This walkway uses the Kapuni to Auckland gas pipeline route for 11 km. The laying of the pipeline involved an immense amount of heavy construction work. These operations opened up walking access to the dramatic forest and coastal country of the region. The entire walkway is across private land.
The northern section to Tongaporutu is closed. The northern end of the walkway between the stock tunnel and Clifton Road at Tongaporutu is closed. There is no access to the walkway from Tongaporutu.
There are three walking options along the Whitecliffs Walkway:
Pukearuhe to Wai Pingao Stream, returning to Pukearuhe via the beach (low tide only)
- Distance: 6.5 km loop
- Time: 3–4 hr
The walkway crosses open farmland to Mt Davidson, where it enters Ngati Tama land. It then follows the pipeline route along the ridge tops before descending to the Wai Pingao Stream.
Here you can divert from the main track and return to Pukearuhe by following the stream to the coast and walking south along the beach.
Beach section hazards
You can only walk along the beach at low tide (between Wai Pingao Stream mouth and Pukearuhe). Do not attempt unless you can reach Pukearuhe while the tide is still on its way out. Check the tide timetable before you go (external site).
Due to changing sand conditions, the beach section may not be passable even at low tide. Be prepared to turn back.
There is a large active cliff slip just south of the Wai Pingao Stream. Beware of falling rocks and take extreme caution.
Pukearuhe to Mt Messenger
- Distance: 11 km one way
- Time: 6–7 hr
Continue on the walkway across the Wai Pingao Stream bridge before climbing to the Parininihi Ridge high point and descending to the junction with the Mt Messenger Track.
Turn right to climb toward the summit of Mt Messenger before descending to the track exit at SH3.
Pukearuhe to the stock tunnel
- Distance: 11 km one way (22 km return same way)
- Time: 3–4 hr
Follow the walkway along the cliff tops to the historic stock tunnel. Cattle used to be brought along the beach to here at Tongaporutu on their way north.
Here the track ends and you must return the same way. It is not safe to go through the tunnel as it is collapsing.
Whitecliffs Walkway begins at the Pukearuhe boat ramp at the end of Pukearuhe Road, north of Urenui. Make sure you park to allow access to the boat ramp and farm property.
You can not start from the Tongaporutu end as the northern section of the track is closed.
Know before you go
- Be prepared for changes in the weather.
- Take warm clothes, including hats and gloves and waterproof raincoats.
- Respect private land, use the stiles, and keep to the track.
Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process (external site) on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.
Source: Department of Conservation (Banner and Hero image: 'B;ack sands stream' by Brian Stocks / Creative Commons)