Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Waikouaiti Beach & Lagoon

Palmerston, Otago

Submitted by Richele McKenzie

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 7

Gnarl Factor: 34








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe

Out and Back

Totally/mostly flat

Plantation/exotic forest




Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +0.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -0.7%


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Estimated Times to Run







This is a short run exploring the lagoon and spotting birdlife.

Starting from the carpark, head onto the beach and run north for approx 900m, then turn into the sandy inlet for the lagoon. Soon you will see a track through the pines on the left. Follow a short distance until you come to a DOC sign for Hawksbury Lagoon Wildlife Refuge. Continue along the causeway, running three small "out and backs" before returning along the beach to the start. Two of these are along the causeway and the third is over a small bridge and along a small lakeside track (turn around at the farm stile). This gives you the chance to read all the information boards and spot many different water birds. Watch for horses (and sea lions) when returning along the beach.

Hawksbury Lagoon - wildlife refuge.

Waikouaiti Beach - horses are trained along the beach at low tide. And if you're really lucky you'll see a sea lion.

Plenty of parking in the carpark.

16 km

14 minutes




Generally good.

Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Cellphone, Map.

Unknown. Public toilet at the nearby sports ground (unsure of opening times). There is a smaller cafe on Beach street. There are shops, cafes and a public toilet on the main road at Waikouaiti.

Can get very windy. Take care during stormy weather.
Swans and gulls in the lagoon may get a bit angry during nesting season.

Watch for horses along the beach.
Occasionally sea lions sunbathe on the beach - they can be well camouflaged!
Take care at high tide.

The Outpost
Main Road, Waikouaiti
Lovely coffee. Good range of Gluten Free and Vegetarian options.

Trail Legend

Jeremy Wheeler

Jeremy Wheeler

has completed Waikouaiti Beach & Lagoon once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

The little track heading east from the lagoon is currently very overgrown with signs warning of tree fall. I managed to spot two different Kōtuku species this time, including Kōtuku ngutupapa (Royal Spoonbill). No sea lions though.

Richele McKenzie

February 9, 2023

N8ce little trail with a mix of track surfaces. Heaps of birds to look at in the lagoon and watch out for seals on the beach.

Kirstine Collins

September 7, 2021

What a delight! Awesome for bird watchers. The beach is terrific too.

Isobel Stout

April 9, 2021

Easy flat track with nice beach run to start & finish. Heaps of sea birds nesting in the lagoon.

John OConnell

December 11, 2020

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