuttle to help get you or your group back to your accommodation, please contact one of the shuttle providers direct or through Westport i-SITE.

What if my bike breaks down or has a puncture?

We recommend all Trail users carry a basic puncture repair kit. Local bicycle repair shops, transport and shuttle services can be found via Westport i-SITE.

Who do I contact if I come across an issue on the Trail? For example a fallen tree, flooding, damaged trail surface, vandalism, or a similar event which may impact on the experience or safety of other Trail users?

We are grateful to receive information and updates of any nature from our Trail users. You can complete a report and upload an image using the form on the Contact page of the website. Alternatively you can send us a Private Message via Facebook or Messenger.

How do I make a donation to the Trail?

You can make a donation via the Kawatiri Coastal Trail Givealittle Page. Every donation however small is a much needed contribution to the on-going maintenance costs, and helps us take the Trail from good to great.