Last Updated: 2nd Feb 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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White Cliffs

New Plymouth, Taranaki

Submitted by Aaron Wilks

Last Updated: 2nd Feb 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Notice More info

Grunt Factor: 40 ?

Gnarl Factor: 53 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush



Open farmlands

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +10.2%

Average Downhill Gradient: -9.0%


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Estimated Times to Run







The first 5km of the track is along the the beach and should only run on a low tide, ideally one hour before low tide!!

Head from the road down onto the beach and along the beach, depending on the sand depth some rock running maybe required. After about 5km you should come up to a stock tunnel through the cliff face. After the tunnel, continue up the track a few hundred meters where you meet a farm track - turn right and you will shortly head down a hill. Just at the bottom of the hill take a right back parallel to the shoreline. This is easy to miss as it is overgrown. If you find yourself coming back down to the beach you have gone too far

After climbing up a few hills a turn-off should appear to head to Mt Messenger - head left (inland) and continue along the track to Mt Messenger, it is mostly easy to follow but when you meet a farm track don't go left or right down the track, look for the orange track signs across the track, just slightly to the right of where you meet the track. The track heads up and down ridges with a final climb and descent of Mt Messenger ending up at State highway 3, your turn around to head back.

When back at the turn off head left along the trail which rises and falls along the ridges before descending down a valley across a bridge, a turn off will appear right leads to the beach, head left up the hill, after reaching the top of the hill you head onto private property, follow the orange track markers across the paddocks and follow the the farm tracks back to the road.

This trail includes the peak Mount Messenger.

Stock tunnel, coastal views.

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 on the side of the road end.

47 km

42 minutes




Generally good.

Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

Take all your water with you.

Check the tides, go on a low tide only.
Check if lambing season.

Check the tides, go on a low tide only.

You and White Cliffs

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Trail Reviews

Do not underestimate this route. The Beach is awesome- stunning scenery. The climbs are a bit brutal and slightly technical so slow going. Take a GPX file if you can and follow it. Its easy to go off trail at some points. Take poles, you won't regret it and thanks Hanna Lund for the tip about the long grabby grass- cover up to the knees or higher- I wore calf protectors up to my knees with mini Gaiters and was glad I did. I usually run routes a bit faster than moderate which should have made this a 3 1/2 hour affair for me. It took me 6 hrs 40mins!!!!. So not sure what's up with that. I left 1.5 hrs before low tide but probably could have left 2.5 hrs before as there was plenty of beach and access to the tunnel. I guess the sand and beach access to the tunnel varies quite a lot. Bit of a mix of awesome and frustration. I'll enjoy it more next time now I know where I am going.

Kerry Bennett

April 3, 2022

This loop wasn't quite what I expected! Ran in Feb2021.
After crossing farmland joined track along pipeline. This gets very overgrown past wai pongao stream. Gives the impression it was a once very loved track but not so much currently. Horrible sticky grass grabs you and trys to trip you up when you run. Track out to mt messenger is fun/nice single track! Could see turnoff to stock tunnel however sign post has been removed. I timed to hit the beach exactly on low tide however I felt quiet nervous as looking at beach at 'low tide' waves still appeared to be touching bluffs. I have heard that the beach has become more difficult to pass recently due to a storm which removed a lot of sand from beach. I opted to skip out tunnel and just go to beach from wai pingao stream. The beach was amazing! Best part of the run! But even right on low tide at one point I was knee deep in water - which was not a problem on a calm day but good to note and did not give me the confidence to go check out the tunnel.

Hannah Lund

April 1, 2021

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