Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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Purakaunui Beach Loop

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 19 ?

Gnarl Factor: 29 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest



Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +4.4%

Average Downhill Gradient: -8.5%


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Estimated Times to Run







Leaving the carpark turn right and head back along Bay Road long on to the gravel part of the road and follow this until you reach a gateway with Private on it, if you look to the right you will see the trail that heads along the coast, follow this.
This will spit you out on a road just before a causeway across the lagoon, head right and follow the road for the next 5km or so…. Right around the bay and through the forest to the beach.

Take a left at the beach, you can head out onto the peninsula and check out the Pā (needed for an FKT time), otherwise head over the steps onto the next beach and head along it.

After a while you will need your rock hopping skills, it is very achievable, but you just need to take care… especially if they are wet. Once you have negotiated the rocks head along the sand. Enjoy the great wee caves at the point and head all the way along the beach until you see a path up left marked by a post. Head up there and find you way onto the road. The road turns from gravel to seal and about 1km along the road take a left onto White Road (even though it says ‘No Exit’) and head up over the railway line, keep going up until you pass a house on your right. Just on the right around the corner beyond the house you will see the sign for Mopanui Ridgeline Track… over the stile you go and follow this track. A bit of climbing (ok quite a lot) follows… mostly through open trail but in the middle is a lovely bush section. Once through the bush you hit one of those big long straight climbs… keep going until the trail meet the road.

As soon as it does look left and you will see the entry to McKessar Track. Over the stile again and follow the trail all the way down to it entry… then head over the railway line, down the 4WD trail opposite and onto the road. Follow the road down to about 100m from the causeway you crossed earlier… then retrace your steps to the start."

If you are lucky you may see a Sea-lion or penguin while crossing Purakaunui beach.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Parking is easily accessible. Traveling right along Bay Road for approximately 100m, there is a small car park on the left of the road, on the edge of the water.

24 km

30 minutes




While running from Purakaunui Beach to Doctors Point Beach, keep a lookout for an exit to the left which leads you onto Doctors Point Road. This exit is relatively concealed in the long grass on the left of the beach. Also, there is a small section of forest just before you reach the ascent to the highest point. The track is not overly clear, but there are colour tags on the trees to help you.

Generally good.

Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries

There is NO availability of water.

Can be muddy a slippery after rain, but only on the downhill. Requires shoes with good grip.

Best to do at low tide.

Trail Legend


Clare Gunton

has completed Purakaunui Beach Loop twice in the last year.

Learn about Trail Legends.

Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

The out and back to Mapoutahi Pā needs to be done for a valid FKT time. 

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Trail Reviews

Loved this run. One of my wild things favourites. A great mix of native bush, beach, single track

Daniel Parkinson

September 13, 2020

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